Victims of intimate partner violence and justice services
In January 2012 the Victim Research Team of the Canadian observatory converged in Toronto. The focus of the highly energized one-day meeting was two-fold: (1) to review and suggest revisions an research instrument for collecting data on victims using services and (2) to determine pilot sites for testing the instrument in Canada. The meeting was attended by members of the victim research sub-team comprised of Carmen Gill, Rina Arseneault, Elizabeth Blaney, Dominique Damant, Myrna Dawson, Sonia Gauthier, and Holly Johnson, as well as Joseph Hornick and Leslie Tutty who had participated earlier in the development and/or implementation of a similar instrument for collecting data on accused who come into contact with the justice system. Once developed, the team will conduct a pilot to test the data collection instrument.
Canadian observatory holds fifth face-to-face meeting, Montreal
On September 15-16, 2011 a face-to-face meeting was held in Montreal to discuss a program of research for the Canadian observatory. The focus of the meeting was to strengthen an international program of research to examine how justice systems respond to intimate partner violence. Dr. Carmen Gill led the meeting. She presented an overview of the Canadian observatory and current state of the program of research, funding, timelines and organizational options for an international collaborative study, and possibilities for partnership and governance structures. Drs. Liz Kelly and Elizabeth Blaney on complexity theory and its application to the study of justice system responses to intimate partner violence. The meeting provided excellent material to prepare a funding application that was submitted to the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council in November 2011. The meeting was attended by academics, policy makers, research assistants, and community-based agencies from across Canada, Australia, U.K. and U.S.A.
Canadian observatory holds meeting on justice policies and IPV in Calgary
The Canadian observatory undertook a scan of Canadian criminal justice policies relating to intimate partner violence, including the policies-at-large of Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial governments, the operational policies of Crown prosecutors, specialized court process, and provincial and territorial legislation providing civil remedies to victims of intimate partner violence. The scan was completed on the basis of a definition and understanding of “policy” provided by Margaret Jackson (FREDA, SFU): a policy is a guide for what governments do or don’t do (its actual practice); policies are value-based and often those values may be in tension – the policy establishes the balance, e.g., between individual and societal values; a policy’s intent refers to an action set out to secure the stated value balance, e.g., mandatory charging in domestic violence/intimate partner violence intends to provide protection of the woman’s safety as a priority over the accused’s rights; and, problems can arise when a stated policy intent does not result in the desired balance or outcome or impact. In June 2011, a meeting was held in Calgary between members of the Canadian observatory, those provincial and territorial government representatives who participated in the policy scan, Michelle Lawrence, Associate Director of FREDA (doctoral candidate, School of Criminology at SFU/Trudeau scholar) who organized the all the submitted materials together into formatted categories, and research assistants from the University of Calgary. The purpose of the meeting was to: discuss the role and function of the Canadian observatory in relation to criminal justice policies pertaining to intimate partner violence (IPV); inform and engage governments in the policy work of the Canadian observatory; and strategize the next steps in continuing the activity. The meeting was very successful with the next step being the development of a searchable and virtual policy library under the Canadian observatory.
Canadian Observatory Holds Fourth Face-to-Face Meeting in Fredericton
On November 5-6, 2010 the Canadian observatory held its fourth face-to-face meeting in Fredericton, New Brunswick. The objective of the meeting was to further the discussion on the justice system’s response to intimate partner violence by developing a program of research that would benefit both academic researchers and government stakeholders. The meeting kicked off with a buffet dinner providing a social opportunity and network building among delegates. Delegates included members of the Canadian observatory, research assistants, and representatives of provincial/territorial governments.
