Improving child well-being by reducing intimate partner violence
Offord Centre to lead development of unique, in-home intervention
McMaster University professor and Offord Centre member Harriet MacMillan has been tapped to lead a new research project aimed at reducing intimate partner violence by having public health nurses regularly visit and work with families in their homes.
The project is being funded by a five-year, $1.1 million grant awarded to Dr. MacMillan by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the U.S. in conjunction with a CDC grant to the West Virginia University Injury Control Research Center. The project will involve researchers from McMaster, The University of Western Ontario, University of Colorado, and West Virginia University.
The investigators will work with an existing home visitation program, the Nurse Family Partnership (NFP) in the U.S., which has been shown to improve maternal and child outcomes in first-time, socially disadvantaged mothers. Dr. MacMillan hopes that the Nurse Family Partnership may prove just as effective in reducing intimate partner violence as it has in reducing child maltreatment.
“Abused women and their children are more likely to suffer from a broad range of physical and emotional health conditions including depression, anxiety and substance abuse problems,” says Dr. MacMillan, a child psychiatrist and pediatrician who holds the Dan Offord Chair in Child Studies.
“NFP nurses have told us that intimate partner violence is common among the families they work with, but they have no specific intervention to address it. With this funding, we will be able to develop and test an in-home intervention aimed at reducing the recurrence of intimate partner violence and improving the lives of women and their children.”