SGS Celebrates Graduate Student Winners of Federal Tri-Council Awards – Mary Aspinall

Author: Andrea

Posted on Jul 7, 2021

Category: Student Stories , Money Matters

Profile of Mary Aspinall

Award Received: SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship

Awarded for the project: Gendered practices in specialized domestic violence courts: A study of facilitators perspectives on intimate partner violence treatment programs in Canada

Faculty: Arts

Department: Sociology

Project supervised by: Dr. Carmen Gill

Victimization is criminalized when many women are prosecuted for intimate partner violence (IPV) as a result of objective and incident-focused practices of the judicial system. Research strongly suggests a woman’s use of violence is often in self-defence or retaliation against abuse already being perpetrated against them. However, gender-neutral practices subject both men and women to the same legal procedures, including referrals to attend IPV treatment programs.

My research concentrates on the use of such programs. Existing studies focusing on their effectiveness have primarily concentrated on treatment directed towards men. There is little attention to courses offered to women, and no work yet comparing the two.

I am a feminist researcher and former victim services worker specializing in IPV cases. Through surveying and interviewing facilitators, I have found that content and expectations of IPV treatment programs across Canada share many similarities regardless of the gender of their participants. This means that many female victims of abuse are attending programs designed to work with perpetrators. My research draws attention to the gendered inequalities present in the judicial system’s treatment of IPV, the limited ability to support the needs of arrested women, and their resulting marginalization.