2014 – 2021

Canadian Domestic Homicide Prevention Initiative with Vulnerable Populations (CDHPIVP)

The FREDA Centre was a partnership member of the Canadian Domestic Homicide Prevention Initiative with Vulnerable Populations (CDHPIVP), a five-year project funded by the Social Sciences and 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 CDHPIVP was co-directed by Dr. Peter Jaffe (Western University) and Dr. Myrna Dawson (University of Guelph). The FREDA Centre worked closely with the Centre for Research & Education on Violence Against Women & Children (CREVAWC), the Centre for the Study of Social and Legal Responses to Violence (CSSLRV), the Ending Violence Association of BC (EVA BC), and the Muslim Resource Centre for Social Support and Integration (MRCSSI) as part of the Immigrant and Refugee Populations Research Team, co-led by Dr. Kate Rossiter (SFU & EVA BC), Dr. Mohammed Baobaid (MRCSSI), Dr. Sepali Guruge (Toronto Metropolitan University), and Dr. Randy Kropp (SFU). Research Assistants for the Research Team included Dr. Sarah Yercich, Abir Al Jamal, Randal David, and Misha Dhillon. Dr. Margaret Jackson was a Project Collaborator.

The goal of the CDHPIVP was to create a partnership that would foster 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. The initiative involved the development of a national domestic homicide database, a national survey of service providers, interviews with key informants, and interviews with domestic violence survivors and family members of domestic homicide victims. The specific outcomes that were addressed throughout the duration of the partnership were 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.

For knowledge products developed as part of this research initiative, please visit the Canadian Domestic Homicide Prevention Conference webpage.

Building Supports: Housing Access for Immigrant and Refugee Women Leaving Violence (with BC Non-Profit Housing Association & BC Society of Transition Houses)

Building Supports was a community-based project led by three project partners: BC Non-Profit Housing Association, BC Society of Transition Houses, and the FREDA Centre. The project was generously funded by the Vancouver Foundation and the Representative for Children and Youth. For more information about the Building Supports project, including research findings, promising practice guide, and the public awareness campaign, please visit the project page or You Are Not Alone. See also the Building Supports Phase III: Policy Component – Immigration, Refugee, and Settlement; Housing; and Health report and the Building Supports Project Phase III: Policy Component – Policy Brief Summary.

Exposure to Intimate Partner Violence Among Children and Youth
(with the School of Child and Youth Care, University of Victoria)

This research, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, examined the costs and impacts of exposure to intimate partner violence among children and youth. The research was shared at a launch event in June 2014 and published in the International Journal of Child, Youth and Family Studies. See A Comprehensive Review of the Literature on the Impact of Exposure to Intimate Partner Violence for Children and Youth (Artz, Jackson, Rossiter, Nijdam-Jones, Géczy, & Porteous, 2014) and Beginning to Understand the Economic Costs of Children’s Exposure to Intimate Partner Violence (Andresen & Linning, 2014), and an infographic on the Impacts and Costs of Exposure to Intimate Partner Violence for Children and Youth.

Addressing the Complexities and Implications of Anti-violence Service Delivery in British Columbia (with the Ending Violence Association of BC)

This study, funded by the Ending Violence Association of BC, and conducted by researchers at the FREDA Centre for Research on Violence Against Women and Children (Simon Fraser University), was designed to explore the complexities and time-related challenges associated with anti-violence service delivery in BC. The research involved interviews and focus groups with 22 participants: 9 key informants (e.g., program managers) and 13 front-line anti-violence workers with 10 or more years’ experience in the sector. In addition, the researchers updated a chronology of significant events (e.g., new legislation, policy, guidelines, funding cuts) in the anti-violence sector during the 30-year study period to determine important shifts in legislation and policy that may have had an impact on practices within the sector. The full report can be accessed online at EVA BC’s website.

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

Principal Investigator: Katherine Rossiter

The purpose of this study was 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 elicited 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 was supervised by Drs. Margaret Jackson (SFU) and Myrna Dawson (University of Guelph), and was funded by the Canadian Observatory on the Justice System’s Response to Intimate Partner Violence.

2003 – 2013

Domestic Violence Prevention and Reduction in British Columbia

The FREDA Centre and the Justice Institute of BC (JIBC) launched a landmark report in 2011 on the subject of domestic violence prevention and reduction in BC. In the report, titled Domestic Violence Prevention and Reduction in British Columbia, the FREDA Centre’s Katherine Rossiter reviewed domestic violence prevention and reduction initiatives in BC, from 2000-2010, and made the case for primary prevention strategies that address the root causes of crime and promote strategic investments in children and families. The review was undertaken to support the work of the Violence Reduction Circle, a collaborative group of researchers, policy makers, clinicians, and service providers, hosted by the Centre for the Prevention & Reduction of Violence (CPRV) within JIBC’s Office of Applied Research. Funding for the study was provided by CPRV through generous donations from the R. Howard Webster Foundation and the British Columbia Institute for Family Violence.

