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June 8, 2012
For immediate release

Service providers participate in educational strangulation identification workshop

Community Services and Seniors

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Front-line service providers participated in a workshop this week to learn screening techniques to identify strangulation victims, as well as the referral process for medical and safety assessment, says Minister Responsible for the Status of Women Valerie E. Docherty.

“The Interministerial Women’s Secretariat and the Premier’s Action Committee on Family Violence Prevention are pleased to partner with the Prince Edward Island Family Violence Prevention Services to provide Island service providers with this important training opportunity,” said Minister Docherty. “This workshop is an invaluable educational experience for those who work in an environment whose clients may be victims of family violence.”

The workshop entitled, “Strangulation is more than choking: What every service provider should know,” educated service providers in the protocol, including assessment of clients, for exposure and referral for medical evaluation.

“This workshop will provide valuable information as to what steps we can take to help victims who have experienced abusive acts such as strangulation,” says Phil Matusiewicz, Executive Director of Family Violence Prevention Services. “It also creates greater awareness about family violence and ways that government and community can all work together to prevent this abuse.”

Registered Nurse Morag McLean presented the workshop to front-line service providers. “I am impressed with the level of receptivity in Prince Edward Island,” says McLean, who has been a registered nurse for more than 30 years and works with Victorian Order of Nurses Edmonton – People in Crisis Program. “Historically, strangulation has been minimized and misunderstood. Strangulation is a commonly used and lethal weapon of family violence. Victims of strangulation are often missed or misdiagnosed and so it is vitally important that as many front-line workers as possible are trained to screen for strangulation and possibly save lives.”

Ms. McLean has developed a protocol to assist front-line workers and crisis advocates identify and care for victims of strangulation. The protocol has now been adopted by a number of government and non-government agencies in Alberta, as well as Edmonton Police Service and the RCMP.

Workshops were offered free of charge with service providers from across the province taking part. Participants included child protection workers, shelter workers, victim services, social workers, first responders, workers within the justice system, RCMP officers, community agencies, and many more. Grand Rounds Sessions for Health Care Professionals were also held at the Queen Elizabeth and Prince County Hospitals. Funding was provided by the Interministerial Women’s Secretariat, the Premier’s Action Committee on Family Violence Prevention and the Charlottetown Mayor’s Purple Ribbon Task Force.

To learn more about Prince Edward Island Family Violence Prevention Services Inc. and the resources and services they offer, visit


Facts on strangulation:

• strangulation is highly lethal

• a victim rarely fully recovers from a loss of consciousness more than 50 seconds

• a small amount of pressure is enough to cause brain damage

• 20 pounds of pressure opens a pop can, 11 pounds of pressure can stop blood flow

Media Contact: Amber Nicholson
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