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Date: November 18, 2004

Long Term Impact of Abusive Relationships Examined

Researchers seek women to participate in ground-breaking study

Emergency ward doctors and nurses and transition house workers are all too familiar with the immediate physical and psychological impact of partner violence on women. But what happens to women after their injuries have healed and they have attempted to re-establish their lives? For the first time in Canada, a new study is about to examine the long-term health and economic consequences for women who have left abusive partners.

Researchers from the University of Victoria, Simon Fraser University, the University of Western Ontario and the University of New Brunswick have been awarded $1.3 million from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) New Emerging Team (NET) grant program for the study.

“Although we know that many health problems such as depression, arthritis, and bowel disease are associated with abuse, we don’t know the extent of the problems over time,” says UVic nursing professor Dr. Colleen Varcoe, one of the study’s principal investigators. She adds that the long-term health consequences of abuse and the personal and social costs of such problems are poorly understood, particularly in Canada.

“This is the first time that information has been collected about the impact of intimate partner violence on economic well being and health,” says Dr. Olena Hankivsky, SFU political science professor and co-investigator with the study.

The researchers’ intention is to use the knowledge gained through the study to develop effective and appropriate interventions for women.

Women over 18 years of age who have left an abusive male partner in the last three years (and at least six months ago) who are interested in participating in the study are asked to call toll free 1-866-661-3343 (in Vancouver (604) 323-5925) or email women-health@uwo.ca/. Participants will be interviewed and have a health assessment annually for four years. All information will be held in confidence and participants will be compensated for their time.

The NET grant program encourages the creation of collaborative, multi-disciplinary teams to explore pressing health research questions from a broad range of perspectives.

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Media contacts:
Dr. Colleen Varcoe (Nursing) at (604) 323-5925 or cvarcoe@telus.net
Patty Pitts (UVic Communications) at (250) 721-7656 or ppitts@uvic.ca


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