Are Australian paramedics adequately trained and prepared for intimate partner violence? A pilot study

Simon Sawyer, Vanita Parekh, Angela Williams, Brett Anthony Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a common occurrence in Australian society and has far reaching health, social and economic impacts, particularly for females who are the most common victims. It is theorised that paramedics frequently encounter IPV in the field and in some cases are the only agency which deal with IPV victims in the out-of-hospital setting. Thus paramedics have a unique opportunity to increase discovery, treatment and reporting, however there is little formal training in managing IPV for most Australian paramedics. We evaluated the level of basic knowledge as well as self-reported preparedness and frequency of encountering IPV in a selection of 50 Australian paramedics using a cross-sectional descriptive study design with a paper-based questionnaire. Ninety percent of the paramedics reported encountering at least 1 case of suspected IPV in the last year, with the average number of cases being 3.66. Only 22 reported that they felt confident managing IPV cases. Sixty six percent of participants were unaware there is no mandatory reporting of IPV in their region. The vast majority of participants stated that they felt additional education and training would be most helpful to improving their ability to manage IPV cases. Participants had a poor knowledge and poor preparedness for IPV prior to undertaking a targeted education session. There is an urgent need for additional research of the needs and best methods to educate and train paramedics to appropriately respond to IPV cases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32 - 35
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Forensic and Legal Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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