WONCA Special Interest Group: Family Violence

Family Violence

A new WONCA Special Interest Group on Family Violence was approved by the WONCA Executive in January 2014.

Although the group will focus on recommendations and guidance for the GP, these could be applied to the diversity of professionals working in Primary Care. There is consensus that a good and effective response to FV requires a multi- professional approach, to which the specific contribution of GP has to be defined. Coordination with other professionals (nurses, social workers, midwives) is crucial so collaboration with other disciplines’ networks will be sought to enhance multidisciplinary task definitions, support, the promotion of longitudinal follow up after acute situations and high standard chronic follow-up care.

The Special Interest Group will focus its first activities in the beginning on intimate partner violence putting it in the broader contexts of gender violence and the family context. This deliberate choice for policy development does not exclude attention to the cultural diversity and contexts in different continents, such as the different meanings of ‘family’ and the broader context of violence against women in society.

Find out why we need an SIG on Family Violence.

General membership is open to interested family doctors. Membership connects you with doctors and other health professionals with a passion for improving the safety of families and the exchange of expertise and resources in this area. For more information email convenor

Convenor / Chair


email convenor

Prof Kelsey Hegarty (Australia)

Kelsey Hegarty is a general practitioner or family doctor who holds the research Chair of Family Violence Prevention at the University of Melbourne and the Royal Women’s Hospital, Victoria, Australia. She is the co-chair of the Melbourne Research Alliance to End Violence against Women and their Children. Her research program includes the evidence base for early interventions; educational and complex interventions around identification of and response to family violence online and in health care settings. She participated as a member of the World Health Organisation guidelines development group. She provides clinical advice to the WHO on violence against women. She teaches doctors and nurse on a regular basis and has developed curriculum in the area of abuse and violence.

Dr Hagit Dascal-Weichhendler (Israel)

Hagit Dascal-Weichhendler is a board certified family physician, working full time as a clinician with a mixed population in Northern Israel. She is the chairperson of the Committee on Family Violence (FV) in Clalit Health Services, Haifa and West Galillee District, which serves over 740,000 patients from multiple cultural backgrounds. It provides training, educational materials counselling and support to staff on FV cases. She developed and teaches a mandatory semester course on FV in the Haifa Department of Family Medicine, as well as an elective semester course for Medical Students. Hagit has written guidelines on family violence for the Israeli Association of Family Medicine. She has participated in the development of a national simulation based educational program on FV. Her research interests are educational interventions on FV for health care staff, and FV health consequences. She's a member of the Ministry of Health Committee on FV. There she puts an emphasis on the importance of connecting between health providers in the field and policy makers. As a member of the FV SIG she seeks to improve international cooperation in this important area.

Co-Convenor or other office bearers

Leo Pas - past chair
Raquel Gomez Bravo - communications

Steering Committee Members

Kate Anteyi - Nigeria
Jinan Usta - Lebanon
Nina Monteiro - Portugal
Joyce Kenkre - UK
Carmen Fernandez Alonso - Spain
Ana Flavia de Oliveira -  Brazil
Nena Kopcavar - Slovenia
Omneya Ezzat Elsherif - Egypt
Sajar Othman - Malaysia

Executive Members

Membership Open?

Vision and Mission of WONCA SIG on Family Violence


The Special Interest Group on Family Violence's aims are to promote:
  1. evidence-based primary care and prevention for those affected by family violence to enhance safety, health and quality of life of families
  2. effective interdisciplinary care for those affected by family violence

Objectives of the WONCA SIG on Family Violence

Specific objectives to achieve the aims are
1. update and disseminate available evidence and resources on family violence in general practice/family medicine and primary care settings, whilst promoting, developing and sharing guidance and training on family violence for primary care professionals to enhance their attitudes, skills and knowledge about family violence
2. encourage research and quality improvement on this topic for family medicine and primary health care
3. promote involvement of National academies and colleges to develop policies and training on family violence and encourage individuals or organisations to raise awareness of family violence in the professional community

We will:
  • Promote involvement of national organizations to explicitly define their views on family violence and send representatives to the group
  • Priority actions will be defined for three year periods or from one WONCA world Meeting to another to promote collaboration between the constituting WONCA networks and relevant other organizations in the following areas:
  • Compare family violence in different regions of the world in its broadest context and in regard to gender violence in particular
  • Describe country differences in health, mental and social care for family violence
  • Describe current projects and available materials for general practice and primary care on family violence
  • Compare legal frameworks and legislative demands in different countries and propose changes if needed
  • Share and support the development of patient and family centered protocols and pathways
  • Share and support the development of specific evidence based tools for disclosure, assessment, provision of information, counseling , advocacy and care, record keeping and monitoring, referring and active following up according to needs
  • Update best evidence for screening versus routine enquiry and clinical enquiry
  • Study detection and support for problematic parenting, disclosure in early childhood of problematic behavior and other signs of violence
  • Update guidelines or adapt them to local contexts and specific groups
  • Share and develop training protocols to educate health professionals, adjusting and improving skills, attitudes and knowledge
  • Develop further assistance to general practice/family medicine and other medical personnel in recognizing family violence (doctors, nurses, community nurses), applying principles of privacy and confidentiality
  • Raise professional and public awareness about family violence



You can keep up-to-date with our activities by subscribing to our newsletter, just send an email sigfv.news@gmail.com to let us know you’re interested or follow us on Twitter: SigFV_Wonca or Facebook: Sigfv Wonca

In 2018, we intend to participate in the following :
o VdGM Forum, Porto
o 15th World Rural Health Conference, New Delhi
o WONCA Europe Region conference, Krakow
o WONCA World conference, Seoul

In 2017, our recent activities included:
o VgGM Family Violence Group: April 21-22, Strasbourg
o WONCA Rural Health Conference: April 29-2 May, Cairns
o WONCA Europe Conference: June 28-01 July, Prague
o AfriWon Renaissance: August 16-17, South Africa
o WONCA Asia Pacific Regional Conference: November 1-4, Pattaya
o WONCA South Asia Regional Conference: November 25-26, Kathmandu
o Europrev Working Group Mental Health and Family Violence & European family Justice Centres Association – International Networks Meeting: December 1-2, Brussels

2015 newsletter
October 2016 news


• Steering group members and a convener are appointed for three years at each WONCA world meeting by the WONCA SIG Family Violence membership.
• The Steering group members use information technology to develop further policy proposals to be endorsed through contacts with their own networks, further developed at regional meetings and endorsed at WONCA World meetings.
• Decisions are taken by common agreement or if needed by simple majority vote; in case of equal views the view of the convener will decide.
• Steering group members and active members are expected to report to their own organizations/working parties for broad endorsement of terms of reference in 2013 and first policy plan development in 2014 as well as any updates.
• Priorities will be set in collaboration with the represented networks at planned yearly workshops or satellite meetings for WONCA conferences
• Web based communication will be used actively for exchange and discussions between WONCA meetings.
• The policy plan proposed by the steering group will always be circulated to represented networks and organizations by the delegates for advice; it will be updated and debated at open general assembly meetings at yearly WONCA meetings.
• A Google group will be opened for active members for further broad open exchange on ideas, needs and suggestions.
• Approved documents will be displayed online and proposed to WONCA World website and network websites through an editing committee with regional representation