Funded Projects

The Centre is a leader in many ongoing research projects and initiatives related to sexual violence, domestic violence, violence in the workplace, domestic homicide, and responses of the justice system. Public Education campaigns and programs have been developed to address the needs of various professionals including those in the health, justice, social services, and education.  Please contact us or follow the links if you wish further information on any of these initiatives.

Addressing Sexual Violence: Changing Attitudes, Changing Lives

Collage of four faces differing in age groups and gender.A bilingual forum was held on June 23-24, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario to examine sexual violence public education programs from Ontario and other jurisdictions; share expertise on innovative and effective ways to educate others about preventing sexual violence; and work towards identifying approaches that would work best in Ontario. Funding for this project was provided by the Province of Ontario. To learn more:

Canadian Domestic Homicide Prevention Initiative

Logo with magnifying glass for Canadian Domestic Homicide Prevention InitiativeIn partnership with the Centre for the Study of Social and Legal Responses to Violence, University of Guelph, the Centre for Research & Education on Violence against Women & Children launched the Canadian Domestic Homicide Prevention website on February 28, 2014 with funding from the Canadian Women’s Foundation. This website is designed for researchers, community organizations and government policy makers and features research reports, education materials, learning and training opportunities, annual reports from domestic violence death review committees from across Canada and internationally. Project Directors: Peter Jaffe, and Myrna Dawson. To learn more visit

Canadian Domestic Homicide Prevention Initiative with Vulnerable Populations

The Canadian Domestic Homicide Prevention Initiative with Vulnerable Populations (CDHPIVP) is a five- year project (2015-2020) funded by the Social Sciences Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to conduct research on domestic homicides in Canada, identify protocols and strategies that will reduce risk, and to share this knowledge with the wider community.

The Canadian Domestic Homicide Prevention Initiative with Vulnerable Populations (CDHPIVP) is creating a partnership that fosters collaborative, cross-sectoral research to identify unique individual and community-level risk factors that may increase exposure to domestic violence and homicide for particular populations, and the development of enhanced evidence-based information about effective risk assessment, risk management, and safety planning strategies to prevent lethal domestic violence for these groups and their communities.

The CDHPIVP focuses on four populations that experience increased vulnerability to domestic homicide: Indigenous populations; rural, remote and northern; Immigrant and refugee populations; and children exposed to domestic violence. Project Directors: Dr. Peter Jaffe and Dr. Myrna Dawson. To learn more about the project visit:

Canadian Observatory on the Justice System’s Response to Intimate Partner Violence

Logo with world map for the Canadian Observatory on the Justice System's response to intimate partner violenceIn the last two decades the Canadian Justice System has responded to lobbying by women's organizations to take a more active interventionist role in responding to family violence. This has involved funding, legislation and policies on enforcement. While criminal law is federal, enforcement and implementation is typically provincial (courts) or municipal (policing), resulting in a variety of policies and programs across the country. In addition, a number of provinces have introduced civil legislation to address domestic violence issues. While policy makers across Canada are committed to reducing the devastating impact of domestic violence, their diverse policies and practices must be analyzed and compared to determine best practice. The Alliance of Canadian Research Centres on Violence (the Alliance) has been involved in research on portions of the justice system's response to domestic violence. Early studies reveal substantial jurisdictional variation with substantially different outcomes and have demonstrated a need for a national study that would permit rigorous inter-jurisdictional analysis. Comparing the response to abuse in different jurisdictions will allow the Alliance to highlight similarities and differences, but also to understand what can be adapted, what works, and what does not work. We need to have a better sense of what are the factors that make initiatives successful in order to generate a better response to violence in all the provinces, as well as to understand reasons for (and consequences of) the absence of initiatives. Project Team includes:  Principal Investigator Carmen Gill; Co-Investigators:  Helene Berman, Margaret Jackson, Jane Ursel, Peter Jaffe, Myrna Dawson.  To learn more about the observatory visit:

Connecting Research and Practice in Trauma-Informed Health Promotion: Maximizing Impact through the Knowledge Hub

The Knowledge Hub is funded through the Public Health Agency of Canada and supports projects resourced through the initiative-- Supporting the Health of Victims of Domestic Violence and Child Abuse through Community Programs  These projects will connect the fields of health promotion and family violence prevention. All projects will research trauma-informed health promotion activities responding to the needs of victims. Anticipated outcomes will include the identification of innovative and promising trauma-informed practices to promote the health of those who have experienced family violence. To learn more, visit

