National News

NSW GPs given power to refer DV victims

Doctors in NSW will now be able to refer suspected victims of domestic violence to welfare services with or without patient consent.

The referrals will only be made if a GP assesses that a patient's life or safety is at risk.

Suspected victims will also be able to consult their doctor before making an official report.

It's hoped the new measures - which are part of an expansion of the NSW government's Safer Pathway programs - will provide victims with another avenue to seek help without fear of retribution, minister for the prevention of domestic violence Pru Goward announced on Sunday.

"Many domestic violence victims do not report the violence they are experiencing to police or other specialist services, but they do seek medical attention and help from their GPs," she said.

"Giving GPs the ability to refer patients to Safer Pathway means they can provide victims with support when they need it the most."

Under the program, doctors will first refer patients experiencing domestic violence to their nearest "Local Coordination Point".

Victims will then be directed to a range of services including counselling, housing, financial assistance, legal assistance and security and safety upgrades.

National domestic violence helpline: 1800 737 732 or 1800RESPECT. In an emergency call triple-zero.

© AAP 2017

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