To set the context for the working component of the meeting Carmen Gill, University of New Brunswick, provided a brief synopsis of an earlier meeting held in Ottawa where delegates discussed data collection and data sharing strategies (see below for more information). Elizabeth Blaney, University of New Brunswick, provided an update on data collection at the international level. Marie-Eve Boudreau, Candidate au doctorat en criminology, Université de Montréal, Sonia Gauthier, École de service social, Université de Montréal and Holly Johnson, Department of Criminology, University of Ottawa provided a collective update on an instrument for collecting data on victims that is in the process of being developed by a team of the Canadian observatory. Margaret Jackson, FREDA Centre & School of Criminology, Simon Fraser University provided an update and facilitated a discussion on the policy work of the Canadian observatory. The remainder of the meeting was spent on further developing a common research interest. Prior to the meeting, research themes were proposed and agreed upon. At the current meeting, small groups worked together to further develop the research themes, decide how the themes would be approached in a program of research, identify key questions for exploration under each of the themes, select specific actions to move forward, and brainstorm ways to strengthen and maintain relationships among academics and governments to support a shared program of research. These small group discussions were shared in plenary and a strategy was adopted for moving forward with a program of research.
Canadian observatory holds meeting with federal, provincial and territorial governments
On May, 27, 2010, the Canadian observatory held a successful one-day workshop in Ottawa to bring together university researchers and federal, provincial, and territorial governments. The workshop was sponsored by the Canadian observatory and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. The goal of the workshop was to engage government researchers and policy makers in the work of the Canadian observatory to further collaborations and dialogue about research and justice responses to intimate partner violence and to move forward on data collection and data sharing. The objectives of the workshop were to: strengthen partnerships between governments and the Canadian observatory; explore data collection and data sharing challenges; and, articulate a role for the federal government in the Canadian observatory. The format of the workshop included an array of individual and shared presentations and small group and plenary discussions that focused on two broad themes: strengthening collaboration between governments and the Canadian observatory and moving forward with data sharing strategies. Overall, delegates were enthusiastic about possibilities to strengthen relationships and in moving forward with data collection and data sharing between governments and the Canadian observatory. For more information on the workshop, proceedings are available on this website at: http://www.unb.ca/observ/publications.php
Canadian Observatory Holds Third Face-to-Face Meeting in Guelph, Ontario
On November 7, 2009 the Canadian Observatory held its third face-to-face meeting of members in Guelph, Ontario. The majority of our time together was facilitated by Carmen Gill and given to the development of a program of research for the Canadian observatory. The postdoctoral fellows presented on their research including: Cheryl Fraehlich (Comparing Official Stories With Women's Stories: Post-doctoral Research Update), Elisabeth Wells (Participation in the Domestic Violence Court Process: Preliminary Findings with the Victim Impact Statement and Future Research Directions), and Lanette Ruff (Searching for Evidence:Challenges for Police Responding to Domestic Dispute Calls) presented their research. The international team presented on the pilot of a standardized data collection instrument. Presentations included Robyn Holder (Justice System Response to IPV: Australian Pilot of the Data Collection Grid, Prepared by Paul Mazerolle, Robyn Holder, Robin Fitzgerald & Karin Behrens), Liz Kelly (Report on UK Pilot for Standardised Data Collection Instrument/Procedure for the Canadian Observatory, Prepared by Liz Kelly & Linda Regan), and Michael Rempel and Robyn Mazur (International Data Collection in Cases of Intimate Partner Violence Results from the Bronx (USA) Pilot, Prepared by Sarah Riffat, Amanda Cissner, Robyn Mazur, and Michael Rempel). The International Data Collection Reports are available on the Canadian observatory member site only. Margaret Jackson reported on the policy audit and RDI (Research Development Initiative) grant application. Carmen Gill and Joe Hornick reported on data collection in New Brunswick and Yukon. Holly Johnson reported on the activities of the new victim-based research team. Elizabeth Blaney provided a presentation on the Observatory Blog. [see photograph 1] [see photograph 2] [see photograph 3]
International partners pilot data collection instrument: In 2008, the Canadian observatory received $71,000 from SSHRC through the International Opportunities Fund. This funding provides the Canadian observatory with resources to establish a research partnership with our members in Australia, United Kingdom, and the United States. The objective of this one year research project is to obtain a clearer international picture of intimate partner violence and how intimate partner violence cases are processed through criminal justice systems. Our international partners piloted the Canadian observatory data collection grid in Canberra and Wagga Wagga in Australia, led by Dr. Paul Mazerolle; in Exeter, England, led by Dr. Liz Kelly; and in Syracuse, New York, led by Michael Rempel. This project will help the Canadian observatory to create comparable sets of justice data.
