- On October 23, 2015
AMA President, Prof Brian Owler, is in Sydney today to raise awareness about the effects of domestic violence on children (details below).
He is joining with Australian of the Year, Rosie Batty, and his NSW Counterpart, Dr Saxon Smith, to launch a new AMA campaign.
“Children are all too commonly victims of domestic violence and represent a significant number of admissions to Australia’s children’s hospitals,” Prof Owler said.
“In the past 12 months, 569 children were referred to the Child Protection Unit at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead because it was suspected they had come to non-accidental physical harm.
“For children who live in homes where domestic violence takes place, non-accidental head injury, usually resulting in bleeding on the brain, is very common.
“This type of traumatic brain injury can destroy a life, with effects ranging from development of epilepsy to poor emotion control to severe disability.
“The leading cause of death for Australian children is injury.
“Child abuse by a parent or step-parent is the third leading cause after road trauma and accidental drowning.
“The Australian Institute of Criminology reported that across the period 2008–10, 29 children died of domestic homicide committed by a parent or step-parent.
“I was shocked, when I came to work as a neurosurgeon at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, just how many cases of non-accidental injury we see here,” Prof Owler said.
“Doctors, just like everyone, have their part to play in stopping domestic violence and we can help provide people with appropriate referral pathways to additional services.
“That’s why we’re launching the Share Your Story campaign today with our video encouraging people who are experiencing domestic violence to speak with their doctor,” Prof Owler said.
“Everyone knows where to go if they want to see a doctor but that’s not always the case with domestic violence services.
“Domestic violence services are certainly there and ready to help but they can be less visible than doctors in the community.
“We want people to know that doctors can be another point of access to get to domestic violence support services,” AMA (NSW) President, Dr Saxon Smith, said.
There is more information available at http://amansw.com.au/shareyourstory/
Media contact: Lachlan Jones (02) 9902 8113 / 0419 402 955