UBC Reports | Vol. 47 | No. 10 | June
Project explores abuse connections
Initiative among several aimed at exploring child and family
by Hilary Thomson staff writer
Exploring links between animal abuse and family violence
is the research focus for two members of the UBC Child and Family
Nursing Asst. Prof. Janet Ericksen and Social Work Prof. Mary Russell
have been working together on the issue as part of the project that
undertakes interdisciplinary research on a spectrum of issues around
children and families.
Working with UBC investigators from areas that include education
and animal welfare as well as community agencies such as the B.C.
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and the
BC/Yukon Society of Transition Houses, the researchers are identifying
connections between child, wife and animal abuse and aim to improve
detection and intervention.
"The field of family violence tends to be fragmented," says Russell.
"We hope to raise awareness among health professionals, corrections
officers, social service workers and others about the connections."
More than 50 children and 100 women die as a direct result of family
abuse in Canada every year according to Statistics Canada and B.C.
Institute Against Family Violence surveys.
More than 60 per cent of women who entered a transition house reported
that their partners had also abused or killed their pet, according
to an Ontario study. In B.C. last year, the SPCA investigated more
than 7,000 animal abuse cases.
Researchers estimate the overlap between these different types
of abuse is more than 50 per cent.
Investigators plan to develop inter-agency reporting protocols
so that social workers and animal welfare agencies can share information
in violence-related cases.
Russell and Ericksen are also developing an interdisciplinary
family violence distance education course with Women's Studies Asst.
Prof. Sunera Thobani and Assoc. Prof. Angela Henderson in the School
of Nursing. The course will be offered in January 2002.
The Child and Family Project will prepare a research agenda this
summer in consultation with university and community groups that
will look particularly at community-based research on child and
"We want to create and sustain linkages between academics, other
professionals and community members and to stimulate discussion,"
says Education Prof. Hillel Goelman who has directed the project
since it started in 1999.
For more information about the project call 604-822-6593 or visit
the Web site at www.educ.ubc.ca/research/childandfamily/.