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Dr. Myrna Dawson

Photo of Dr. Myrna Dawson.

Dr. Myrna Dawson is a Full Professor of Sociology and a Research Leadership Chair, College of Social and Applied Human Sciences, University of Guelph. She is the Founder and Director of the Centre for the Study of Social & Legal Responses to Violence (CSSLRV) and the Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice & Accountability. She is also Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Canadian Domestic Homicide Prevention Initiative with Vulnerable Populations, a former Canada Research Chair in Public Policy and Criminal Justice (2008-2018), and Past President of the Canadian Sociological Association (2018-2019).

Dawson’s research has focused on trends and patterns in and social/legal responses to violence with emphasis on violence against women and children. She established the CSSLRV in 2005 with funding from the Canadian Foundation of Innovation to support the establishment of a research center focusing activities on understanding and preventing violence. In 2008, as part of her Canada Research Chair position, Dawson received funding to expand the CSSLRV to create and mobilize knowledge about effective violence prevention through rigorous research, exchange of knowledge to inform policy, and to train future researchers. During this time, Dawson has been awarded over $10 million in funding for multiple projects at the local, regional, national, and global level.

Dawson served for 15 years as a member of the Domestic Violence Death Review Committee, Office of the Chief Coroner of Ontario, the first of its kind in Canada, co-authoring the foundation paper upon which the committee was designed, and editing the first international collection on these initiatives, Domestic Homicides and Death Reviews: An International Perspective (Palgrave Macmillian, 2017). She collaborated on the evaluation of the first two specialized domestic violence courts in Ontario (i.e., Downtown Toronto, North York), conducting research in this area for about 10 years, including a focus on victim cooperation. As part of this work, she was a Co-Investigator and member of the executive for the Canadian Observatory on the Justice System Response to Intimate Partner Violence .

Dawson is the Senior Advisor and Project Lead for the Femicide Watch Platform (, which is a joint project of the United Nations Studies Association (UNSA) Global Network and the UNSA Vienna’s Femicide Team. She recently co-edited The Routledge International Handbook of Femicide and Feminicide (Routledge, in press, May 2023) with over 120 contributors from over 30 countries.

With more than 100 publications, Dawson’s research has appeared in multiple peer-reviewed journals, including Trauma Violence & Abuse, Child Abuse & Neglect, Current Sociology, Violence Against Women, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Child Abuse Review, Homicide Studies, Journal of Family Violence, and the British Journal of Criminology. Dawson has presented over 150 papers, including 18 keynotes, in Australia, Canada, Italy, Latin America, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. She regularly consults with various levels of government and NGOs in Canada and internationally on issues related to crime and violence.

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