Western Health is ensuring its staff are better equipped to deal with a growing number of family violence incidents.

The Sunshine Hospital hosted a six-hour forum on Wednesday for staff and industry leaders, keen to promote awareness of family violence in health care settings.

Commissioner for senior Victorians Gerard Mansour,  a key note speaker at the event, said it was vital that health care staff are aware of the nature of abuse, particularly with older patients.

“It is vitally important for health system staff, the community and even older people themselves, to better understand the nature and risks of elder abuse,” he said.

“Elder abuse is a form of family violence and is included as part of the state government response to the Royal Commission.”

While family violence has received widespread media coverage in recent times, Mr Mansour said a lack of education has meant many cases go unnoticed.

“Abuse comes in many forms, such as financial, physical, psychological or neglect,” he said.

“My presentation included examples of abuse and the challenges older people can face in reporting abuse, particularly where the perpetrator is a family member such as an adult child.

“Often these types of cases are complicated because the perpetrator of abuse themselves have a drug, alcohol, gambling or mental health issue.”