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Table of Contents for
Cruel but Not Unusual: Violence in Canadian Families, edited by Ramona Alaggia and Cathy Vine

Foreward | The Honourable Margaret Norrie McCain


Introduction—Cruel but Not Unusual: Violence in Canadian families | Ramona Alaggia and Cathy Vine

Section One
Violence and diversity: History, culture, and oppression

1. Systemic oppresion, violence, and healing in Aboriginal families and communities | Cyndy Baskin

2. Violence, protection, and empowerment in the lives of children and adults with disabilities | Richard Sobsey and Sonia A. Sobon

3. Is this violence? Recognizing, defining, and intervening in family violence in a francophone minority context | Ina Motoi

4. Domestic violence and child abuse: Issues for immigrant and refugee families | Ramona Alaggia and Sarah Maiter

5. Same-sex partner abuse: Challenges to the existing paradigms of intimate violence theory | J. Roy Gillis and Shaindl Diamond

Section Two
Children growing up with violence: Context and intervention

6. Children abused, neglected, and living with violence: An Overview | Cathy Vine, Nico Trocmé, and Judy Finlay

7. Child corporal punishment: Violence, law, and rights | Anne McGillivray and Joan E. Durrant

8. Children’s exposure to domestic violence | Jasmine Hayes, Nico Trocmé, and Angélique Jenney

9. Failure to protect: Child welfare interventions when men beat mothers | Susan Strega

10. Rendering children invisible: The forces at play during separation and divorce in the context of family violence | Rachel Birnbaum

Section Three
Abuse of women: Context, theory, and practice

11. Framing woman abuse: A structural perspective | Sarah Todd and Colleen Lundy

12. Identifying, assessing, and treating male perpetrators and abused women | Leslie M. Tutty

13. Escaping narratives of domination: Ideas for clinical practice with oppressed by relationship violence | Judith Myers Avis

Section Four
Abuse of older adults: Context, theory, and practice

14. The abuse and neglect of older adults in Canada | Lynn McDonald, April Collins, and Julie Dergal

15. Older people as objects, not subjects: Theory and practice in situations of elder abuse | Joan Harbison, Pam McKinley, and Donna Pettipas


Future directions: Focus for change | Ramona Alaggia and Cathy Vine



Contributors’ Bios

Ramona Alaggia is an assistant professor of social work at the University of Toronto where she teaches social work practice with children and their families. Funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, her research projects include exploring processes involved in disclosing child sexual abuse, the impact of various forms of justice on survivors of sexual violence, the effects of immigration on families, and violence in families. Her previous work in the field includes twenty years as a practitioner and clinical director in children’s mental health. She has been active in consultation to, and evaluation of, programs delivering services to victims of sexual abuse and battered women and their children.

Judith Myers Avis is Professor Emerita of couple and family therapy at the University of Guelph. In addition to clinical practice and consultation, she consults and teaches nationally and internationally. Her work focuses on gender, trauma, resilience, and healing in family relationships, integrating narrative, feminist, and systems perspectives. She has authored or co-authored a book and more than forty journal articles and book chapters. Her contributions have been recognized through awards from the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, the American Family Therapy Academy, the Toronto Hincks-Dellcrest Centre, and the 2003 Honorary Fellow distinction at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

Cyndy Baskin is an assistant professor in the School of Social Work at Ryerson University. Cyndy is of Mi’kmaq and Irish descent and has worked primarily within Toronto’s Aboriginal community for the past twenty years in the areas of community development, culture-based programming, healing, and training. Her work focuses on family violence interventions, restorative justice, Aboriginal ways of helping, and anti-colonial research and writing. She is also the author of two novels, The Invitation and Sage.

Rachel Birnbaum is an assistant professor, King’s University College, University of Western Ontario. She teaches clinical practice and research courses concerning children, individuals, and families as well as ethics and the law, family mediation, and collaboration between law and social work. Her research focus is on evaluation and outcome interventions in child and family issues related to separation and/or divorce. She has over twenty years of clinical practice experience advocating for children’s interests in separation and/or divorce matters before the court. At present, her research is on best practice approaches across Canada in child custody and access evaluations.

April A. Collins is a Ph.D. candidate in the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto. Her primary area of research and expertise is in the area of family intervention. Her research interests also include abuse of older people, models of service delivery for the seriously mentally ill, and first episode psychosis.

