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Canada Invests in Innovative Trauma-Informed Health Promotion

The Public Health Agency of Canada is investing in Supporting the Health of Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence and Child Maltreatment through Community Programs. This initiative supports projects addressing the health needs of survivors and/or those at risk of intimate partner violence and child maltreatment. These projects bring a trauma-informed lens to promote the health and wellbeing of adults, youths, and children who have experienced violence. To date, seven projects have been funded through this initiative, including the Knowledge Hub which connects and enhances the work of the community-based projects. Process and outcome evaluations will contribute to the emerging knowledge base on the intersection of trauma-informed health promotion and family violence.

Message from the Minister of Health

As Minister of Health, I want to offer my congratulations on the inaugural “Knowledge Hub Bulletin”. The Bulletin highlights innovative projects promoting the physical and mental health of survivors of family violence, which will reach children, youth and adults across Canada. The Knowledge Hub and its partners are building evidence on practices that work, while strengthening the capacity of researchers, practitioners and communities. I am proud that the Government of Canada is investing in this important work to support survivors and to help break cycles of violence. I look forward to the next Bulletin and learning more about projects to come.


The Honourable Jane Philpott, P.C., M.P.

Project Profiles

All community-based projects demonstrate the objectives of the investment: innovation, promotion of traumainformed approaches, enhanced integration across community services, contribution of new evidence, knowledge dissemination, and addressing gaps in information and resources. These projects offer promising programs and supports for survivors of domestic violence and child abuse in Canadian communities:

Building Connections: A Group Intervention for Mothers and Children Experiencing Violence in Relationships

Mothercraft is a multi-service organization serving families with young children birth – 6 years, including mothers experiencing interpersonal violence and their young children. Building Connections enhances the capacity of community-based practitioners to use trauma-informed approaches to support pregnant women, mothers, and their young children who are experiencing violence in relationships.  Building Connections will develop resources, deliver training to practitioners, facilitate a community of practice, and replicate the Connections group intervention in other communities. The process and outcome evaluation is based on a developmental-relational perspective with a trauma-informed lens.

Participant Action for Health Promotion through Peer Support

Covenant House Toronto is Canada’s largest homeless youth agency and provides a wide range of supports to young people aged 16 to 24. The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is a leading treatment and research institution supporting people whose lives are affected by addiction and mental health issues.
The Peer Support project works with community partners to recruit survivor peer mentors and invites girls and women who have experienced domestic violence, human trafficking and sexual exploitation to participate in developing a program. Participants will explore barriers to health and wellness and how to maintain healthy
lifestyles through trauma-informed health promotion activities. A community-based participatory research framework will inform the development of the program and the qualitative and quantitative evaluation.

Reaching out with Yoga to women and their children who have experienced domestic violence and staff of transition and second stage housing programs

The BC Society of Transition Houses provides a continuum of services and strategies necessary to end violence against women, youth and children. Yoga Outreach provides volunteer-based yoga programming to community-based organizations. Reaching out with Yoga recruits, screens, trains and mentors yoga teachers to implement trauma-informed yoga programming for women and children in shelters and transition houses. Staff are also being trained to use yoga in their self-care practices to address vicarious trauma. The qualitative and quantitative evaluation is informed by feminist methodological principles.

Safe and Understood: Intervening with families to promote healthy child outcomes and prevent abuse recurrence for young child victims of domestic violence exposure

Child Development Institute, an accredited children’s mental health agency in Toronto, and the University of Toronto have partnered to examine the delivery of two evidence-based programs for children and their families. Safe and Understood expands two programs, Caring Dads and Mothers in Mind to promote the developmental health of children (0 to 4yrs) who have experienced family violence. Using mixed methodologies of cluster randomized control trial, participatory action evaluation, and process and outcome evaluations the project aims to engage both service providers and child protection workers in collaborative systems of intervention for domestic violence, including adaptions for both French and Aboriginal communities in Canada.

Play On: A Trauma-Informed Sport Program at Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada provides safe, supportive places where children and youth can experience new opportunities, overcome barriers, and build positive relationships in communities across the country. Play On will pilot and test a trauma-informed sports and recreation program for children and youth that addresses the health needs of survivors of family violence and child abuse in a fun, engaging, and developmentally appropriate environment. The project includes program design and delivery, training of staff on trauma-informed practice, and building capacity in all Boys and Girls club programming.

Measuring the Effects of the Shape Your Life Project on the Mental and Physical Health Outcomes of Victims of Domestic Abuse

Brock University is a post-secondary institution located in the Niagara Region of Ontario. The Toronto Newsgirls Boxing Club provides a safe and positive space for women and trans survivors to explore the sport of boxing. This project will evaluate the Shape Your Life trauma-informed boxing program for female and trans-survivors of family or other violence. Participants will use boxing to bring their bodies back under their own control and as a means to improve their mental and physical health. The program will be evaluated using quantitative and qualitative methods.

The Knowledge Hub: Maximizing impact by connecting research and practice in trauma-informed health promotion

The Centre for Research & Education on Violence against Women & Children at Western University synthesizes, develops and applies knowledge to better understand and prevent gender-based violence. The Knowledge Hub connects the trauma-informed health promotion projects and enhances the value of each project by facilitating opportunities for collective learning and knowledge construction through a Community of Practice. New findings will be disseminated to the broader community with view to advancing practice and policies related to trauma-informed health promotion and family violence. External evaluation of the Hub includes qualitative and quantitative analysis.

Featured Resources

Trauma-Informed Practice (TIP) Guide
Developed on behalf of the BC Provincial Mental Health and Substance Use Planning council, this TIP Guide and TIP Organizational Checklist offer tools to support the translation of trauma-informed principles into practice.



Promising Practices and Model Programs: Trauma-Informed Approaches to Working with Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence and Other Trauma
This review identifies promising practices for supporting survivors of domestic and sexual violence based on interviews with 45 peer-nominated programs identified as engaging in innovative trauma-informed work with survivors of domestic violence and their children. Culturally specific approaches including collective and community-based approaches are explored. Program outcome and evaluation measurement strategies are identified.

Knowledge Hub Team

Linda Baker, Sara Mohamed, Anna-Lee Straatman, Jassamine Tabibi

We would love to hear from you!

Contact us: astraat2@uwo.ca

Check us out on social media:

Facebook: facebook.com/TheLearningNetwork
Twitter: twitter.com/learntoendabuse
Website: http://www.vawlearningnetwork.ca/knowledge-hub

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