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Research Associates

Dr. Guila Benchimol

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Dr. Guila Benchimol is a researcher, educator, consultant, and victim advocate whose work focuses on gender, abuse, and power in faith communities. Guila holds a PhD in Sociological Criminology from the University of Guelph and is also a trained restorative and transformative justice facilitator whose work incorporates the survivor perspective and her Jewish identity. She was one of the key advisors who guided the launch of the SRE Network and continues to serve as their Senior Advisor on Research and Learning while she consults on other projects. Guila has been invited to address Jewish professionals and clergy across Canada and the US, as well as other faith communities, where she educates, trains, and develops and implements policies. Guila also sits on the board of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) and is a research associate at the Center for the Study of Social and Legal Responses to Violence where she has worked on projects related to homicides and domestic violence deaths. Her first 10+ year career as a Jewish educator in and outside of the Orthodox Jewish community informed her understanding of the need to address victimization of all kinds.

Claudette Dumont-Smith

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Claudette Dumont-Smith has been actively involved in the field of Aboriginal health since 1974. She is a registered nurse and has acted in various executive capacities with the Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada both as a board member and as its’ first executive director and, more recently, as executive director of the Native Women’s Association of Canada, a position she held until her retirement in 2016. During her 43-year career, Claudette worked as a consultant for various National Aboriginal Organizations as well as for Aboriginal organizations at the regional and local levels. Ms. Dumont-Smith has moderated health conferences across Canada and has collaborated on numerous papers and manuals on Aboriginal health and violence against women and children. Ms. Dumont-Smith served as a member of the Aboriginal circle of the Canadian Panel on Violence Against Women, a blue-ribbon panel initiated by the Government of Canada in 1991. In addition, she served as Associate Commissioner for the National Aboriginal Child Care Commission of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, formerly known as the Native Council of Canada and, was appointed as a Commissioner on the Indian Residential School Commission for one year. Ms. Dumont-Smith is also an accomplished writer/researcher whose articles on a wide range of topics have been published by the Health Council of Canada, the Aboriginal Healing Foundation and the Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada, among others. Ms. Dumont-Smith holds her Master’s degree in Public Administration from Queen’s University, Kingston and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Québec, Gatineau. In October 2017, Ms. Dumont-Smith was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) degree from the University of Guelph.

Dr. Jordan Fairbairn

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Dr. Jordan Fairbairn is an Associate Professor, Department of Sociology at King’s University College, Western University, London, Ontario. Jordan’s research focuses broadly on gender, violence, and media, with a focus on social responses to violence against women and the role of digital technology in violence and violence prevention. She has published in various journals, most recently Critical Sociology and Feminist Criminology, as well as various edited collections. From 2015-2017, Jordan was a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children (CREVAWC) at Western University. Jordan completed her PhD at Carleton University, where her doctoral research explored feminist public sociology and how stakeholders involved in violence against women prevention use and experience social media. Jordan has previously collaborated with the Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women (OCTEVAW) as Chair of the Media Hub Advisory Committee to create resources with and for journalists reporting on violence against women, and as lead investigator on Crime Prevention Ottawa funded research on sexual violence, social media, and youth. Jordan received her MA from the University of Guelph and this research, published in Feminist Criminology, explored Canadian news portrayals of domestic homicide and how this coverage has changed over time. In her current work on domestic homicide prevention, Jordan is a collaborator with the Canadian Domestic Homicide Prevention Initiative with Vulnerable Populations (CDHPIVP).

Emily Hill

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Emily Hill is a Law and Master of Social Work (JD/MSW) student at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. Emily completed a B.A. (Honours) in Criminal Justice and Public Policy with a Minor in Family and Child Studies at the University of Guelph in 2019. She was a President’s Scholar and graduated as the J.W. Skinner Medalist, the top convocation award in her College. Throughout her undergraduate degree, Emily worked as a Research Assistant with the CSSLRV. Emily is a co-author on two CSSLRV publications on femicide and parricide. This research, paired with her work at a peer support organization for survivors of childhood sexual abuse, confirmed her passions for law, social justice, and gender equality. At the University of Toronto, Emily served as the President of the Women & the Law Society. She has pursued public interest volunteer opportunities, including with Pro Bono Students Canada and the Barbra Schlifer Clinic where she supported women survivors of violence through the family court process. Most recently, Emily worked as a Summer Law Clerk, conducting research at the Superior Court of Justice. Emily is energized by the opportunity to serve the community and hopes to continue to work towards addressing access to justice barriers in Ontario, including for vulnerable groups.

