Primary Care Pathways to Safety


2019 to 30 December 2022

Funding Amount:




Melbourne Macedon Ranges Yarra Moonee Valley Darebin Maribyrnong Hobsons Bay Wyndham Brimbank Moorabool Melton Hume Merri-bek


North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network (NWMPHN) was funded by the Australian Department of Health to expand the Primary Care Pathways to Safety Program. 

The objective is to provide direct tailored support to primary care providers, improve collaboration, and build greater cohesion and coordination across local health, social care and family violence services.

Six activities are delivered as part of this program:

Establish and support multi-disciplinary family violence communities of practice  

Establish and support sub-regional learning networks of primary health care providers, with local hospital and family and domestic violence networks established in the central, north, and west NWMPHN regions. 

Education and training, with embedded lived experience perspectives, to build capacity of primary health care providers to deliver a first line and safety assessment response and pathways to safety delivered via sub-regional networks. 

Improve and update family violence related care and referral pathways within Melbourne HealthPathways

Improvement of the family violence pathways on HealthPathways Melbourne to enable and improve awareness and coordination with appropriate health and family violence services.

Implementation of place-based intensive quality improvement (IQI) initiative (October 2020 June 2022  

Tailored training and quality improvement program for 30 general practices. Conducted as 5 intensive quality improvement waves (involving 4-6 practices each), targeted in areas of greatest need. Activities include:  

  • Workshops of sustainable change in general practice by tailored in-practice education sessions delivered by specialist GP and family and domestic violence support workers  
  • Secondary consult and mentoring support 
  • In-practice support for QI activities using PDSA methodology. 

Read more about this activity.

Integration with family violence sector (commissioned and delivered by the University of Melbourne)  

  • Family violence workers from Berry Street and GenWest co-deliver in-practice education 
  • Strong links with family violence service through family violence support workers to ensure adequate service linkage and supervision 
  • Ongoing secondary consult of participating general practices by family and domestic violence support workers from Berry Street and GenWest. 

Support practices to undertake self-directed quality improvement related to family violence

Development by NWMPHN of self-directed quality improvement activities for general practice (March 2022). These activities enable a sustainable approach to whole of practice improvement to identify, respond and refer for family violence. 

Delivery of a whole of region communication campaign 

Delivery of a whole-of-region communication campaign that highlights the role of primary care in family and domestic violence, including promotion of existing family violence collateral such as the “starting the conversation about family violence”video and Family Violence HealthPathways. 

Campaign to include, where appropriate, input from participating practices and services, plus stories from people with lived experience. 


The model will deliver the following outcomes:  

  • Better resourced and supported primary care services and health practitioners  
  • Increased identification and improved risk assessment for family violence  
  • Increased and more-timely disclosure and referral of women, men and children affected by domestic violence 
  • Improved family health and functioning 
  • Improved family safety and reduced familyviolence.

This program has been evaluated by the Sax Institute. The Primary Care Pathways to Safety Final Report can be found here.