Cornwall Public Inquiry

Ontario flag logo with writing: The Cornwall Public LibraryThe Cornwall Public Inquiry was established in 2006 to review allegations of historical abuse of young people in Cornwall, and to examine how the justice system and institutions in Cornwall responded.  During Phase 1, the Commissioner of the Cornwall Public Inquiry, Normand Glaude, heard evidence from expert witnesses knowledgeable about child sex abuse and the justice system, and various institutions such as child welfare organizations, the Catholic Church, probation services. Evidence was offered by victims and alleged victims of abuse; many of these were boys or young men at the time of the incidents involved. Phase 2 was about healing and reconciliation in Cornwall. Dr. Peter Jaffe was appointed as an expert witness to the Inquiry.  The Report of the Cornwall Inquiry was released on December 15, 2009.

For more information visit the Cornwall Inquiry website at

Cut it Out

Stick figure holding scissors with writing Cut it Out, Salons Against Domestic Abuse87% of women battered by their partners confide in their hairdresser before they seek help from a professional. Cut It Out teaches basic warning signs of woman abuse and helps the stylists and salon professionals become comfortable having a discussion with their clients. It also familiarizes them with community programs that can help the woman. Salon employees are in a perfect position to help because they work in an environment where women feel comfortable and they develop trusted relationships. Cut It Out education sessions provide spa and salon workers with information and resources to reach out to their clients and connect them to supportive resources in the community. The Cut It Out program has focused on reaching students in colleges and private schools who are about to embark on their professional careers. Cut It Out was represented at Allied Beauty Association trade show in Toronto in March 2014 with 7500 attendees. This program was developed with funding from the Ontario Women’s Directorate. Project Director: Barbara MacQuarrie. For more information go to

Domestic Violence Risk Assessment & Management

Image of USB with circle on top. Circle containing media imagesFunded by the Province of Ontario through the Ontario Women’s Directorate; this free online program is directed at health, social service, family law, and education professionals to understand domestic violence risk assessment, the importance of collaboration and information sharing. The course involves scenarios from cases reviewed by the Ontario Domestic Violence Death Review Committee. A certificate is available upon completion.

Domestic Violence Training for Professionals

The Domestic Violence Risk Assessment and Management online course will be updated to enhance engagement of students and professionals in the education, justice and social services sectors. New scenarios will be developed and a marketing strategy will be developed and implemented to raise awareness of the program. Modules include topics such as how to have a conversation with a victim, and dealing with reluctant victims.  Project Team: Peter Jaffe, Barbara MacQuarrie, Anna-Lee Straatman


Embodied Trauma: The Influence of Past Trauma on Women during the Transition to Motherhood

Art of woman holding baby. Words depcit "Listening, Informing, Healing."The experience of trauma in the lives of women often has a lifelong impact on survivors. The occurrence of adverse physical and emotional sequelae, including problems related to attachment, identity, affect regulation and interpersonal relationships, have been well-documented. Although these effects are particularly salient during the reproductive years, little scholarly attention has been paid to how past trauma shapes and affects the transition to motherhood. Instead, most research has focused on maternal and fetal outcomes when trauma is experienced during pregnancy. In this feminist grounded theory study, we examined trauma among three groups of women as they negotiated the changes in roles, emotions and physical states that occur during the transition to motherhood: Aboriginal women who have experienced historical trauma in the context of colonization, genocide, and oppression; refugee women who endured pre-migration trauma; and Canadian women who are survivors of childhood sexual abuse. The goal of this research was to develop a substantive grounded theory explaining how women who have experienced intimate and systemic/structural forms of trauma negotiate the perinatal period. This research was funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research.  Project Team: Principal Investigators: Helene Berman and Robin Mason; Co-Investigators: R. Lanius; Susan Rodger and Lori Ross. To learn more about this research view the recent publication:

Berman, H; Mason, R; Hall, J; Rodger, S; Classen, C; Evans, M.K; Ross, L.E. Alvernaz Mulcahy, G; Carransa, L; Al-Zoubi, F. (2014). Laboring to mother in the context of past trauma: The transition to motherhood. Qualitative Health Research. Available at:

For resources to support survivors of abuse through pregnancy, childbirth and the transition to parenting, visit

It Matters to Us! Truth and Reconciliation work

Nah Du Mah Duh Win logo. Tree with eagle and fire.The Centre for Research & Education on Violence against Women & Children worked with The Sisters of St. Joseph and local Indigenous representatives to support the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission locally. Our work focused on how we can contribute to better preparation for teachers in training, ongoing professional development opportunities for teachers and strengthening relationships between Indigenous and settler people throughout our local communities so that we can all live in peace and understanding. Local elders Dan and Mary Lou Smoke joined our committee and assisted us with traditional protocols.  Funding for this initiative came from the United Church of Canada, Sisters of St. Joseph, and Ursuline Sisters of Chatham, and the Social Sciences Humanities Research Council. 

