Understanding

Description

326 pages
Contains Bibliography
$24.95
ISBN 0-8020-8506-7
DDC 362.88'082'0971

Year

2004

Contributor

Edited by Mary Lou Stirling et al
Reviewed by Margaret Conrad

Margaret Conrad is Canada Research Chair in Atlantic Canada Studies at
the University of New Brunswick. She is the author of Atlantic Canada: A
Region in the Making, and co-author of Intimate Relations: Family and
Community in Planter Nova Scotia, 1759–

Review

This collection of essays represents some of the highlights of a decade
of research conducted under the auspices of the Muriel McQueen Fergusson
Centre for Family Violence Research located on the Fredericton campus of
the University of New Brunswick. One of five such Canadian centres
established with private and public funding in the wake of the Montreal
Massacre of 1989, the MMFC has become well known for its
“community-based, action-oriented research” (CAR) partnerships that
bring together academics, community organizations, victims, and
potential victims of abuse to develop practical solutions to a wide
range of issues related to family violence. In their chapter on the
philosophy and structure of CAR, Sandra Byers and Deborah Harrison
underscore the challenges that such a research model imposes (among them
the difficulty of maintaining research teams, structural inequalities
among team members, and burnout), as well as the rewards (both
personally and in terms of policy successes) it brings.

While the research published here focuses primarily on New Brunswick,
it is rooted in the larger academic literature on family violence and
offers insights that have wider application. In addition to two chapters
that explore abuse in rural contexts, there are chapters on
confidentiality in transition houses, woman abuse in military families,
workplace responses to family violence, children and partner abuse in
New Brunswick law, immigrant women’s access to legal information, and
church- and school-based efforts to address violence issues. An engaging
feature of this book is the poems by Sheree Fitch that make a poignant
and pointed commentary on each chapter.

Overall, the essays in this volume are well written and accessible to
the educated reader. While the issue they address remains stubbornly
persistent (in their introduction to the volume, Maukje Miedema and
Nancy Nason-Clark note that in 2000 almost 100,000 people—80 percent
of whom were women—used the services of the 438 shelters in Canada),
this is good place to start for anyone interested in family violence and
in the Centre’s collaborative approach to public-policy research.

Citation

“Understanding,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed February 24, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/30298.