Family Violence Initiative



Raising Awareness in Broader Community

Program name:

Rebuilding from Resilience


CIET Canada (Community Information, Empowerment & Transparency)


Reserves and Women's shelters across Canada

Target Group:


Contact Name:

Bev Shea or Neil Anderson





Program Overview

The program was started in 2006 and has been ongoing since that time. Funding was approved for a further 5 year study. An early concern was to identify who in each community has responsibility for authorizing the study, and in whom the Project vests ownership and control of produced data. Shelter Executive Directors and the Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC) pointed out in the design process that in some cases, generic deference to Chief and Council is not appropriate for issues of domestic violence. Consequently, the project made data-sharing agreements with whomever the shelter decided was the most appropriate. In several cases, this is indeed the Chief and Council. In other cases, it is the shelter.

Program Description
Goals & Objectives:

To build partnerships with communities leading to the development and testing of culturally appropriate protocols to create and assess evidence-based community-led interventions that reduce violence and abuse.

Traditional/Indigenous ways:

These are community-specific so that Elders are closely involved in some but not in others, depending on the communities' needs. Elders have provided support for the project when concerns were raised because of the questionnaire (given the sensitivity of the research area). Some interventions may be non-western, and include traditional components but this is determined by each community.

Components of program:

The program seeks to build up partnerships of community based researchers, Aboriginal Women's Shelter Executive Directors and other stakeholders like the Native Women's Association of Canada. Through this partnering of organizations, the program's goal is to connect communities across Canada and enable them to share knowledge and resources to help their respective communities. The program is community-specific resulting in activities and practices that will differ from community to community. This flexibility allows for communities to freely utilize traditional healing and Indigenous practices, western healing methods and practices or a mixture of both.

Services/How they work:

Services are provided on site in the communities participating in the program.


Canadian Institute of Health Research.

Relationships and Stakeholders
Involvement of Target Groups:

Communities, through the Executive Directors and community-based researchers, are heavily engaged in questionnaire development, and all other aspects of research. The Executive Directors work with the communities as part of the research processes. The communities are then able to develop their own interventions (that they have identified as being needed in their particular communities and for their own circumstances) and test these interventions. In this way, the communities are establishing baseline data.


The Project has built partnerships and has formal data-sharing agreements with 12 women's shelters funded by the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.

Other relationships:

The Project has a partnering arrangement that facilitates, develops and tests culturally-appropriate methods that characterize resilience to protect against domestic violence among Aboriginal people.

Details of Program Evaluation

No evaluation has been completed.

Highlights of Evaluation Findings:


Program Outcomes
Measures of Success:

Success is measured by the in-depth and active involvement of the communities and their ability to implement the interventions that have been designed. Capacity-building will also be a measurement of success – communities are engaged in developing research, attending training sessions, and learning about the different aspects and phases of research.


The project developed, and is currently testing, culturally-appropriate tools and protocols to formulate evidence-based community-led interventions that reduce domestic violence in Aboriginal communities.


Start-up has been challenging and took longer than first anticipated. The idea of research and what it entails was difficult to articulate to those who are so "hands-on" in their work; who would take leadership was problematic, but eventually it was the communities who did so. There was a shift from academic to the community and once it was resolved, movement forward was initiated. Procuring ethics approval from the Research Ethics Board of the University of Ottawa (since several principle and/or co-investigators are closely affiliated with the University of Ottawa) was problematic, mostly because of epistemological differences.

Things to Know to Replicate
Replication Advice:

The program is considered replicable. The steering committee comprising of the women's shelter Executive Directors is a centralizing pivot of the project, allowing for site-specific protocols, and input into instrument design, interventions and skills development. The engagement of researchers and other stakeholders on a community-to-community basis allows them to apply their professional commitment and skills. At the same time, it reduces the "project politics", placing the interests of the participating communities in the forefront. The consistent accompaniment and guidance from the Elders continues as the project enters its next phase. Project administrators expect site-to-site differences that will be informative, but the overall model is probably reproducible.


The high level of interest and participation by the shelter Executive Directors and the two Elders have resulted in tools and protocols that are appropriate to the cultures in which they will be applied. Training in the local development and application of these tools has so far been successful.