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

Principal Investigator: Katherine Rossiter

This 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. The doctoral research was supervised by Dr. Simon Verdun-Jones, along with Drs. Margaret Jackson and Marina Morrow. Drs. Jodi Viljoen (SFU) and Victoria Smye (UBC) 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

National domestic violence case tracking study

Of offenders and victims with the Alliance of Canadian Research Centres on Violence undertaking research on violence against women and children. In collaboration with provincial Victim Services in Victoria.

Alliance study of justice system response to intimate personal violence

BC responsible for the Policy Scan – collecting policies of relevance across Canada to analyze commonalities, differences, and outcomes.

Alliance study on youth violence

Interviewing youth in schools and the streets about their experiences of violence in their lives.

Comparative justice policy study

Working with Belgrano University in Buenos Aires (with Dr. Liliana Alvarez)

Collaborative health initiatives to prevent and intervene in violence against women in China

CIHR study with Dora Tam, Carleton University (PI) examination of domestic violence responses in China.

Aggression and Girls

CIHR study with Dr. Marlene Moretti (Department of Psychology, SFU) on youth violence issues.


National project with Dr. Wanda Cassidy (Faculty of Education, SFU).

Cross-Canada study on shelter network feasibility study

Project with Dr. Leslie Tutty, University of Calgary.

2000 – 2003

Violence Prevention and the Girl Child – Phase 2

The FREDA Centre received funding from the Strategic Themes component of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council to engage in an extensive and in-depth examination of the specific influences that heighten the vulnerability of racialized girls to violence, and factors that promote or impede social cohesion and a sense of belonging of racialized girls. This funding spanned a 3-year period, during which time the Centre endeavoured to supplement the sparse Canadian academic literature dealing with the lives and realities of racialized girls. It was anticipated that one of the outcomes of this study would be a practical guide for frontline workers with suggestions on how best to intervene in crisis situations when dealing with racialized girls from diverse communities. With funding from the National Crime Prevention Mobilization Fund, the Centre also enhanced its study of racialized girls by examining the factors and conditions that render marginalized girls more vulnerable to violence. Marginalized girls include Aboriginal, immigrant/refugee girls, lesbians, and girls with disabilities. The project focused on convening roundtable discussions with service providers dealing with each of these populations. One of the aims of the project was to develop a multi-sectoral alliance involving service providers who deal with marginalized populations so as to facilitate an exchange of information and generate analyses and policy recommendations.


The Trial of Kelly Ellard

The FREDA Centre and Justice for Girls monitored the Kelly Ellard trial since it began on March 6, 2000, and were available to comment on the trial’s proceedings once the verdict was given. 
Justice for Girls is a non-profit organization that promotes support, justice, and equality for low-income and street-involved teenage girls who have experienced violence. 
FREDA and Justice for Girls combined their observations of the trial with their academic and community expertise, to produce a report that analyzed how young women are treated by the justice system. The perspectives of several young women who monitored this trial as part of the internship program at Justice for Girls, were also included. 
On Friday March 31, 2000 the jury found Ellard guilty of second-degree murder in the killing Reena Virk, a 14-year-old girl of south Asian origin, who was brutally beaten and murdered in Saanich, BC, on November 14, 1997. A group of six girls were charged with Virk’s assault and Warren Glowatski was convicted of second-degree murder last June. Analysis of the Ellard trial was part of FREDA’s work on the second phase of the Violence Prevention and Girl Child project funded by Status of Women Canada. FREDA’s focus in this second phase was to analyze the specific vulnerabilities of immigrant and refugee girls, and girls of colour.


Reviewing the court harassment of women who are involved in custody and access disputes (with the Vancouver Association of Women and the Law)

The following reports from the project are available from the FREDA Centre:

  • Charlesworth, Sonya. (1999) “Constructing Abuse: The Experiences of Mothers and Court-ordered Child Custody and Access Assessments.”
  • Goundry, Sandra. (1998) “Final Report on Court-related Harassment and Family Law Justice.”