On November 8, the Canadian observatory held a full-day team meeting in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Elizabeth Blaney provided an update of the 2008 activities of the Canadian observatory. Carmen Gill opened the morning discussion organized around the theme: Collecting data on the justice system response to intimate partner violence, by reporting on the pilot and the data collection instrument for collecting data on justice files. An international panel presented on their experiences of using the data collection instrument. The international panel consisted of Paul Mazerolle & Robyn Holder from Australia, Linda Regan from England and Michael Rempel from New York City. The morning ended with an open discussion on data collection, including elements of data collection and collecting data and data analysis. The afternoon session focused on the topic: Sharing data on the justice system response to intimate partner violence. David Foord, Director of International Property at the University of New Brunswick, provided an overview of developing research agreements across academic and government sectors. This interesting presentation was followed by a second panel that focused how members of the Canadian observatory are moving forward in relation to research agreements for data collection and sharing. This panel consisted of Myrna Dawson from Guelph, Margaret Jackson from British Columbia and Joe Hornick who is working with the territorial government in Yukon. The day was brought to a close with an open discussion about the next steps, priorities, and activities of the Canadian observatory.
On November 6 – 7, members of the Canadian observatory attended the first National Research Day in Winnipeg, Manitoba. This year’s theme was building links between researchers and community service providers by uncovering the causes of violence and mapping out effective strategies to prevent and alleviate that violence. This National Research Day was hosted by RESOLVE, Manitoba (Director, Jane Ursel) who partnered with the Canadian Alliance of Research Centres on Violence and the Canadian observatory to provide a truly international event. Approximately 150 delegates attended the two-day event. A number of members of the Canadian observatory presented papers: Linda Regan, Myrna Dawson, & Paul Mazerolle presented on an international panel titled: “International Panel on Domestic Homicide: England, Canada and Australia”; Rina Arseneault – “Silent Witness Project”; Helene Berman – “Trajectories of Violence in the Lives of Girls: An Intersectional Analysis”; Robyn Holder – “Victims’ Interest in A Public Interest Justice System”; Myrna Dawson – “A Snapshot of an Ontario Specialized Domestic Violence Court: What has Changed in the Four Years Since Implementation”; Carmen Gill – “Specialized Domestic Violence Court: The New Brunswick Pilot”; Elisabeth Wells – “Judicial Attributions in Sentencing: The Battered Women Before and After R. v. Lavallee”; Nicole Letourneau “Period of Purple Crying – Shaking Baby Prevention Project” & “’They Need an Anchor’: Service Providers’ Perceptions of the Needs of Mothers Affected by Intimate Partner Violence”; Jane Ursel – “Domestic Violence: Women’s Perspective”; Mary Hampton – “PTSD Symptoms in Relation to Women’s Experiences with Intimate Partner Violence” & “Health Impact of Abuse”; Dominique Damant – “Women’s Experience of Mothering Through Domestic Violence”; Leslie Tutty – “Abused Women’s Mothering: Challenges and Protective Strategies”; Sonia Gauthier – “The Forms of Intimate Partner Violence Experienced By Women in a Handicap Situation”; Rina Arseneault – “Evaluation of the ‘Family Violence & the Workplace Toolkit’”; Elizabeth Blaney – “The Canadian observatory on the justice system’s response to intimate partner violence”.
Jaffe, P. & Dawson, M. (2008). Multi-disciplinary perspectives from different provinces in reviewing domestic homicides, London, ON, University of Western Ontario.
A think-tank on the review of Canadian domestic homicides held in London Ontario on October 20-21, 2008. The think-tank brought together social scientists, coroners, policy makers, social service/mental health professionals, police, and crown attorneys from five different Canadian provinces (BC, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and NB). The think-tank was funded through the Department of Justice Canada, the Ontario government (Attorney General, Ontario Women’s Directorate), Canadian observatory on the justice system’s response to intimate partner violence, University of New Brunswick and the University of Western Ontario. A discussion paper will be available in February 2009to summarize some of key themes from the think-tank - it will be posted on www.crvawc.ca after approval from participants.