We hosted a gathering March 10-11, 2015 in the Faculty of Education for educators, students, parents, indigenous and settler people to learn and share about the legacy of residential schools. Resources from the conference are available at

"It's Not Right!" Changing Social Norms for Bystanders of Abuse of Older Adults

Neighbours, Friends, & Families logo in purpleIt’s Not Right! Neighbours, Friends and Families for Older Adults was developed to educate and engage all Canadians on the issue of older adult abuse and neglect. We want to teach everyone to recognize warning signs and risk factors and to learn small practical steps that can add up to a big difference in someone’s life and in our communities. There are little things that everyone can do to help. Together we can create the society where we feel respected, valued, safe and supported throughout our lives. For more resources and more information go to This project was supported with funding from the New Horizons Program of Human Resources Skill Development Canada. Project Director: Barbara MacQuarrie

Make It Our Business

Make it Our Business logo in blueViolence against women is a complex, multifaceted, global social issue that must be addressed through an ecological approach that spans individual, organizational, community and societal levels. Domestic violence in Canadian workplaces costs millions of dollars each year, presenting an opportunity for collaboration and education. The Make It Our Business (MIOB) program takes the original mandate of the Neighbours, Friends and Families (NFF) public education campaign to teach all Ontarians to recognize warning signs and risk factors of domestic violence into workplaces. MIOB connects local experts with employers to optimize existing resources by building relationships between the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. MIOB uses a “whole company” change model focusing on pro-social bystander approaches to address social norms that enable or inhibit violence against women and to grow the in-house capacity of partnering organizations to continue the education process after MIOB training. MIOB generates awareness, engages leadership and provides co-workers with the ability to recognize potential warning signs and abuse along with practical tools to respond. This initiative is supported with funding from the Ontario Women’s Directorate. Project Director: Barbara MacQuarrie. For more information, or to book a session, go to,

Neighbours, Friends and Families

Colorful Neighbors, Friends, and Families logoThe simple, but powerful message that we all have a role to play in ending woman abuse is at the heart of this campaign. Because repeated violence and potentially lethal violence can often be predicted, lives can be saved with appropriate and timely interventions. Through the efforts of Neighbours, Friends and Families we make information on how to recognize abuse, how to offer support and where to turn for help accessible and usable to all communities across the province. The campaign teaches about small steps we can all take to help keep a neighbour, a friend, a family member safe. The website has been updated and features a free webinar. Project Director: Barbara MacQuarrie

To order free brochures or to find more information about the campaign, visit

Responding to Intimate Partner Violence: Refugee Assistance Program Workers

In collaboration with Rexdale Women’s Centre and Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI)  online training was developed for Refugee Assistance Program Workers to identify and respond to incidents of intimate partners violence within the context of their service delivery. Online training available at:

Rethinking Relationships:  A Model for Education, Public Health and Community Sectors

Pink Rethinking Relationships flyer. Three people standing depicted.

With funding from the Ontario Women’s Directorate, the primary aim of this project was to develop a versatile and comprehensive framework for mentoring youth between the ages of 11-14 to address various forms of violence and promote healthy and equal relationships and social spaces in ways that are collaborative, creative, and youth-centered.  A framework was developed to provide adults working with youth in diverse institutional and community settings and sectors with promising practice guidelines and strategies for mentoring youth using an approach that is participatory and intersectional.

This main objective reflects our understanding that it is important to develop meaningful and empowering, yet flexible, mentoring strategies for engaging both male and female youth from diverse communities in the work of challenging violence and of fostering healthier, more equitable, patterns of social interrelationships. It is important to develop mentoring strategies that respond to the diversity and specificity of youth experiences, social contexts, and identities, and that inclusively engage the knowledge and direct participation of youth. The mentoring framework created with this initiative was informed by a theoretical foundation of intersectionality and by a participatory action methodology. This mentoring model provides best practices, strategies, and resources that enable youth and adults to work in partnership to design, implement, and evaluate initiatives that engage youth in the important work of examining and challenging the different forms of violence, inequalities, and exclusions in their everyday lives and promoting healthy more equal relationships and social spaces.

