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Everyone has the right to be safe at Christmas

As the holiday season approaches, filled with joy and festivities, it's crucial to recognise that not everyone experiences this time of year with the same sense of celebration. While for many, it's a time for reflection, festivity, and gathering with family and friends, for others, it can be a time of fear.

December and January have proven to be the busiest times for specialist family violence support services. The data on calls to these services and law enforcement shows a significant spike during the holiday season.

It is during these times that vulnerable individuals may face heightened risks, making it imperative for primary health care professionals to be vigilant.

If you suspect that a patient may be experiencing Domestic, Family, and Sexual Violence, it is crucial to spot the signs. Physical injuries, symptoms of depression or anxiety, a sense of fear, low self-esteem, and being tracked, monitored, or isolated are potential indicators.

If you spot the signs and you have concerns, start the conversation. You could ask ‘is there anything going on at home that could be affecting your health’ or ‘Christmas can be a stressful time and it can be common for partners to fight, is this happening in your relationship’. Having a conversation about domestic family violence doesn’t have to be hard, and it can be lifesaving.

Listen without judgment, validate their feelings, and LINK for support. To help guide and inform your response, import the DFSV Primary Care Action Plan into your practice software today.

Additionally, refer your patients to your Local LINK, a primary care dedicated one-stop referral pathway for patient triage and specialist support.

In cases where a patient is at immediate risk, do not hesitate to take action.

Phone your Local LINK on 1800 WDVCAS (1800 938 227) or contact the police on 000. Your quick response may make a significant difference in ensuring the safety of those in need.

For additional information and access to your DFV Local Link contact information and Action Plan, visit Your DFV Local Link - Primary Health Network ( or HealthPathways - Primary Health Network (

By remaining vigilant and proactive during the holiday season, you contribute to a safer and more secure community.

Download the PHN DFSV Pocket Guide DFSV_Pocket_Guide.pdf (

For 24/7 Support call: 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

Wishing you a safe and supportive holiday season

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Learn more about Safe and Healthy: Improving Primary Care’s Response to sexual abuse and child sexual assault