Family Violence and the Workplace Research Team

The team was established in the spring of 1993.  Its primary goal was to conduct action research whose underlying purpose was to:

  • understand how family violence impacts the workplace,
  • make recommendations about how organizations can best offer assistance to employees who are victims and survivors of violence at home, and
  • implement action plans for educating employers and employees about the nature and impact of violence in the home.

More specifically, the objectives of the team’s research project are to:

  • identify behaviours which indicate that employees may be experiencing violence at home;
  • determine the emotional, social and economic impact of family violence on organizations with abused employees;
  • identify coping mechanisms used by abused employees, by co-workers and by managers;
  • seek feedback and input from various organizations about appropriate workplace protocols that could be developed for effectively responding to this issue;
  • disseminate material to increase awareness of family violence as an organizational issue and share research findings regarding relationships between family violence and the workplace.

In the five years of its existence, the team has conducted a pilot study which included a survey using a team-developed questionnaire, in-depth interviews and three focus groups, one each with employed women who were survivors of abuse at home, co-workers of abused employees, and managers who supervised abused employees.  The team also hosted, in May 1997, the national conference called Cutting Deep: Workplace Stress and Family Violence in a Climate of Downsizing, with major financial support from Human Resources Development Canada and Status of Women Canada.  These agencies provided grants of $75,515 and $18,000 respectively.  The team also benefited from the administrative support of the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre for Family Violence Research and from the contributions of the Canadian Public Personnel Management Association (New Brunswick Branch), The Canadian Union of Public Employees, the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Foundation, the New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women, the New Brunswick Federation of Labour, the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission, the New Brunswick Power Corporation, and the University of New Brunswick Academic Development Fund.  The team also received a grant of $5,000 from the Women's Bureau of Human Resources Development Canada to enable it to document the findings of its research.  Another grant of $1,000 was received from the Wallace Fund administered by the Faculty of Administration at UNB for projects involving Administration faculty members, members of other UNB faculties, and non-university organizations.