Rural, Remote, & Northern Populations Research Team

The Rural, Remote, & Northern Populations Research Team responsibilities are to conduct research on risk assessment, risk management, and safety planning for those in rural, remote, and northern communities living with domestic violence.

The Rural, Remote, & Northern Populations Research Team is co-led by:

Dr. Myrna Dawson, University of Guelph

Pertice Moffitt, North Slave Research Centre/ Aurora Research Institute

Fact Sheets


Community Validation of a Safety Planning Tool for Women Living in Abusive Relationships

This presentation was created by Dr. Deborah Doherty, the Executive Director of Public Legal Education and Information Service of New Brunswick.  The presentation outlines the challenges of understanding and responding to domestic homicide risk factors in a rural context and explores the development of a safety plan tool for rural women living in abusive relationships including assessing the validity of the tool, examining key findings, and exploring proposed dissemination strategies.

Responding to women who experience intimate partner violence in rural municipalities across the prairies

The purpose of this study is to explore women’s experiences of intimate partner violence (IPV) and help-seeking in rural areas of the Prairie Provinces. There has been limited research that explores women’s experiences of IPV and their help-seeking in rural regions of Canada.  Existing studies do not provide a clear picture of the unique circumstances of rural women who experience IPV or of the obstacles and barriers they face when seeking safety for themselves and their children. This study addresses this knowledge gap through a qualitative examination of rural women that documents the ways in which rural culture and context impacts their experience of IPV, how these experiences interact with co-occurring challenges experienced by women, and the barriers and challenges that occur within this context as women seek help.

Domestic Violence in Rural Canada

This article sought to investigate whether or not there has been an increase in rates of domestic violence in rural Canada. Using a national survey the researchers examined the rates of domestic violence per 100 000 in rural and urban Canada between the years of 2006-2008. Overall, the results concluded that the rates of domestic violence were significantly higher in rural areas than urban. The results are further analyzed by both type of crime and type of perpetrator.  

Exploring the Links: Firearms, Family Violence, and Animal Abuse in Rural Communities

The purpose of this study was to examine the use of firearms in the context of domestic violence in rural areas of Canada, specifically the misuse of firearms, their use as instruments of control, as well as to gain an understanding of firearm victimization and service providers’ perceptions of the relationship between firearms and domestic violence. The research was conducted using surveys (391 participants), focus groups (58 participants) and semi-structured interviews (11 abused women). Overall, the results concluded that the normalization of firearms in rural homes has led to a decrease in firearms abuse.

Intimate Partner Violence in the Canadian Territorial North: Perspectives from a literature review and media watch

This report provides a synthesis of Northern Territorial literature on intimate partner violence, as well as a 3-year media watch of Canadian Territories.  The researchers searched for themes amongst the literature and media. The primary themes found included: alcohol and substance abuse, effects of residential schooling, housing inadequacies, gaps in the justice system, murders from IPV, emergency protections orders, and awareness campaigns. The researchers identified an elevated level of IPV in rural Canada, and stressed the importance of eliminating this abuse in order to promote healthy relationships and communities.

Rural and Northern Community Response to Intimate Partner Violence

The Community-University Research Alliance (CURA) project entitled Rural and Northern Community Response to Intimate Partner Violence aims to enhance the understanding of effective community response to intimate partner violence in rural and northern regions of the Canadian Prairie provinces and the Northwest Territories leading to policy change through actions of the community partners.  Eight university partners and two community sector partners (shelter and victim services providers & justice system) plan to identify the unique needs of victims living in rural and northern areas; identify the gaps that exist in meeting these needs; and determine how to create non-violent communities in these particular regions.

Intimate partner violence and COVID-19 in Rural, Remote, and Northern Canada: Relationship, Vulnerability and Risk 

The purpose of this commentary is to identify the unique impact of COVID-19 on intimate partner violence in rural, remote and northen communities.