Intimate Partner Violence Against Women with Serious Mental Health Concerns: The Justice System Response

Principal Investigator: Katherine Rossiter, PhD

The purpose of this study is to explore the justice system’s response to intimate partner violence against women with serious mental health concerns, and to identify solutions to improve women’s access to the justice system, strengthen the justice system’s response, and enhance the safety of women with serious mental health concerns. The study will elicit the perspectives of victim service workers (community- and police-based), justice system representatives, and women with serious mental health concerns who have experienced intimate partner violence.

This postdoctoral research is supervised by Drs. Margaret Jackson (SFU) and Myrna Dawson (University of Guelph), and is funded by the Canadian Observatory on the Justice System’s Response to Intimate Partner Violence.




Victimization, Trauma, and Mental Illness: Women’s Recovery at the Interface of the Criminal Justice and Mental Health Systems

Principal Investigator: Katherine Rossiter

Trauma Recovery StudyThis study explored the trauma-related experiences and needs of women receiving forensic psychiatric services in British Columbia, the challenges faced by forensic mental health professionals in addressing victimization and trauma with female clients, and women’s experiences as participants in a trauma-focused study. Qualitative interviews with 16 women receiving forensic mental health treatment services and 13 forensic treatment staff explored the need and potential for trauma-informed forensic psychiatric services.


This doctoral research was supervised by Dr. Simon Verdun-Jones, along with Drs. Margaret Jackson and Marina Morrow. Drs. Jodi Viljoen and Victoria Smye served as  examiners. The research would not have been possible without the cooperation of the Forensic Psychiatric Services Commission (FPSC) and BC Mental Health and Addiction Services (BCMHAS), and support from the Research in Addictions and Mental Health Policy and Services (RAMHPS) Program, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Women’s Health Research Network (WHRN), and the School of Criminology at Simon Fraser University.

The complete dissertation is available online through SFU’s Research Repository:
Trauma Recovery Study