Holly Johnson has been engaged research on violence against women for 30 years, first at Statistics Canada and more recently as Professor of Criminology at the University of Ottawa. Her research interests centre on primary prevention, improving societal responses to crimes of violence against women, and improving research methodologies for measuring women’s experiences of violence. Holly has served on numerous international initiatives including the International Violence Against Women Survey, the Secretary-General’s report on violence against women, the UNECE Task Force on Violence Against Women Surveys, and the UN Expert Group on Indicators on Violence Against Women. Most recently, she worked with the UN Statistical Division to draft guidelines to assist countries in the implementation of statistical surveys on violence against women. She is currently a member of the International Evaluation Advisory Group for UN Women’s Safe Cities Free of Violence Against Women and Girls Global Progamme.
Currently, Holly’s research interests focus on examining police practices around unfounding sexual assaults, a widespread practice that serves to reinforce harmful myths and stereotypes and contributes to high rates of attrition for this crime. She is also a member of the SSHRC-funded Canadian Observatory on the Justice System Response to Intimate Partner Violence (PI C. Gill, University of New Brunswick) and is particularly interested in examining the impacts of social and criminal justice policies from the perspective of the mostly female clients they were designed to serve. As co-lead of the evaluation component of the CIHR project Voices Against Violence: Youth Stories Create Change (PI H. Berman, Western University) she is learning a great deal about participatory action research. Working on the prison-based Australian Homicide Study with co-investigators Paul Mazerolle (University of Brisbane) and Richard Wortley (University College London) she hopes to cast new light on the dynamic pathways that precede intimate partner homicide. She recently had the pleasure of working closely with co-investigators at Griffith University in Brisbane as Visiting Professor. Holly is author of three texts and numerous publications on these topics, including Violence Against Women in Canada: Research and Policy Perspectives (Oxford 2011) with Myrna Dawson.
As Chair of the board of directors of the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action and an active member of the Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women, Holly is finding new interest in political activism.