September 25, 2019

YELLOWKNIFE, NT – In an effort to help reduce domestic homicides, a national research team with an NWT connection is embarking on a plan to interview 200 survivors of severe domestic violence, as well as family members and friends who have lost someone to domestic homicide between 2006 and 2016, for which there are no current or pending court or coroner investigations.

Dr. Pertice Moffitt, Aurora Research Institute’s Manager of Health Research Programs, is a co-investigator and Pan-Territorial Coordinator of the Canadian Domestic Homicide Prevention Initiative for Vulnerable Populations (CDHPIVP; Annamieke Mulders, Director of Programs, Research and Advocacy with the Status of Women Council in the NWT, and Lyda Fuller, Executive Director of the YWCA NWT, are Supporters of this project. The study is focused on one or more of the four groups – Indigenous Peoples; immigrants and/or refugees; people living in rural, remote, and/or northern communities; and children exposed to domestic violence or parents/caregivers of children killed in the context of domestic violence.

The national research team funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council’s Partnership Development Grant program – led by University of Guelph sociology professor Dr. Myrna Dawson and Western University education professor Dr. Peter Jaffe – is trying to reduce these deaths through research, broader public awareness, and professional training. 

Family violence accounts for 26 percent of all violent crimes in Canada (Burczycka & Conroy, 2018). One of the most common forms of family violence is domestic violence, which is a gendered crime in Canada.  Women account for about 80 percent of victims of domestic violence and domestic homicide. In 2017, 84 percent of domestic homicide victims were female. The rate of domestic homicide was five times greater for females than for males (Beattie, David & Roy, 2018). These domestic homicides appear preventable and predictable with hindsight because the vast majority are preceded by warning signs seen by friends, family, co-workers and community professionals such as police and social service providers.

While researchers have recently identified risk factors associated with domestic violence and homicide, much less is known about risk factors for vulnerable populations who experience higher rates of violent victimization. Women are at a higher risk of domestic violence, but the threat is even greater for Indigenous women (First Nations, Métis, and Inuit), those living in rural/remote or northern areas of the country, immigrant and refugee women and children exposed to domestic violence. These groups also experience various barriers that can make it more difficult for them to report domestic violence and access necessary services.

The CDHPIVP research-community partnership involves experts from more than 60 community service organizations, government departments and universities who have come together to address these issues and hopes to better understand underlying factors contributing to domestic homicide within these at-risk groups.

Since the CDHPIVP inception in 2015, there has been tremendous efforts working with provincial and territorial coroners and medical examiners to develop a national data base (see attached infographics for domestic homicide data from 2010 to 2018 based on court and media data). More than three hundred interviews have been conducted with service providers in different justice and community agencies across the country to identify the barriers to effective risk assessment, safety planning and risk management in domestic violence cases. This research study will offer a perspective on behalf of victims and survivors of domestic violence. 

Participants for the study must be at least 18 years and willing to have their interview audio-recorded. People can share their story with our team by phone, video conference, or in-person at the Aurora Research Institute’s North Slave Research Centre or at a CDHPIVP partner agency. If needed, translation services are available, and travel and/or childcare costs will be covered. Participants will receive a $50 honorarium for sharing their story. All interviews are confidential and the team will work with participants to protect their privacy. The study has been approved by the University of Guelph and Western University Research Ethics Boards.


“This is important research for northerners; together we will find solutions and responses that fit our context and work to prevent violence.”

  • Dr. Pertice Moffitt, Manager and Instructor, Health Research Programs, Aurora College/Aurora Research Institute

“This research is crucial because it can save lives through enhanced policies and services in community responses to domestic violence.”

  • Dr. Myrna Dawson, Sociology Professor and Director of the Centre for the Study of Social and Legal Responses to Violence, University of Guelph

“Nationwide, collaborative efforts will allow us to identify unique, individual and community-level risk factors for violence for particular vulnerable populations. Assessing and managing risk for these and other groups is crucial to preventing deaths that occur in the context of domestic violence.”

  • Dr. Peter Jaffe, Education Professor and Director of Centre for Research & Education on Violence Against Women & Children, Western University

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Aurora Research Institute (ARI) is the research division of Aurora College.  The mandate of ARI is to improve the quality of life for residents of the Northwest Territories by applying scientific, technological and Indigenous knowledge to solve northern problems and advance social and economic goals. To achieve this mandate ARI conducts, supports, and licenses research throughout the NWT.  ARI is headquartered in Inuvik, and has regional research centres in Inuvik, Yellowknife and Fort Smith. Website:

For more information, please contact:
Jayne Murray                                                                                                    
Manager, Communications & College Relations 
Aurora College                                                                                 
Phone: 867-872-7021                                                                     

Dr. Pertice Moffitt
Manager/Instructor, Health Research Programs
Aurora Research Institute
Aurora College
Phone: 867-920-3052

or email Julie Poon at  or Anna-Lee Straatman at