Other Articles or Reports


Responding to Domestic Violence in Family Law, Civil Protection & Child Protection Cases
CanLII e-book by Dr. Linda C. Neilson


Enhancing Civil Protection in Domestic Violence Cases:
Cross Canada Checkup

Dr. Linda C Neilson
University of New Brunswick

The report offers options, informed by research evidence, to enhance civil protection in domestic violence cases throughout Canada. Legal-system research has been critical of the operation of civil protection proceedings in intimate-partner/domestic violence (DV) cases. Yet within criticism lie opportunities for positive change. Careful attention to criticism can help to improve our responses to families and children. Thus the report, in a search for solutions, connects domestic-violence research, research on the operation of legal systems in domestic violence cases, and civil protection processes and options (case law and statutes) across Canada. It adopts a forward-focused, problem-solving approach. PART ONE presents principles of practice associated with effective options derived from evaluations of the operation of the legal system in DV cases. PART TWO connects the principles discussed in Part One to current civil protection options across Canada (domestic violence prevention statutes, restraining order legislation and legislation relating to possession of the marital home and personal property). PART THREE identifies current gaps in Canadian legislation that, if addressed, could enhance the operation of the legal system in civil protection cases. The goal is to support professional and service provider efforts to promote the health and safety of families and children in DV cases.

Linda NeilsonDr. Linda Neilson, BA(Hons.), LL.B., PhD (Law, U. London, L.S.E.) is a Full Professor at University of New Brunswick. She has a lengthy association with the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre for Family Violence Research. Her recent works include, as sole author, an 18 chapter peer-reviewed, national electronic bench book for Canadian judges on family law & domestic violence (Ottawa: National Judicial Institute); Enhancing Safety (Ottawa: Department of Justice), an on-line manual in French & English on addressing problems when families confront multiple (family, child protection, criminal) legal systems; and “At Cliff's Edge: Judicial Dispute Resolution in Domestic Violence Cases” in Family Court Review 52(3): 529-563.


In the Best Interests of Women and Children: Exploring the Issue of “Failure to Protect” in the Acadian Peninsula

This report describes the findings of our research on the issue of “failure to protect” in situations where women are abused by their partners and their children are exposed to intimate partner violence. We conducted focus groups with 29 child protection and transition house workers and service providers in the Acadian Peninsula, New Brunswick, to examine current knowledge and practice in situations of child exposure and intimate partner violence. We also interviewed ten women who had been involved with child protection to learn about their experiences of abuse, mothering, and child protection intervention.

This report makes a series of recommendations for changes to policy and practice that, if followed, would significantly improve child protection and community intervention with women, children, and families and the lives of abused women and their children. Like other studies on child exposure, intimate partner violence and “failure to protect”, this research urges that communities and governments take the issue of intimate partner violence seriously and act in concert not only to provide adequate services and resources for abused women and their children but to hold men accountable for their violence.




  • The Health Effects of Family Violence - was prepared for the National Clearinghouse on Family Violence by Deborah Doherty, Ph.D., on behalf of the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre, Centre for Family Violence Research, Fredericton, New Brunswick (August 2002)