This project concluded with a conference in London, Ontario which drew on local knowledge to identify approaches to mentoring youth between the ages of 11-14 that address various forms of violence and promote healthy and equal relationships.  Project Team: H. Berman, P. Jaffe, B. MacQuarrie, R. Hughes, Y. Hussain, M. Pajot,  S. Abdelwahab. - See more at:

Resources developed for this grant include:

Pajot, M. (2009). Rethinking relationships: Engaging youth & connecting communities: Resource guide. London, Canada: Centre for Research and Education on Violence against Women and Children.

Pajot, M. (2009). Vivre sainement nos relations: S’engager comme jeunes et comme collectivité, un guide de ressources. London, Canada: Centre for Research and Education on Violence against Women and Children.

Sexual Violence Training Project

Professionals from the education, social service, community and justice sectors receive disclosures of recent or historical sexual abuse. The Responding to Disclosures of Sexual Violence online training program will provide professionals with knowledge and skills to foster a more responsive and supportive environment for survivors of sexual violence. The curriculum utilizes interactive video scenarios to convey best practices as outlined in the Overcoming Barriers and Enhancing Supportive Responses Resource Document created by the Violence against Women Learning Network.  The online curriculum will be available at


The impact of domestic violence on workers and workplaces

Hands on a keyboardA Partnership Development grant funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council formed a Canadian-led international network of researchers, domestic violence experts, labour organizations, and employers to conduct research and mobilize knowledge about domestic violence in the workplace.  A Canadian –wide survey of domestic violence in the workplace was launched on December 6, 2013. Extensive analyses were conducted to understand pan-Canadian and jurisdiction-specific findings and trends. Research was also conducted to examine the specific impacts of offender behaviour on the workplace. Principal Investigators: Barbara MacQuarrie, Nadine Wathen, Jen MacGregor, and Katreena Scott. To learn more:

Violence Against Women Learning Network

Text: Learning Network on blue and purple backgroundThe Learning Network increases the effectiveness and reach of public education and professional training materials developed to address violence against women.  It flows from the recommendations of the Domestic Violence Advisory Council and is funded through the Ontario Women’s Directorate.  The Learning Network benefits from the support and input of a Resource Advisory Group consisting of members of various VAW provincial organizations and women with lived experience of violence. Funded by the Ministry of Status of Women since 2011, the Learning Network hosts knowledge exchanges and produces resources including newsletters, learning briefs, resource reports, core resource documents and interactive learning tools. All resources are available on the website at Project Team: Linda Baker, Elsa Barreto, Dianne Lalonde, Jassamine Tabibi

Violence in the Lives of Girls

This 3-year grant funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council examined at a national level the topic of girls’ victimization experiences. Although research literature includes information regarding how specific characteristics of youth such as gender, disability, sexual orientation, race, social class, culture and ethnicity may be related to violence victimization, there is minimal information available that investigates how the intersection of the social group categories influences adolescents’ perceptions and experiences of violence. It is well established that violence victimization acts as a risk factor that compromises adolescents’ developmental transition to adulthood. However, there is a noticeable gap in the scientific literature as there has been limited inclusion of persons from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, in addition to other social categories. The purpose of this study was to investigate the occurrence, nature, and frequency of violence experienced by a nationally representative sample of youth. A second objective was to describe the assessment of youths' perceptions of the degree to which their membership in particular social categories (gender, sexual orientation, social class, ability/disability, culture, race, and ethnicity) is related to the violence they experience. Project Team:  Principal Investigator: Helene Berman. Co-Investigators:  M. Fernet, M. Jackson, J. Ursel, C. Gill, L. Tutty, S. Carr-Stewart, K. Levine.  

Violence in the Lives of Muslim Girls & Women: Developing a Research Agenda in the Canadian, Yemeni, and East African Context

Violence in the lives of Muslim girls and women is a significant, although largely hidden, problem that has received little scholarly attention. As a result, efforts to respond are often inadequate from a social and cultural perspective. With support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council International Development Grant, this project sought to lay the groundwork for a comprehensive program of research aimed at the prevention and treatment of gendered violence within Muslim communities in Canada, Yemen, and East Africa. The primary focus was establishing and expanding collaborative relationships among academic and community researchers in the partner countries; to develop a clearer articulation and understanding of the research and policy priorities; and to hold a meeting among partners to take place in Yemen where research plans were formulated. A critical review of relevant research, policies, and programming informed this process. Project Team: Principal Investigator:  Helene Berman; Co-Investigator: Mohammed Baobaid