About the Project

University logos of Saint Mary's, University of Guelph, University of Manitoba, University of New Brunswick and GenderNet Plus

Project Summary

Project Title: "Violence against Women Migrants and Refugees: Analysing Causes and Effective Policy Responses”

The Canadian Team: Dr. Evangelia Tastsoglou (PI,Saint Mary's University); Dr. Myrna Dawson (U of Guelph; Dr. Catherine Holtman (U. of New Brunswick); and Dr. Lori Wilkinson (U of Manitoba).

Duration: 3 years

Canadian Funding Agency: CIHR (Gender-Net Plus Joint Call on Gender and UN Sustainable Development Goals)

Project Information

Violence Against Women Migrants and Refugees aims at a systematic and comparative analysis of the ways in which (a) various policy frameworks, social, and cultural attitudes to migration, as well as the migration process itself, combine to increase vulnerabilities to GBV and (b) government, NGOs, or regional and international policy-making institutions could help to mitigate risks, protect women, and provide better services to survivors.

This project will take an intersectional approach to understand GBV in migration, analysing the ways in which discrimination and inequalities based on gender, race, nationality, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, and other identities interact to make certain women more vulnerable to GBV and less able to access supports and services for survivors compared to other groups. We will consider all categories of migrants, including documented and undocumented migrants, those who have claimed asylum and are awaiting a decision, and those who have been recognised as refugees and granted international protection.

This research program aims to bring new knowledge and analysis to NGOs and policy makers involved in migration and refugee issues and those working in GBV support and prevention. The comparative nature of this research, looking at different national contexts and political cultures, will help point out ways in which migrant and refugee women become vulnerable to GBV as well as positive examples of policies, practices, and programs that reduce women’s vulnerabilities and programs that offer support to survivors of GBV. By paying attention to the practices of migrant women themselves, this project will also highlight the sometimes, invisible work of these women and recommend ways in which their activities could be better supported.

Core Research Activities

This project will employ secondary and primary research methods. In order to identify knowledge gaps, we will conduct a background literature review, including scholarly literature relating to gender and migration, relevant grey literature, existing statistical data, and policy analysis. We will map migrant and refugee women’s associations to identify organizations working to engage in the prevention of GBV and to provide support to survivors.

The core research activities will be qualitative interviews. We will conduct semi-structured interviews with key informants, such as policy makers and settlement service providers to understand their experiences and opinions of working with migrant and refugee women who have experienced GBV, how this might be prevented, and how services could be improved. We will be interviewing migrant and refugee women across Canada, with the aim of exploring the ways in which they understand GBV and how they respond –namely gathering first-person narratives that may highlight their agency and the strategies they use to prevent GBV and how/where they access support after experiencing violence.


Contact us

CIHR Funded Research Project
Mailing address:
923 Robie Street
Halifax, NS, Canada B3H 3C3