McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

McMaster awarded $3m to study how to identify woman abuse

Published: June 23, 2003

McMaster University researcher Harriet MacMillan, M.D., has received a $3 million grant from the Ontario Women's Health Council to research how best to identify woman abuse in health settings.

Woman abuse is a serious problem in our society. Almost 1 in 10 women are physically abused by an intimate partner in any given year, and up to a third of Canadian women report some form of physical or mental abuse over the course of their lifetime.

Many women disclose abuse during the course of routine or emergency medical visits, and therefore the health care response to woman abuse is key in helping women cope with this problem.

"To date, the research available does not tell us what health care responses are optimal to identify women who are abused and to assist them in getting the help they need in either the health setting or the community," says Dr. Harriet MacMillan.

"This research program will ask women, both those who are abused and not, and their health providers how best to identify woman abuse in health settings. It will then test, using the design of a randomized controlled trial, which of three approaches best help women, and their children, reduce their exposure to further violence."

"McMaster has always put a strong emphasis on responding to emerging social issues," says Dr. John Kelton, Dean and Vice-President, Health Sciences, McMaster University.

"We have a strong collaboration between our researchers such as Dr. Harriet MacMillan, who is already well known in her field, and the health care community. This is important work for improving the lives of women and children."

The research will be conducted across the province including Burlington, Chatham-Kent, Hamilton, Lake of the Woods, London, Sault Ste. Marie, Simcoe, Sudbury and Toronto. The settings will include hospital emergency departments, family physician's offices, obstetrics and gynecology clinics, community health centres and midwifery practices, among others.

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