Violence Prevention and the Girl Child – Phase 1

As part of its national violence prevention initiative, Status of Women Canada funded the Alliance of Five Research Centres on Violence (AFRCV) – of which the FREDA Centre is a member – to produce a national action plan on violence prevention and the girl child. According to Canadian national standards, the “girl child” is any girl or young woman under the age of 18 years (19 years in BC). Concentrating on the region in which it is located, each of the violence research centres examined specific programs that service the needs of girls/young women who have experienced violence, as well as analyzing specific violence-related issues.
 The FREDA Centre focused on the issues of eating disorders, sexual exploitation, and trafficking, as well as the experiences of marginalized girls. In addition, the Centre conducted focus groups with service providers and young women/girls as part of its contribution to this national initiative. A more comprehensive review of the literature on eating disorders has been completed by the FREDA Centre for Health Canada.


The impact of disasters on services for women survivors of violence, a joint project of the BC Institute Against Family Violence and the Centre for Disaster Preparedness.

The following report from the project is available from the FREDA Centre:

  • Enarson, Elaine. (1998) “Responding to Domestice Violence and Disaster: Guidelines for Women’s Services and Disaster Practitioners”

Rural Women and Violence

In March 1998, the FREDA Centre undertook a project, funded by the federal Department of Justice, to examine the impact of violence on women living in rural communities. The project was completed with the assistance of community-based researchers in two rural areas of BC. It entailed interviews with women survivors of violence, as well as focus groups with service providers and community leaders.

Immigrant Women and Violence-Related Health Care

The FREDA Centre received a grant from the BC Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health to develop a framework document for the delivery of violence-related health care information and services to immigrant women from racialized communities. This project involved a critical analysis of existing studies, as well as focus groups with service providers and immigrant women.

The Impact of Bill C-46 on the Provision of Health Care to Survivors of Violence

A seed grant from the BC Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health enabled the FREDA Centre to continue its policy analysis project, this time focusing on the impact of the privacy shield legislation in terms of records disclosure on health care providers who deal with women survivors of violence. The project entailed an analysis of case law, challenges to the existing law, and interviews with service providers dealing with women who have experienced violence.

The findings of the project can be found in the following report which may be purchased from the FREDA Centre:

  • Denike, Margaret and Sal Renshaw. (1999) “Legislating Unreasonable Doubt: Bill C-46, Personal Records Disclosure and Sexual Equality.”

Policies and Actions

The Centre’s extensive project analyzing the impact of regional and federal policies on women and children leaving abusive relationships, received further financial support from the Vancouver Foundation. With the combined assistance received thus far from Status of Women Canada BC/Yukon Region, and the Vancouver Foundation, the FREDA Centre will continue to generate critical analyses of policies, and will be convening focus groups around the province to assess the impact of these policies.

Some of the analyses resulting from this project can be found in the following reports available from the FREDA Centre:

  • Chambers, Susan. (1998) “An Analysis of Trends Concerning Violence Against Women: A Preliminary Case Study of Vancouver.”
  • Denike, Margaret and Sal Renshaw. (1999) “Legislating Unreasonable Doubt: Bill C-46, Personal Records Disclosure and Sexual Equality.”
  • Janovicek, Nancy. (2000) “On the Margins of a Fraying Social Safety Net: Aboriginal, Immigrant & Refugee Women’s Access to Welfare Benefits.”
  • Jiwani, Yasmin and Lawrence Buhagiar. (1997) “Policing Violence against Women in Relationships: An Examination of Police Response to Violence against Women in British Columbia.”
  • Kachuk, Patricia. (1998) “Sentencing Reforms and Women Survivors of Men’s Violence: Why Women Should Care.”
  • Suleman, Zara and Holly McLarty. (1997) “Falling Through the Gaps: Gaps in Services for Young Women Survivors of Sexual Assault.”
  • Wilmshurst, Susan. (1997) “The Violence against Women in Relationships Policy: A Pre- and Post-Policy Examination of the Outcomes of Spousal Assault Reports in Penticton, BC.”

Fundraising and the Potential for Institutional Partnerships

The FREDA Centre was a member of the Vancouver Women’s Fund (VWF) which was a grassroots fundraising organization representing fourteen different women’s groups. The Vancouver Women’s Fund did complete a project, facilitated by the FREDA Centre, on the potential of institutional partnerships with women’s organizations which are involved in issues concerning violence prevention.

Aboriginal Women’s Action Network

The FREDA Centre also participated on the advisory committee of the Aboriginal Women’s Action Network’s (AWAN) project on the impact of Bill C-31 on Aboriginal women. This innovative project was designed to document the impact of Bill C-31 and generate recommendations for change. The project was funded by Status of Women Canada, BC/Yukon Region.

The final report is available from:

  • Aboriginal Women’s Action Network (c/o Vancouver Status of Women: 309 – 877 E. Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC, V6A 3Y1)