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UNB researcher launches study on Canadian survivors of domestic homicide with focus on vulnerable populations

Author: UNB Newsroom

Posted on Sep 25, 2019

Category: UNB Fredericton

New Brunswick has some of the highest rates of murder-suicide in the country and a researcher at the University of New Brunswick is seeking to reduce these deaths through research, broader public awareness and professional training focusing on members of four vulnerable populations.

Dr. Cathy Holtmann, director of the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre for Family Violence Research, is co-investigator of the Canadian Domestic Homicide Prevention Initiative for Vulnerable Populations (CDHPIVP). The study, which launched its third phase on Sept. 25, is seeking to better understand risk assessment and management as well as safety planning in cases of severe domestic violence from the perspective of survivors, particularly within vulnerable populations like Indigenous, immigrant, rural and remote areas, and children. With this information, Dr. Holtmann and her team hope to learn how these tragedies can be prevented, and survivors and the close friends and family of victims of domestic homicide can best be supported.

“I believe that research has an important role to play in addressing the problem of domestic homicide and saving lives,” says Dr. Holtmann, “particularly for those who experience social inequalities based on their age, ethnic or racial identity, immigrant status, or because they live in rural areas.”

For the study, Dr. Holtmann and her team are collaborating with a number of community partners including the New Brunswick Silent Witness Committee, the New Brunswick Multicultural Council and the New Brunswick Coroner’s Office.

“The CDHPIVP is an excellent example of how researchers associated with the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre for Family Violence Research at UNB are collaborating with community partners in the work of social change,” says Dr. Holtmann.

Ginette Gautreau, assistant director of the New Brunswick Multicultural Council, is working with Dr. Holtmann and her team to support the initiative.

“We cannot underscore the importance of hearing from those affected by violence in the past to learn from these experiences, especially from newcomers and immigrants who face significant additional barriers in accessing prevention and intervention supports,” she says. “Hopefully, by capturing this data and these stories, we can improve our services and empower more immigrant women to access support services and save more lives.”

Dr. Holtmann and her team are asking for any Indigenous, immigrant, children or individuals from rural or remote areas, or the families or close friends of survivors or victims of domestic homicide in the Atlantic region who would like to share their experiences to contact her via email at cathy.holtmann@unb.ca or to call the toll free number: 1-844-958-0522. The team will be conducting interviews between now and June 2020. All accounts will be confidential and participants’ names will not be released in any capacity.

Media contact: Hilary Creamer Robinson

Photo: Dr. Cathy Holtmann, director of the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre for Family Violence Research, is seeking to reduce domestic homicide through a provincial new study. Credit: Rob Blanchard/UNB.