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Date: November 17, 2000

Improved Response for Abused Women Goal of Guide

A new guide being distributed through the provincial Ministry of Health offers communities assistance in improving their response to violence against women. There is frequently little co-ordination of services between health care and community-based support systems such as counselling or legal assistance, says the guide's co-author UVic nursing professor Dr. Colleen Varcoe, who hopes the guide will help solve that problem.

"It's a kit that lays out the steps that a community can take for an integrated approach to women who have been abused. Connections are very poor in urban centres. Often there is no connection between what is going on in the community and what's going on in the health care system," says Varcoe, whose research includes improving the response in hospital emergency wards and improving support services for battered women.

The guide, Violence Against Women: Improving the Health Care Response, was co-written by Varcoe and Marina Morrow of the Centre for Excellence in Women's Health at Vancouver's Women's Hospital. The kit is the result of extensive consultations with members of violence against women co-ordinating teams and health care providers. The writers consulted extensively with a wide range of service providers in Prince George, Powell River and the Vancouver-Richmond health region to develop the 40-page guide.

Publishing the guide was recommended in the 1999 report Moving Towards Change: Strengthening the Response of British Columbia's Health Care System to Violence Against Women. For copies, contact the Ministry of Health communications branch at (250) 952-1887.

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