Tina Hotton

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Tina Hotton is a Research Associate with the Centre for the Study of Social and Legal Responses to Violence at the University of Guelph. She is also a Chief with the Research Data Centre (RDC) Program, Statistics Canada. Over the past 20 years she has worked both as a researcher with the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (CCJS) and an analyst at the McMaster and University of Toronto RDCs. She is the author of many quantitative research articles for Statistics Canada, on topics ranging from women’s experiences with criminal justice system, dating violence, and homicide trends in Canada. Her current research interests focus on the impact of public policy on both the prevalence and criminal justice system response to incidents of intimate partner violence.  Hotton holds a Master’s and Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Queen’s University, Kingston.

Dr. Nicole Jeffrey

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Dr. Nicole Jeffrey is currently a Research Associate in the Psychology Department at the University of Windsor, working with Dr. Charlene Senn on various projects related to sexual violence. Dr. Jeffrey’s research has mainly focused on issues of violence against women, including sexual and intimate partner violence. She completed her PhD at the University of Guelph, where her doctoral research examined university men’s use of sexual violence against romantic partners and the societal norms related to gender, masculinity, heterosexuality, and sexual violence that men and perpetrators used to justify and minimize sexual violence. Dr. Jeffrey has works published in various journals including Violence Against Women and Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, as well as in edited collections. From 2015 to 2018 she worked as a Graduate Research Assistant for Dr. Myrna Dawson for the Canadian Domestic Homicide Prevention Initiative for Vulnerable Populations. More information about Dr. Jeffrey’s work.

Dr. Shiva Nourpanah

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Dr. Shiva Nourpanah is a former Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Post-Doctoral Fellow hosted by the CSSLRV (2019-2021). She is also the Provincial Coordinator of the Transition House Association of Nova Scotia, a community organization representing and advocating for women’s transition houses and support centres across Nova Scotia. Dr. Nourpanah graduated with a PhD in Social Anthropology from Dalhousie University in August 2017 and brings with her extensive experience conducting research on the experiences of refugees and temporary migrants. She has published research on the role of sexual and gender-based violence in refugee claims, the ethics of refugee aid, women’s human rights in refugee aid, and the experiences of settlement and integration of Afghan refugees in Canada. Currently, she is researching the relationship between women’s advocates, frontline organizations, and academia with Dr Dawson. Dr. Nourpanah has also taught at Saint Mary’s University and Dalhousie University in Halifax and at Vancouver Island University in British Columba. She immigrated to Canada from Iran in 2008 where she had worked for the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Refugees.

Dr. Amy Peirone

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Dr. Amy Peirone recently finished a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Post-Doctoral Fellowship hosted by Myrna Dawson and the Centre for the Study of Social and Legal Responses to Violence (CSSLRV) at the University of Guelph (2019-2021). She is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Regina, where she is working with Dr. Stuart Wilson on research exploring the age-crime curve. She is also an RA at the CSSLRV and is an Instructor at St. Clair College, where she is teaching courses for the Social Justice and Legal Studies BA program. Amy’s current research explores the distinct types of intimate partner violence (IPV) experienced by males and females in Canada and the multi-level factors related to these abusive experiences. She has published several articles on various aspects of IPV and has been involved in many different research projects, including those exploring perceptions of police among minority youth and survivors of IPV, reporting and disclosure practices among survivors of IPV, help-seeking behaviours among survivors of IPV who have pets, police response to cases of IPV, the geography of justice in Canada, and elder sexual assault. Other roles that Amy has taken on include Co-Director for the University of Windsor’s Health Research Centre for the Study of Violence Against Women, Coordinator for the Violence Against Women Coordinating Committee Windsor-Essex, Director on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (CNPEA), and Amy is currently President for the Board of Directors at St. Leonard’s House Windsor, a halfway house for federal offenders.    

