New Brunswick

New domestic abuse project puts focus on health of victims

The University of New Brunswick has recieved $1 million to start a pilot project in 2018 that will treat the short and long-term health effects of domestic abuse.

$1M program will connect women with public health nurse

Dr. Kelly Scott-Storey, associate professor of nursing at UNB, is one of the lead researchers on a $3 million study into domestic violence. (Rob Blanchard)

The University of New Brunswick has received $1 million to start a pilot project that will treat the short and long-term health effects of domestic abuse.

The project, called iHeal, is part of a federally funded, nationwide research effort with the University of Western Ontario and the University of British Columbia. It has $3 million in funding total.

Starting in July 2018, participants will be paired for six months with community health nurses, who will provide a variety of services.

Dr. Kelly Scott-Storey, a researcher at UNB Fredericton, said the project is the result of more than 10 years of planning.

Looking at health

In looking to create more comprehensive programs for abused women, researchers found health to be a major gap.

"There does tend to be a gap where it relates to health, and the health of women who have experienced violence," Scott-Storey said.

"We know that women with a history of violence come with short term and really long-term health implications, physical and mental. Things like insomnia, chronic pain, anxiety, depression are very, very high among this group of women."

The program will seek to identify these problems and treat them in a sustainable way, she said.

"All these long-term types of complications — if we can start to help women recognize these symptoms and get appropriate treatment and help, and connect it to the abuse, then we can help these women lead a healthier life."

There's very few resources for women after they separate. So this really fills a gap.- Dr. Kelly Scott-Storey

Scott-Storey said previous testing showed nurses to be a good fit for the project.

She said they will supply participants with other resources when necessary, however.

"Not only with that community health nurse, but they will also help women navigate existing services that she may be unaware of or was not able to navigate on her own."

Said she hopes the project continues, because it looks after women as they continue on with life after leaving their abusers.

"There's very few resources for women after they separate. So this really fills a gap."