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Intimate Partner Violence (2)

By Dr. Stephen Fleming, PhD, C. Psych.

As we continue discussion of the myriad issues related to intimate partner violence (IPV), in this blog we will explore various interventions aimed at reducing the incidence of IPV.

IPV is typically associated with physical abuse, but power and control in the form of financial abuse, withholding access to monetary assets, and manipulation such as imposing detailed rules or expectations on behaviour, restricting access to food, clothing, or basic needs can also act as precursors to physical violence. The recognition of these forms of IPV can assist in early detection and intervention before catastrophic harm occurs. Reflecting the complexity of IPV, there are many and varied forms of intervention including: 

  • Increased funding, 
  • Tip Sheets, 
  • Safety Planning Guides, 
  • Crisis-access tools, 
  • Emergency shelter resources, and
  • Signal for Help Campaign. 

It is important to note that Legal Aid Ontario’s funding has been increased so that anyone who has experienced domestic violence can receive two hours of free legal advice – regardless of whether or not they meet the criteria for legal aid. 

Along with a Tip Sheet for persons living in an abusive home, The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) offers a more extensive Safety Planning Guide which includes practical ideas such as:

  • Identifying safe areas within the home with easy access to doors and windows;
  • Keeping a phone within reach or memorizing numbers of local shelters;
  • Practising safe use of technology, such as clearing browser history, and;
  • Keeping identification papers of self and children at the ready.

Enhanced crisis-access tools, enabled through text, chat, and online counselling, are designed to ease the anxiety that comes with the intensity of isolation. Crisis lines operate 24/7 across Canada. If you are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1, but provincial contacts are provided here

Emergency shelters and transitional houses are open. Even if you are not immediately requiring shelter, these resources can help design a safety or escape plan. Access resources here

Finally, employers have a role to play by continuing to ensure economic security by paying workers, offering Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP), or secure Virtual Private Network (VPN) connectivity where applicable. Checking in with staff, inquiring after their well-being, and recognizing the Signal for Help Campaign, a simple one-handed gesture that can be used on a video call are immediate interventions.

Although the stressors that can lead to IPV are complex, and intervention options from self-care to governmental resources are varied, IPV-specific programmes and rehabilitation addressing the underlying factors must include not just its victims, but also the perpetrators. 

In collaboration with: Vic Gladwish, Gladwish on Demand Editorial Services