Polaris Health Directions has received a continuing federal grant for approximately $200,000 for the ongoing development of its well-regarded Polaris-DV (Domestic Violence) product solution for assessing and treating abused women. The funding, from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), will go towards the development of an algorithm that identifies women at high risk of revictimization and guides service agencies in helping these women avoid further instances of abuse.
As many as two-thirds of abused women experience depression, anxiety and PTSD, points out Dr. Linda Toche-Manley, vice president of Polaris and principal investigator of the project. Untreated, these conditions can significantly impact their health and the likelihood of remaining in abusive relationships.
“Abused women use up to six times more medical services in long-term chronic disease states because of co-morbidity of behavioral health problems,” Dr. Toche-Manley said. “Polaris-DV helps the medical and public sectors identify and address these problems, to help end the cycle of abuse by emphasizing women’s strengths and empowering women to effectively tackle negative relationships.”
Polaris-DV contains assessment, reporting and training tools important for moving the field beyond just screening for abuse to considering the impact family violence has on the long-term health of women. Polaris’s domestic violence solution has been used in medical settings, family justice centers and DV agencies to help ensure abused women are receiving the appropriate behavioral health care, and that the long-term impacts of abuse associated with revictimization are addressed.
Up to one-third of women in medical settings are dealing with family violence, but most will not share this information unless they are specifically encouraged to do so. The Polaris-DV system allows for disclosure in a manner that is non-threatening and provides actionable data for the physicians, caseworkers and others involved in the treatment of an abused woman.
Dr. Toche-Manley has been invited to speak at the International Conference of Abuse and Trauma in San Diego, Calif., in September 2010. She has also spoken about the cutting-edge nature of this product during conferences sponsored by the Academy of Abuse and Violence and the Family Prevention and Violence Fund, among others.