While Australian research suggests that few index patients report abuse (physical, psychological or emotional) as a result of notifying contacts, where these are possible, alternative strategies to consider include provider referral contact tracing services, health department contact tracing services or specialist contact tracing services. Anonymous notification services are also available via web-based services. See Ways of Notifying Contacts.
If violence in a relationship is suspected, try asking “Do you feel safe for us to notify your contacts?” and then explore with the patient the options for contact tracing. This would ensure they are linked in with appropriate supports (e.g. 1800-RESPECT the national counselling service or the local domestic violence or sexual assault service in their local area/state). Consideration also needs to be given on how any test results will be given to the patient. This should be discussed with the patient. Seek advice and assistance from specialist contact tracing services.
Health Professional support and resources
RACGP COVID-19 and family violence support https://www.racgp.org.au/FSDEDEV/media/documents/RACGP/Coronavirus/COVID-19-and-family-violence-support.pdf
Abuse and violence - Working with our patients in general practice (White Book) https://www.racgp.org.au/clinical-resources/clinical-guidelines/key-racgp-guidelines/view-all-racgp-guidelines/white-book
The RACGP Professional Development Program on Family Violence https://www.racgp.org.au/familyviolence/index.htm
National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling 1800RESPECT
Australian Government, Department of Social Services Women’s Safety: Help is here – information and support services
Domestic Violence Crisis Service (DVCS) Crisis Line: 02 6280 0900
New South Wales
Darwin Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Shelter 08 8945 2284 (24 hours)
Queensland Government Domestic and family violence
DVConnect: Domestic Violence Helpline 1800 811 811
WWILD: Directory of domestic violence services Directory of domestic violence services
RAIN - Relationships Abuse of an Intimate Nature What can you do when home is not as safe as it should be?
Shine - New Zealand specialist domestic violence service provider.
Page last updated September 2022