The think-tank was structured around the exploration of challenges and promising practices in reviewing domestic homicides. Background information was provided by the US Fatality Review Project, Ontario’s DV Death Review Annual Reports and a recent research paper on the DV death review process.
The overall objective of the think-tank was to bring together multi-disciplinary perspectives from different Canadian provinces to share experiences in reviewing domestic homicides. The purpose of the think-tank was to discuss future practices and policies that provinces and communities can consider implementing to enhance death reviews and to expand the research to help prevent future domestic homicides. Specifically, the goal was to bring experts in the field of domestic violence and/or homicide from five provinces to discuss potential strategies for review and data collection in regards to domestic homicides.
Long-term objectives for the think-tank included exploring the feasibility of a national conference on this topic, developing a common data base for information on domestic homicides across Canada beyond existing Statistics Canada reports and discussing the possibility of funding to enhance research and practice partnerships in this area. Research into domestic homicides has for the most part been fragmented, both in terms of the issues focused upon and in the location with some areas in Canada and other countries receiving more attention than others. Notwithstanding the interconnections among research focus and region, there has been little opportunity for bringing insights together from various provinces who are facing the same issues which is the case with domestic violence and homicide. The think-tank provided an excellent opportunity to bring researchers, government and community partners, and policy makers together to determine what is similar, what is different, what works, and what needs attention. By documenting progress and identifying what needs to be done, the think-tank was intended to create a platform for future research to proceed and contribute to the knowledge base for effective prevention and intervention in domestic homicides.
In May, Myrna Dawson organized a session at the Joint Annual Meetings of the Law and Society Association and Canadian Law and Society Association in Montreal, Quebec, Canada from May 29 - June 1, 2008. The session, entitled, “Specialized domestic violence courts: Examining process, efficacy and challenges in the Canadian context”, involved three other members of the Canadian observatory (Jane Ursel, Leslie Tutty, Dominique Damant (chair of session). Three papers were presented: Myrna Dawson, “Implementing a specialized domestic court program: Examining its impact over four years”; Leslie Tutty, “Calgary’s HomeFront Specialized Domestic Violence Court”; and Jane Ursel, “Results from Winnipeg study of the specialized courts in our region”. Session titled: Specialized domestic violence courts: Examining process, efficacy and challenges in the Canadian context.
Robyn Holder organized a national conference in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory (ACT) held 22-23 May, 2008. The title of the conference was “Family violence and specialist courts: National and international perspectives”. This national conference presented an opportunity to hear critical reflections from international and national (Australian) speakers about specialized court procedures and specialized family violence courts.
On May 8th, Holly Johnson held the “Workshop on the intersections between vulnerabilities and criminal justice processing of intimate partner violence” at the University of Ottawa to identify intersections between specific vulnerabilities and criminal justice processing of intimate partner violence. The workshop brought together federal government researchers and policy makers, experts working in universities and non-governmental organizations, and community representatives The aim of the workshop was to begin to engage the federal government in the work of the Canadian observatory by bringing brought together federal government researchers and policy makers, experts from universities and community representatives to explore interconnections and possible collaborations. Approximately 30 people attended the workshop. Members of the Canadian observatory were also in attendance. By bringing together diverse perspectives, the workshop provided a means for sharing elements of effective policies and practices and lessons learned.
