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Nursing Research and Practice
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 434592, 15 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/434592
Research Article

Violence against Women: An Exploration of the Physical and Mental Health Trends among Immigrant and Refugee Women in Canada

1Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing, Ryerson University, 350 Victoria Street, Toronto, ON, Canada M5B 2K3
2Wellesley Institute, 10 Alcorn Avenue, Toronto, ON, Canada M4V 3B2

Received 30 November 2011; Accepted 24 February 2012

Academic Editor: Björn Albin

Copyright © 2012 Sepali Guruge et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Violence against women is a serious health and social problem for women worldwide. Researchers have investigated the broad physical and mental health consequences of violence against women but few have focused on immigrant and refugee women. We assessed the history of violence and the impairment of physical and mental health among 60 women participants from the Iranian and Sri Lankan Tamil communities in Toronto, Canada. Our survey findings revealed that the participants had experienced various types of violence throughout their lifespan, with psychological abuse by a spouse/partner occurring most frequently in the past 12 months. Commonly reported types of abuse included insulting, criticizing, and intimidation by partner (psychological abuse); slapping, hitting, and shoving (physical abuse); and forced sexual intercourse and sexually degrading acts (sexual abuse) by a partner/spouse. We found that a substantial proportion of the participants also had experienced physical and mental health impairment, which could be a result of the various types of violence they had experienced throughout their lifespan. Research and practice implications are provided.