This collection of Learning Network resources is designed to synthesize and disseminate knowledge on topics related to Gender-Based Violence (GBV). These resources provide foundational GBV knowledge including commonly used language, important gaps and emerging issues, recent research, and important educational tools and resources.

All original materials produced by the Learning Network are open-access and can be re-used and re-distributed as long as there is proper recognition of the author and/or Learning Network.

Our Briefs discuss emerging and/or complex issues and summarize primary research findings in clear language.

Beneath the Red Umbrella: Comic Strips as Expressions of Solidarity with Sex Workers (2024)

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Sex workers face stigma and discrimination that contributes to experiences of gender-based violence and produces barriers to support-seeking for survivors of gender-based violence. This Brief shares work utilizing comic strips to dismantle myths and share accurate knowledge about sex work. Comics are offered as an effective means to tell a story about what sex work is, who does it, why they might do it, and the harms of stigmatization and criminalization.

Mothering in the Context of Intimate Partner Violence: Realities and Resilience (2023)

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This Brief examines the impacts of IPV on the survivor-mother and child relationship, the realities of mothering that survivor-mothers face, and considerations for service providers supporting survivor-mothers and their children.

Understanding the Extreme Intoxication Defence: A Brief by Elizabeth Sheehy (2022)

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Feminist lawyer Elizabeth Sheehy responds to some of the most frequently asked questions on the extreme intoxication defence. Her responses help to clarify this complex issue; highlight implications for women, women’s rights, and gender-based violence service providers; and suggest actions to assist in legal reform.

Sexual Violence (SV) Advocacy and Campus Communities: SV Campus Policies (2022)

Learning Network Brief 40

This Brief provides context for current sexual violence policies on post-secondary campuses and highlights the critical role of collective advocacy for bringing about change. It is a companion piece to the Learning Network 2022 Virtual Forum presented in partnership with Students for Consent Culture Canada: Reinventing Our Campuses: Creating Real Community Safety to Address Sexual Violence.

Policy Options on Non-Consensual Deepnudes and Sexual Deepfakes (2021)

Learning Network Brief 39

Briefing Note

This Brief shares information on non-consensual deepnudes and sexual deepfakes as gendered forms of sexual violence. It explores the impacts this violence has on survivors, and what Canadian policy can do to address it.

The Briefing Note offers a one-page summary of the Brief.


Understanding Resilience in Children Exposed to Intimate Partner Violence (2020)

Learning Network Brief 38

Not all children exposed to intimate partner violence (IPV) experience difficulties.  Understanding why some children do well and experience good health and wellbeing despite their exposure helps build a blueprint for supporting children and their families. This Brief provides an overview of what the current literature tells us about resilience in children exposed to IPV by examining key themes that have emerged from recent research, as well as several considerations for research and practice.

Supporting Survivors of Domestic Violence During COVID-19 Reopening (2020)

Learning Network Brief 37

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, gender-based violence advocates have warned that the pandemic may increase the prevalence of violence against women and children. The full extent of this increase may not emerge until reopening continues and survivors face fewer barriers to accessing these services. This Brief summarizes current research and advocacy on domestic violence against women and children in the context of COVID-19 reopening, as well as policy recommendations for addressing the needs of survivors and the organizations that support them.

Trafficking at the Intersections: Racism, Colonialism, Sexism, and Exploitation in Canada (2020)

Learning Network Brief 36

This Brief explores how human trafficking connects with broader systems of structural oppression, such as racism, colonialism, and heterosexism. It situates human trafficking within an historical and sociological context to examine how human trafficking lies at the intersection of these ongoing systems of violence.

Women with Disabilities & Housing (2018)

Learning Network Brief 35

This Learning Network Brief on Women with Disabilities and Housing is commissioned by DAWN-RAFH Canada and written by Doris Rajan.  It explores how systemic oppression and violence, such as violence that is the result of ableism or patriarchy, creates barriers to accessing services and finding accessible housing. It also provides strategies for change and housing design ideas from Indigenous, racialized, refugee women and women with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities.