[For a copy of the proceedings click here]
On September 12, Paul Mazerolle held a symposium entitled, Understanding & preventing domestic violence symposium at the Key Centre for Ethics, Law, Justice and Governance, Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia. The symposium provided a unique opportunity for professionals from across various sectors in Australia to converge and to be informed about some of the latest research on domestic violence as well as some of the challenges and latest evidence regarding effective responses. A prominent theme of the symposium was the importance of implementing effective interventions to prevent domestic violence. The symposium included several national and international experts on domestic and intimate partner violence. Key themes that were addressed included: effective police and health service responses to domestic violence, international initiatives to understand justice responses to domestic violence, examining pathways to intimate partner homicide in Australia, understanding help seeking responses to domestic violence, examining what works in the area of batterer treatment, and uncovering the scope of the problem of domestic violence in the Islamic community. Members of the Canadian observatory were in attendance as were graduate students, academics, government professionals, and community agencies and organizations. Presentations included: Carmen Gill, “Working in collaboration: The Canadian observatory on the justice system response to intimate partner violence”; Paul Mazerolle, “Developmental pathways to intimate partner homicide: Understanding individual and institutional dimensions”; Robyn Holder, “Defining justice from victim perspectives”; Elizabeth Blaney with Leanne Fitch, “Sharing the proud results of a partnership project: Effective police response to intimate partner violence”.
In May, 2008, Myrna Dawson organized a session at the Joint Annual Meetings of the Law and Society Association and Canadian Law and Society Association in Montreal, Quebec, Canada
The Canadian observatory is successful in ensuring active participation of all team members. A first face-to-face meeting of the team members was held in Calgary on November 7, 2007. The meeting was held in conjunction with the RESOLVE Research Day, allowing members from across Canada and our international partners from Australia, United Kingdom, and United States to take part. The meeting of the Canadian observatory was groundbreaking; experts from different regions and countries met to share their knowledge about how the justice system responds to intimate partner violence. the workshop brought together all team members:
The morning was opened by the Director, Carmen Gill, who congratulated the team on the successful application. The rest of the morning session was devoted to introducing our international partners from Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Each of the panellists shared how data is collected on intimate partner violence (domestic violence) cases as they enter and are processed through the justice system, what variables data are currently being collecting on, and to talk briefly about specialization (where specialized courts exist and key components). In the afternoon, members of the Canadian team presented on data collection practices on the justice system and intimate partner violence in Canada. The Canadian observatory members then develop a list of shared variables that the team could use to pilot a standardized grid for the collection of data on the justice system. The workshop concluded with a discussion about the challenges in making international data collection relevant.
Members of the Canadian observatory also attended the RESOLVE Research Day, hosted in Calgary by Leslie Tutty, Academic Research Coordinator of RESOLVE Alberta. Presentations from members of the Canadian observatory included: Robyn Holder – “Sisyphus in the Criminal Justice System: Reform in the Australian Capital Territory 1998-2007”; Margaret Jackson – “The Voices of Urban Aboriginal Girls on Intergenerational Violence and Aggression in their Lives”; Rina Arseneault – “Socio-economic equity and Acadian Francophone Women in the Atlantic Region” & “Family Violence affects the Workplace: It’s Your Business to Help”; Leslie Tutty –“Homelessness and Intimate Partner Violence: Overlapping Issues for Women”; Leslie Tutty & Robbie Babins-Wagner – “You’re Not Alone: An Evaluation of Therapy Groups for Abused Women” & “Engaging Female Victims of Violence” & “Addictions and Domestic Violence”; Leslie Tutty, Cindy Ogden, & Andrea Silverstone – “Peer Support Programs for Abused Women: What Works?”; Carmen Gill – “ Using Conditional Sentences in Domestic Violence Cases: Snapshot from New Brunswick”; Elizabeth Moore – “The Pilot Domestic Violence Intervention Court Model (DVICM) toward Evidence-Led Practice in Wagga Wagga in Rural Australia”; Paul Mazerolle – “Pathways to Partner Violence: Exploring Direct & Indirect Linkages Between Physical Child Abuse and Intimate Partner Violence Victimization”; Lise Bellefleur –“ Government/Community Partnerships in Anti-Violence Work: Making it Real – Making it Work”; Elizabeth Blaney –“Understanding the Impact of Intimate Partner Violence: Helping Police Officers to Better Intervene”; Carmen Gill, Elizabeth Moore, Jane Ursel, Robyn Holder, Leslie Tutty – “An International Perspective (Panel): Specialized Domestic Violence Court”; and Jane Ursel & Reagan Gordon –“An Overview of the Healing Journey Project”.