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UBC Okanagan gets $1 million to fund research for victims of domestic violence

On Friday, UBC Okanagan researchers received a $1 million dollar grant which will eventually help victims of domestic abuse.

The UBCO research program focuses on analyzing and providing support for those who experience head trauma as a result of domestic violence.

“Traumatic brain injury is really not part of the conversation in the supports that are provided to women who have experienced intimate partner violence,” said Paul van Donkelaar, UBCO health and exercise science professor.

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“It may be contributing quite a bit to some of the challenges they face in everyday life.”

Van Donkelaar says that information produced in his research could make a big difference in helping victims heal and partially regain control of a difficult circumstance.

“Getting that information into the hands of frontline staff so they can provide better support, and then helping women seek out resources in the community, whether it’s through the health-care system or community-based support that take traumatic brain injury into account will be one of the major goals of this project.”

The research will be conducted in partnership with the Kelowna Women’s Shelter.

Karen Mason, the shelter director, lauded the new attention to what she says is an underrepresented issue.

“Until very recently, traumatic brain injury is really not something we considered in serving women who had experienced violence,” she said.

“Thanks to this partnership with the university and this incredible emerging research, we have the privilege to start educating not only our staff at Kelowna Women’s Shelter but frontline workers at shelters across this province and across the country.”

The five-year, $1 million dollar grant is part of the federal government’s gender-based violence program.

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