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Creating Knowledge

Canadian Domestic Homicide Prevention Initiative with Vulnerable Populations

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Logo.

The Canadian Domestic Homicide Prevention Initiative (CDHPI) with Vulnerable Populations (CDHPIVP) is a five-year project funded by the Social Sciences Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to conduct research on domestic homicides in Canada; to identify protocols and strategies that will reduce risk; and to share this knowledge with the wider community. In 2013, in Canada, intimate partner violence accounted for one quarter of all police-reported violent crimes; and one quarter of all homicides. [For more information, check out CDHPI.]

Focus areas: The CDHPIVP focuses on four populations that experience increased vulnerability to domestic homicide:

Indigenous populations – the rate of domestic homicide is eight times higher for Aboriginal women compared to non-Aboriginal women in Canada.

Rural, remote and northern populations – the rate of domestic homicide in rural Canada is significantly higher than in urban areas.

Immigrant and refugee populations – their experiences with language, cultural and other barriers make it more difficult to report domestic violence and to access services.

Children exposed to domestic violence – children and youth who were victims of family-related violence represent 29% of all children and youth victims of violent crime.

Based on this research and the greater challenges for these populations to access resources, there is a clear need to undertake research with these four groups.

Research Priorities

1. National database on domestic homicide – to serve as a central repository for data on domestic homicide cases and the identification of associated risk factors.

2. Comprehensive literature review – to systematically examine risk assessment, risk management and safety planning strategies that currently exist for domestic violence and homicide in general and for the identified populations specifically.

3. Survey/interviews with stakeholders – to expand our understanding of unique risk factors associated with these vulnerable groups.

4. Multi-site control study – to compare domestic homicide cases with attempted homicide cases and cases of severe domestic violence in order to identify unique risk factors for lethality.

Partnerships and Collaboration

This research is made possible through strong local, provincial, and national partnerships that will be fostered and expanded in this initiative. The CDHPIVP team is comprised of multiple academic disciplines, professions, and community settings. Partners and collaborators bring specialized domestic violence knowledge and expertise to the project.

Knowledge Translation

The Canadian Domestic Homicide Prevention Initiative website, established with funding from the Canadian Women’s Foundation, provides a centralized repository of information on domestic homicide review and prevention with a Canadian focus, and will be one of many knowledge dissemination strategies throughout the project.

For further information about the CDHPIVP, please contact Co-Directors:

Dr. Myrna Dawson
Director, Centre for the Study of Social and Legal Responses to Violence
University of Guelph
Send an email to Dr. Dawson.

Dr. Peter Jaffe
Academic Director, Centre for Research & Education on Violence against Women & Children (CREVAWC)
Western University
Send an email to Dr. Jaffe.

Check out recordings and presentations from the 2021 online conference, “Preventing domestic homicides: From research and lived experiences to practice.”

Related References:

Fairbairn, J., D. Sutton, M. Dawson and P. Jaffe. 2019. What counts as domestic homicide? Reflections from case studies involving vulnerable populations. Sociological Studies of Children and Youth 24: (In press).

Dawson, M., D. Sutton, P. Jaffe, A. Straatman, J. Poon, M. Gosse, O. Peters, and G. Sandhu. 2018. One Is Too Many: Trends and Patterns in Domestic Homicides in Canada 2010-2015 (49 pages). Guelph, ON: Canadian Domestic Homicide Prevention Initiative with Vulnerable Populations.

Dawson, M. (Ed). 2017. Domestic Homicides and Death Reviews: An International Perspective. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Dawson, M. and A. Piscitelli. 2017. Risk factors in domestic homicides: Identifying common clusters in the Canadian context. Journal of Interpersonal Violence (In press).

Dawson, M., P. Jaffe, M. Campbell, W. Lucas, and K. Kerr. 2017. Canada. Chapter 3 in Domestic Homicides and Death Reviews: An International Perspective, edited by M. Dawson. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Campbell, M., Hilton, NZ., Kropp, PR., Dawson, M., Jaffe, P. 2016. Domestic Violence Risk Assessment: Informing Safety Planning & Risk Management. Domestic Homicide Brief 2. London, ON: Canadian Domestic Homicide Prevention Initiative. ISBN 978-0-9688655-9-0.

Campbell, M., Dawson, M., Jaffe, P., Straatman, A.L. 2016. Domestic Homicide Death Review Committees: Speaking for the Dead to Protect the Living. Domestic Homicide Brief 1.  London, ON:  Canadian Domestic Homicide Prevention Initiative.

Dawson, M. Fatality and Death Reviews. 2013. Homicide Studies 17(4): 335-338. [Guest Editor Introduction, Special Issue]

Jaffe, P., M. Dawson and M. Campbell. 2013. Canadian Perspectives on Preventing Domestic Homicides: Developing a National Collaborative Approach to Domestic Homicide Review Committees. Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice 55(1): 137-155.

Jaffe, P., K. Scott, A. Jenney, M. Dawson, M. Campbell, and A. Straatman. 2013. Risk factors for children in situations of family violence in the context of separation and divorce. Ottawa: Department of Justice.

Jaffe, P., M. Dawson, and M. Campbell. 2013. Findings of a national risk assessment, risk management, and safety planning knowledge exchange. Ottawa: Department of Justice.

Jaffe, P., M. Dawson, and M. Campbell. 2011. Lessons learned from domestic violence tragedies: Emerging research, policies and practices to prevent domestic homicide. Ottawa: Department of Justice Canada.

Jaffe, P., M. Campbell, M. Dawson, and W. Lucas. 2010. An overview of the Ontario (Canada) Domestic Violence Death Review Committee (DVDRC). Fatality Review Bulletin (Spring): 4-6.

Jaffe, P., M. Dawson, & M. Campbell. 2009. Multi-disciplinary Perspectives on Preventing Domestic Homicides: Ottawa: Department of Justice Canada.

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