Julie Dergal is a Ph.D. candidate in the Faculty of Social Work and part of the Collaborative Program on Aging at the University of Toronto. Her research focus is gerontology and health. Her specific interests include caregiving for older people with dementia, quality of care in nursing homes, elder abuse, and homelessness among older adults.

Shaindl Diamond is a Ph.D. student in the Counselling Psychology Program at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto (OISE/UT). She received her undergraduate degree from Trent University in women’s studies and psychology and her M.A. from OISE/UT in counselling psychology. Her academic interests include lesbian/gay/bisexual/ transgender/queer psychology, multicultural psychology, critical psychology, anti-oppression and anti-racist education, feminist theory, and equity studies.

Joan E. Durrant is a child-clinical psychologist and an associate professor in the Department of Family Social Sciences at the University of Manitoba. Her research focuses on the psychological and cultural factors that contribute to parental use of corporal punishment, and on the history and implementation of the Swedish corporal punishment ban. She has published more than twenty peer-reviewed articles on physical punishment, as well as public education materials. She was the lead author of the Joint Statement on Physical Punishment of Children and Youth.

Judy Finlay is chief advocate, Office of Child and Family Service Advocacy in Ontario. Judy is a champion of children’s issues and an outspoken supporter of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. She works nationally and internationally as an advocate for children and youth, influencing legislation, policy, and practice. In Ontario, she worked for more than two decades in the areas of child welfare and children’s mental health. Her research interests include standards of care, community reintegration, institutional culture, peer violence, and youth voice.

J. Roy Gillis is an assistant professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto in the Department of Adult Education and Counseling Psychology. His research and teaching interests include the development of a counseling model for hate crime survivors, attitudes toward sexual orientation diversity and teaching about sexual diversity in the classroom, same sex partner abuse, sexual dysfunction in gay men, HIV prevention and safer sex fatigue, forensic psychology, and psychological assessment. He has published broadly in those fields in academic journals, and has presented his research to both community agencies and academic audiences. Prof. Gillis is the founding editor of the Canadian Online Journal of Queer Studies in Education.

Joan Harbison is an associate professor at the Maritime School of Social Work, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia. She emphasizes the use of critical theory in her teaching and research in the fields of health, aging, and the mistreatment of older people.

Jasmine Hayes is a planning specialist in the Office of Planning, Policy & Program Support at the DC Child & Family Services Agency (Washington, DC), whose research interests include domestic violence and its effects on children; mandatory reporting of domestic violence and current policy in child welfare; parental substance abuse; and cross-systems partnerships between child welfare, addictions treatment, and the courts. Clinical practice includes child welfare experience in Toronto (Canada) and Virginia (USA).

Angélique Jenney is the director of Family Violence Services at Child Development Institute in Toronto, Ontario. Angélique co-ordinates intervention groups for abused women and children exposed to domestic violence. She has developed a culturally responsive model for clients from various ethnic backgrounds and presents papers on intervention models at international conferences. As well, she works with the child welfare system and victim advocate groups in providing co-ordinated service responses in cases involving domestic violence.

Colleen Lundy is director of the School of Social Work at Carleton University. Her research, writing, and teaching have focused on male violence in women’s lives, women organizing against violence, and the practice in, and evaluation of, programs for men who are abusive. She has also researched and published in the area of alcohol and drug dependence in women, and the impact on women of economic transformation in Cuba and Russia. She is the author of Social work and social justice: A structural approach to practice.

Sarah Maiter is an associate professor in the Faculty of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University. Her research focuses on cross-cultural/racial issues and child maltreatment with the aim of improving interventions for minority families affected by child maltreatment. Dr. Maiter is currently working on several funded research projects relating to child maltreatment and to minority issues. She is a reviewer for a number of social work journals and presently serves on the board of directors of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children.

Lynn McDonald is the director of the Institute for Human Development, Life Course and Aging, and professor in the Faculty of Social Work, at the University of Toronto. Her primary area of research and expertise is the older worker and retirement. Her research interests also include elder abuse, older homeless adults, and women and poverty.

