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Advancing Health Equity and Social Justice in Forensic Nursing Research, Education, Practice, and Policy

Introducing Structural Violence and Trauma- and Violence-Informed Care

Befus, Deanna R. PhD, RN, SANE1; Kumodzi, Trina BSN, RN, CCRN2; Schminkey, Donna PhD, MPH, MSN, CNM, RN3; St. Ivany, Amanda PhD, RN4

doi: 10.1097/JFN.0000000000000264
Original Articles

ABSTRACT Initial conceptualizations of violence and trauma in forensic nursing have remained relatively narrowly defined since the specialty's inception. The advent of trauma-informed care has been important but has limitations that obfuscate social and structural determinants of health, equity, and social justice. As forensic nursing practice becomes more complex, narrow definitions of violence and trauma limit the effectiveness of trauma-informed care in its current incarnation. In keeping with the nursing model of holistic care, we need ways to teach, practice, and conduct research that can accommodate these increasing levels of complexity, including expanding our conceptualizations of violence and trauma to advance health equity and social justice. The objective of this article is to introduce the concepts of structural violence and trauma- and violence-informed care as equity-oriented critical paradigms to embrace the increasing complexity and health inequities facing forensic nursing practice.

Author Affiliations:1Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing, Western University

2School of Nursing, University of Virginia

3College of Health and Behavioral Studies, James Madison University

4Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Correspondence: Deanna R. Befus, PhD, RN, SANE, 1151 Richmond St., Western University, FIMS & Nursing Building, London, ON, Canada N6A 5B9. E-mail:

Received April 30, 2019; Accepted August 8, 2019

© 2019 by the International Association of Forensic Nurses. All rights reserved.
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