Dr. Julie Poon

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Dr. Julie Poon is a Postdoctoral Fellow and National Research Coordinator for the Canadian Domestic Homicide Prevention Initiative for Vulnerable Populations, a five-year SSHRC funded project, co-directed by Dr. Myrna Dawson, Director, Centre for the Study of Social and Legal Responses to Violence, University of Guelph and Dr. Peter Jaffe, Academic Director, Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children, Western University. Dr. Poon’s research examines violence against women and intimate partner violence with a focus on women’s use of force and batterer intervention programs. Dr. Poon completed her PhD in Sociology at the University of Guelph examining how women who were court mandated to attend Ontario’s Partner Assault Response program interpreted their use of force and whether and how the program addressed their lived realities. She was lead author on a study examining factors increasing the likelihood of sole and dual charging of women in cases of intimate partner violence which was published in Violence Against Women. Most recently, she co-authored a chapter comparing domestic/family violence death reviews at an international level which was published in Domestic Homicides and Death Reviews: An International Perspective.

Gursharan Sandhu

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Gursharan Sandhu completed his master’s degree in the Criminology and Criminal Justice Policy program at the University of Guelph and his Juris Doctor degree at Western University Faculty of Law. Gursharan examined narratives used by the Canadian media and the Department of Justice Canada to outline differences and similarities between labelled ‘honour’ killing cases and other domestic homicide cases. His research work has been funded by the Ontario Graduate Scholarship award. Gursharan is a Research Associate at the Centre for the Study of Social and Legal Responses to Violence at the University of Guelph. 

Dr. Danielle Sutton

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Dr. Danielle Sutton is an analyst with the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, a division of Statistics Canada. She holds a PhD in Sociological Criminology and an MA in Criminology and Criminal Justice Policy from the University of Guelph. Her doctoral dissertation examined how accounts of police use of deadly force are constructed in Canadian news media and whether such constructions legitimate the force used. She has works published in peer-reviewed journals as well as in edited collections on the topics of intimate partner violence, homicide, and sociological theory and has presented on similar topics at regional, national, and international academic conferences. Throughout her graduate studies, Dr. Sutton worked on numerous projects at the Centre for the Study of Social and Legal Responses to Violence, and in varying capacities, most notably as the Research Coordinator. Dr. Sutton is currently a research associate at the CSSLRV.

Dr. D. Scharie Tavcer

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Dr. D. Scharie Tavcer is an Associate Professor in the Criminal Justice Degree Program in the Department of Economics, Justice, and Policy Studies at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta. She created the first of its kind community-service-learning field school in criminal justice in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut. Over the past 17 years, she has worked as an advocate, teacher, and scholar in occupational stress injuries, gendered-violence, criminal law, and criminalized women.  

Dr. Büşra Yalçınöz Uçan

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Busra Yalcinoz Ucan is a Marie Curie postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Media and Social Sciences, University of Stavanger, Norway. Her project, SaRe-DiGT, investigates the transformative use of digital technologies in the context of gender-based violence and immigration. More specifically, based on a participatory methodological approach, she examines the patterns and practices of digital technology use by immigrant women and individuals who have experienced gender-based violence and explore the potential of digital technologies as a practical resource for information, communication, support, and mobilization. She was previously a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Psychology, University of Waterloo, Canada. As a part of this research fellowship supported by Mitacs Accelerate program, she worked on a community partnership project examining the availability, accessibility, and effectiveness of psychological interventions and mental health support programs in the gender-based violence sector in Canada. She completed her PhD in 2019 at the Department of Clinical Psychology, Bogazici University, Turkey. Her research examined women’s safety-seeking and resilience processes in violent relationships, with a focus on the experiences of staying in and leaving the relationships and post-separation well-being.

Jessica Whitehead

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Jessica Whitehead holds a B.A. from the University of Waterloo’s Arts and Business Co-operative program with Joint Honours in Legal Studies and Sociology,  M.A. in Criminology and Criminal Justice Policy at the University of Guelph and an MSW from McGill University. Her M.A. research focused on police responses to incidents of intimate partner violence (IPV) that occur within same-sex relationships and compared them with occurrences between heterosexual partners. Jessica is currently expanding upon this research with Dr. Myrna Dawson and Tina Hotton. In addition to this, she is currently a practicing psychotherapist and manages a team of addictions counsellors.”

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