Response to risks as important as screening for risks. Don’t just screen – respond.

A leading infant mental health advocate has demanded practitioners do more to help infants in vulnerable families. Speaking at a symposium in Melbourne yesterday, Professor Louise Newman underlined the seriousness of the issue by claiming that 20% of domestic violence starts in pregnancy.

“It’s very important that we do screening and identification,” she cautioned the audience, “but we have to have something to offer. We’re lagging behind in terms of response.” Professor Newman said professionals had to intervene early to prevent a cascade of poor family outcomes.

The symposium also heard from Professor Amy Holtzworth Munroe and Professor Jennifer McIntosh from Deakin University talk about the statistics on domestic violence and the latest findings from Australian research on young families. Professors Holtzworth-Munroe and McIntosh are in Adelaide later this week to talk with staff at Relationships Australia SA and attend the launch of the new Family DOORS app.

Relationships Australia SA uses the Family DOORS framework to screen and identify risks. It also provides a number of services to respond to the risks identified by screening.

Details of services and office locations in South Australia are available at or call the Relationships Australia national number on 1300 364 277 for your local office details.

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