Anne McGillivray is professor of law at the University of Manitoba and author of some forty-five publications.The focus of her work is the child, including rights, sexual and physical abuse, corporal punishment, the child as witness, and the Aboriginal child. She has also written on intimate violence, criminal law, and protection orders. Her book Black eyes all of the time: Intimate violence, aboriginal women and the justice system (with Brenda Comaskey) investigates the experience of abuse in childhood and adulthood. She is currently investigating corporal punishment in Indian residential schools and child sexual abuse from a rights perspective.

Pamela McKinley is currently employed by the Nova Scotia Department of Health as a psychiatric social worker. For a number of years her practice has focused on working with older adults in situations of mistreatment and neglect. In particular, she has been involved in programs offering group and peer support to this population.

Ina Motoi holds a teaching appointment in the Département de développement humain et social de l’Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT). She has studied in the areas of sexology, philosophy, and social work. For fifteen years she was director of SOS Femmes, an emergency provincial crisis-line for francophone women in Ontario. She also participated in the foundation of French-speaking services for women in southern Ontario through the Réseau des femmes du Sud de l’Ontario (1985–2003).Two of these programs, the Institute of Leadership for Women and Dialogue, a program of community mediation at Glendon College, are carrying on the vision of social and community leadership.

Donna Pettipas holds a certificate in gerontology from Mount Saint Vincent University and a master’s degree in social work from Dalhousie University. For many years Donna has worked in a variety of settings and circumstances which have given her experience in working with older citizens in situations of mistreatment or neglect. She is currently employed by the Nova Scotia Department of Health as an adult protection worker. Richard Sobsey is a professor of educational psychology and director of the J.P. Das Developmental Disabilities Centre at the University of Alberta, where he also serves as an adjunct professor at the John Dossetor Health Ethics Centre. He has worked with children and adults with disabilities, and their families, since 1968. His primary research interests are understanding violence against people with disabilities and healthy adjustments of families with children with severe disabilities. He is also the father of two teenagers, including one with severe and multiple disabilities.

Sonia A. Sobon is a Ph.D. student at the University of Alberta, Department of Educational Psychology, in the school psychology program. Over the past four years, she has taught at the University of Alberta in the Department of Educational Psychology and the Faculty of Extension. Sonia’s interests and praxis focus on identifying intrapersonal, interpersonal, and societal factors that challenge learners across the lifespan to reach their full learning potential. Her research contributions include reanalysis of a national U.S. database focused on reported cases of maltreatment of children with disabilities and children in substance-abusing families. Sonia’s doctoral research explores attachment theory as it pertains to adolescents who are at risk due to early life trauma.

Susan Strega is an assistant professor in the School of Social Work, University of Victoria. She has worked in most areas of social work, including child protection, and is a long-time feminist activist. Her research interests include child welfare, sex work, violence against women, anti-oppressive practice, and research methodologies. She is the co-editor, with Leslie Brown, of Research as resistance: Critical, indigenous and anti-oppressive approaches (Canadian Scholars Press).

Sarah Todd is an assistant professor at Carleton University’s School of Social Work. She teaches in the area of HIV/AIDS sexuality, community development, and social change. In the past she has worked with hospital-based emergency departments to establish more effective and supportive screening programs for women experiencing domestic violence.

Nico Trocmé is the Philip Fisher Chair in Social Work and director, Centre for Research on Children and Families, at McGill University, School of Social Work. Professor Trocmé’s research focuses on the epidemiology of child maltreatment and on measuring child welfare service outcomes.

Leslie Tutty is a professor in the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Calgary, teaching courses in clinical social work methods and research. Both her research and direct practice activities have focused on prevention and interventions in family violence, including evaluations of shelters and support groups for abused women, treatment for adult and child victims of sexual abuse and groups for men who abuse partners. Since 1999 she has been the academic research coordinator of resolve Alberta, part of a tri-provincial research institute on family violence and abuse. Cathy Vine is the executive director of Voices for Children in Toronto, Ontario. Cathy has dedicated her professional work to strengthening the wellbeing, rights, and status of children. Currently, she informs and engages policy makers, social service agencies, the public, and the media about children’s issues, advocating for the improvement of children’s well-being across Ontario. Previously, Cathy worked extensively with children, youth, and adults affected by child abuse and intimate violence. She conducted research, developed innovative support and clinical services, and taught part-time at the School of Social Work, Ryerson University. Cathy co-wrote Gardens of shame: The tragedy of Martin Kruze and the sexual abuse at Maple Leaf Gardens.