A Collaborative Response to addressing Family Violence with Racialized and Diverse Communities during Pandemic Recovery in Peel Region

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the health and well-being of communities globally. Public health interventions such as social distancing and “lockdowns” have led to wider consequences such as increased family violence (FV). FV can be defined as, “any behavior by a person towards a family member that is physically, sexually, emotionally or economically abusive, that is threatening or coercive, or that controls or dominates the family member in a way that causes them to fear for their safety and wellbeing or that of another person. It also includes behavior by a person that causes a child to hear, witness or otherwise be exposed to the behavior listed above”. Many individuals who experience FV face barriers to accessing the holistic and culturally appropriate services they need. Previous research shows the need for multi-level approaches that address individual, family, community, and systemic factors.

The goal of this 2-year project is to centre the voices of people who have experienced or witnessed FV to co-design regional interventions for FV prevention. By the project’s end we will have identified and prioritised areas for FV prevention and generated actionable ideas and study designs for regional interventions to prevent FV, even during future health emergencies and pandemics.

This project uses four phases to engage communities impacted by FV in co-designing FV prevention interventions.

PHASE 1: Brings together community members who have experienced or witnessed FV, service providers, researchers, and community partners through a community advisory board (CAB) that will guide the project. We will recruit and train community members who have experienced or witnessed FV as Peer Research Assistants (PRAs) to conduct project activities.

PHASE 2: Uses photovoice activities with community members who have experienced or witnessed FV to gather insights into experiences of FV service navigation.

PHASE 3: Includes a knowledge translation event, combined with a priority setting exercise, to rapidly generate bold ideas and prioritize actions for FV prevention with a broader audience of community members who have experienced or witnessed FV, service providers, researchers, and community partners.

PHASE 4: Includes a hackathon-style event to co-design ideas and interventions for preventing FV that are relevant to community members experiencing or witnessing family violence.

This project will demonstrate that co-designing system-wide interventions to prevent FV with diverse and racialized communities creates the opportunity to increase equity, diversity and inclusion and reduce regional disparities in access to services and supports. These project outcomes can then be applied and tested in future trials and adapted to other jurisdictions.

PARTNERSHIPS: Archana Medhekar Professional Corporation, Catholic Family Services Peel Dufferin Centre for Community Based Research, Indus Community Services, Ontario Association of Social Workers, Peel Family Education Centre, Peel Newcomer Strategy Group, Peel Regional Police, Punjabi Community Health Services, Region of Peel, Roots Community Services, Sheridan College,

FUNDER: Canadian Institutes of Health Research

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