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Domestic/intimate partner violence in the lives of immigrant women: a New Brunswick response

  • Qualitative Research
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This article highlights barriers in accessing public services for domestic and intimate partner violence (D/IPV) from the perspectives of immigrant women and service providers in the province of New Brunswick. Addressing these barriers can assist in building capacity among immigrant women to talk about D/IPV; increase awareness and facilitate the use of public services by immigrant women experiencing D/IPV; and improve collaboration among D/IPV service providers in different sectors.


The study is based on social determinants of health and intersectional theoretical frameworks. Semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions were conducted with immigrant women and public service providers, representing the province’s linguistic and geographic (rural/urban) diversity. Qualitative data were coded thematically. Common and disparate themes between immigrant women and service providers were identified.


Common themes include lack of understanding, the complexity of the intersection of D/IPV and Canada’s immigration framework, and issues of trust. Disparate themes include differences in cultural values, the lack of collaboration between different types of service provision, and financial issues. Recommendations are made to mitigate structural barriers and increase collaboration.


Acknowledgement and better understanding of the cultural differences between service providers and immigrant survivors of D/IPV would go a long way to improve trust and break down barriers in communication. Revision of the New Brunswick Woman Abuse Protocols will highlight the perspectives of immigrant women. Long-term and increased funding for D/IPV and settlement public services will ensure that women-centered programming and professional translation services are available and improved collaboration takes place.



Présenter les obstacles à l’accès aux services publics en lien avec la violence domestique et la violence envers la partenaire intime (VD/VPI) du point de vue des immigrantes et de celui des dispensateurs/trices de services dans la province du Nouveau-Brunswick. L’abolition de ces obstacles pourrait renforcer les capacités des immigrantes à parler de la VD/VPI, leur faire connaître les services publics en lien avec la VD/VPI et en faciliter l’utilisation, et améliorer la collaboration entre les dispensateurs/trices de services de VD/VPI de différents secteurs.


L’étude est fondée sur les cadres théoriques des déterminants sociaux de la santé et de l’intersectionnalité. Des entretiens semi-dirigés et des groupes de discussion ont été menés avec des immigrantes et des dispensateurs/trices de services publics représentatifs de la diversité linguistique et géographique (rurale/urbaine) de la province. Les données qualitatives ont été codées par thème. Les thèmes communs et divergents entre les immigrantes et les dispensateurs/trices ont été recensés.


Les thèmes communs sont le manque de compréhension, la complexité de l’intersection entre la VD/VPI et le cadre d’immigration du Canada, et les problèmes de confiance. Les thèmes divergents sont les valeurs culturelles différentes, le manque de collaboration entre les différents modes de prestation de services et les questions financières. Nous formulons des recommandations pour atténuer les obstacles structurels et accroître la collaboration.


Une reconnaissance et une meilleure compréhension des différences culturelles entre les dispensateurs/trices et les immigrantes ayant survécu à la VD/VPI contribueraient beaucoup à améliorer le lien de confiance et à abolir les obstacles sur le plan des communications. La révision des Protocoles relatifs à la violence faite aux femmes du Nouveau-Brunswick mettrait en lumière les perspectives des immigrantes. Le financement accru et à long terme des services publics d’établissement des immigrants et de lutte contre la VD/VPI assurerait la disponibilité de programmes axés sur les femmes et de services professionnels d’interprétation, ainsi que la mise en place d’une meilleure collaboration.

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The authors are grateful for the helpful comments from the reviewers.


They also acknowledge Status of Women Canada for the funding for the project upon which this article is based.

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Correspondence to Catherine Holtmann.

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Holtmann, C., Rickards, T. Domestic/intimate partner violence in the lives of immigrant women: a New Brunswick response. Can J Public Health 109, 294–302 (2018).

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