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Experts gather at UNB to discuss strategies to end gender-based violence

Author: UNB Newsroom

Posted on Oct 9, 2019

Category: UNB Fredericton

More than 100 experts and researchers are gathering at the University of New Brunswick Fredericton to discuss the ways they can end gender-based violence.

On Wednesday, Oct. 9, and Thursday, Oct. 10, approximately 115 researchers, students, service providers and activists will participate in the conference, “Ending Gender Based Violence: Harnessing Research and Action for Social Change.” This conference, which is organized by the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre for Family Violence Research (MMFC), will take place at the Wu Conference Centre, UNB Fredericton.

The conference will include 40 paper presentations and a keynote talk by Dr. Paul Mazerolle, UNB president and vice-chancellor. On Wednesday at 7 p.m., Dr. Myrna Dawson, professor and Canada Research Chair in public policy in criminal justice at the University of Guelph, will deliver the Nels Anderson lecture. This lecture, sponsored by UNB Fredericton’s department of sociology, is free and open to the public.

“One interesting aspect of our conference is our panel presentation on parental alienation, which is happening on Wednesday morning from 9 a.m. until noon,” says Dr. Cathy Holtmann, director of the MMFC. “During this presentation, Drs. Linda Neilson, Joan Meier, Adrienne Barnett and Elizabeth Sheehy will collectively respond to growing concerns over the (mis)use of parental alienation claims in family law cases in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada.”

“Parental alienation is a very powerful tool that men use within the court system as a way to continue the cycle of control over their partners,” she says. “Not only do men’s claims of parental alienation make courts more skeptical of women and children’s abuse claims, but it also increases the rates that women lose custody. This can directly impact the safety and wellbeing of women and children.”

MMFC has been fostering collaborative action-oriented research for more than 25 years. This multidisciplinary conference will build on and contribute to the mission of MMFC and offer opportunities to highlight important established and emerging evidence related to violence.

“By bringing together researchers, professionals, service providers and policy makers from a wide range of disciplines and sectors, we hope to enhance the potential for the application of research for the benefit of social change related to the issue of violence,” says Dr. Holtmann.

Media contact: Angie Deveau

Photo credit: Denise Row Photography