Dealing with Intimate Partner Violence and Family Violence in a Regional Centre of Western Australia: A Study of the Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices of Local Social Workers

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Abstract

In the Midwest region of Western Australia, rates of intimate partner and family violence (IPV/FV) are high. We undertook research into social workers’ knowledge, attitudes, and skills as part of addressing this significant public health issue. Social workers come into contact with people experiencing IPV/FV in multiple settings, so their understandings and responses are critical to the prevention and interventions related to violence against women. The goal of the research was to determine the issues that the social workers in this region needed to be addressed that could assist in tackling the problem of IPV/FV. A questionnaire included open-ended questions to capture information on respondents’ profiles, knowledge, attitudes, practices, and education around IPV/FV, with 29 of 37 social workers working in the region responding. We also elicited respondents' recommendations related to training and service delivery. Despite working in many settings, most social workers had contact with people experiencing IPV/FV and had reasonable confidence and knowledge that showed an understanding of the complexity of FV, including why women stay in violent relationships. This paper identified social workers’ need for more education, including during their university training, resources, and service coordination to support best practice delivery of services to people affected by IPV/FV. Training to develop skills for conversations about IPV/FV with clients, around safety planning, and greater access to safe alternative accommodation for those leaving FV were identified priorities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5628
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume20
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2023

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