Course for Dental Hygienists: "Detect, Respond, Refer: Helping to End Woman Abuse"

Three-quarters of the physical injuries sustained by women who experience violence and abuse in their intimate relationships occur to the head, neck, mouth, and face.

Detect, Respond, Refer: Helping to End Woman Abuse online training is designed to help you as you work with clients and coworkers who may be victims of woman abuse. An online resource for dental hygienists developed by Springtide Resources in partnership with the Ontario Dental Hygienists' Association and promoted by the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association, this self-directed training includes presentations with audio and numerous assessment opportunities.

The course consists of four modules:

  • Understanding woman abuse
  • Responding to woman abuse
  • Organizational strategies for responding to woman abuse
  • Taking care of yourself

The modules have notes that may be downloaded and saved for future reference. Several case studies are also part of the modules, presenting realistic situations that Canadian dental hygienists might face in their practices.

This course will:

  • enable you to gain a better understanding of woman abuse and its impact on the lives of women and their children
  • increase your ability to DETECT, effectively RESPOND, and appropriately REFER women experiencing abuse in their intimate relationships
  • assist you in creating a safe workplace for both clients and work colleagues
  • help you appreciate the impact on your personal and professional life when responding to women experiencing violence and their children


Registration for the course is done online, and the course can be taken in the comfort of your home, at your convenience and your pace. You may pause and restart at any time. Although it is expected that the entire course will take about 5-7 hours to complete, you may take as much time as you need. You may wish to break up your learning into several shorter sessions. You will have 8 months from the date of purchase to complete the course.

Course Fee: $29 for ODHA members, $39 for non-members

Registration Link:

About the Course Developers

Springtide Resources is a registered charity that develops and implements programs aimed at responding to the growing prevention, intervention, and educational needs of those working toward ending violence against women and their children. Since 1978, the organization has been effectively providing training and resources to decrease the incidence of physical, psychological, emotional, and sexual violence against women and the effect that woman abuse has on children.

ODHA was established in 1963 and is a non-profit organization that represents the interests and needs of member dental hygienists in Ontario. The ODHA works to advance dental hygiene practice and primary health care promotion in the interest of the profession and the public.

Donna Joyette and Melanie Oda designed the course with extensive input from the Ontario Dental Hygienists’ Association (ODHA). Paula Wansbrough built the course, Marsha Sfeir coordinated the course development, and Catharine Butler and Kaylen Fredrickson of Springtide Resources reviewed the content.


Donna Joyette has worked in the area of woman abuse since 1983 in community-based law enforcement and legal environments. Since 1996 she has primarily been involved in the design and delivery of training for a variety of professionals to increase their competence in identifying and effectively responding to survivors of woman abuse and their children. Donna is convinced that the benefit of working closely with an Advisory Committee, which included ODHA representatives, oral health practitioners, and professionals responding to the needs of survivors, was invaluable to the design of a course and resource materials specific to the oral health environment.

Melanie Oda became interested in the area of violence against women in the mid 90s through her involvement in the design and delivery of training sessions for spoken-language interpreters. The opportunity to work with the Advisory Committee enhanced efforts to ensure the course’s relevance to oral health professionals and provide them with the tools to help end violence against women through their clinical practice.

Paula Wansbrough builds e-learning modules for Springtide Resources and is consulted on the development of e-learning policies and procedures. Paula has extensive e-learning development experience, working with a variety of clients in the violence against women sector and other sectors.