Unlearning Islamophobia in anti-Violence Against Women Work (2018)

Learning Network Brief 34

This learning brief looks at Islamphobia and gendered Islamphobia in anti-Violence Against Women Work in Canada. Three examples of projects that are best practices for Muslim-led anti-VAW projects are provided.

Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres Using Technology to Better Support Survivors: Literature Review (2018)

Learning Network Brief 33

In this Learning Network Brief, Nicole Pietsch, a Coordinator of the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres (OCRCC), shares findings from the project 
Using Technology to Better Support Survivors: Innovation in Frontline Settings. This project advances understanding of technological tools that could be used in frontline outreach, crisis and counselling settings and increases the capacity to implement these tools with confidence.  This work represents an important innovation to the Sexual Assault Centre sector in Ontario communities.

Sibling Abuse as a Family Issue (2017)

Learning Network Brief 32

This learning brief explores family factors associated with sibling abuse, including the role of children as caregivers, favoritism, poor parental modeling and external stressors, and collusion.

Femicide of Older Women (2017)

Learning Network Brief 31

This learning brief examines femicide of women who are older. Dr. Myrna Dawson and Danielle Sutton at the University of Guelph examined the killing of 452 older women (55 yrs. & older) in Ontario over a 38-year period (1974 to 2012). The data were collected from a number of official and unofficial sources including death records kept by the Office of the Chief Coroner of Ontario, Crown Attorney files, court documents, and media coverage.

Sexual Femicide (2015)

Learning Network Brief 30

This learning brief defines and discusses examples of sexual femicide, including sexual femicide that takes place in armed conflict, that is committed by strangers, and that occurs in the context of hate crime or domestic violence. Sexual violence myths are discussed and dispelled, and recommendations for addressing the root causes of sexual femicide are provided.

Forms of Femicide (2015)

Learning Network Brief 29

This learning brief defines femicide and its various manifestations, including: intimate femicide, non-intimate femicide, murder of women and girls in the same of "honor", murder of women and girls because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, murder of Aboriginal women and girls because of their gender, female infanticide and gender-based sex-selective foeticide, genital mutilation related femicide, dowry-related femicide, organized crime related femicide, and the targeted killing of women in armed conflict.

Cyber Misogyny (2015)

Learning Network Brief 28

This learning brief examines cyber misogyny, or the various forms of gendered hatred, harassment, and abusive behaviour targeted at women and girls via the Internet. Manifestations and consequences of cyber misogyny are provided along with a discussion of the new opportunities to engage in harassment and abuse presented by the Internet and Canadian legal responses.

Sexual Harassment and Public Space (2015)

Learning Network Brief 27

This Brief explores how patterns of sexual harassment often reflect the cultural norms connected with the spaces or environments (school, work, public spaces) in which it occurs.  The analysis provides examples of how sexual harassment can work to define or re-assert gender, race, age or class hierarchies within spaces in harmful ways.

Barriers to Reporting Sexual Harassment (2015)

Learning Network Brief 26

This Brief discusses some of the barriers that make reporting sexual harassment difficult and for some, lead to more complex consequences.

Training Social Work Students in Domestic/Sexual Violence Work: Key findings from the literature. (2015)

Learning Network Brief 25

Several research studies have been conducted recently evaluating students' preparedness for working with victims and survivors of domestic violence, particularly in the field of social work.  Some key findings from these studies are summarized. This review includes publications from 2009 to 2015.  There were no Canadian studies identified for inclusion in this review. 

Engaging men in gender-based violence prevention: Review paper synopsis (2015)

Learning Network Brief 24

This Learning Brief offers a brief synopsis of a review conducted by the White Ribbon Campaign to assess the evaluation practices of prevention initiatives focusing on engaging men to end gender-based violence. Theoretical frameworks and challenges to evaluation are identified.

Domestic Violence Training for Physicians: Current Promising Practices (2015)

Learning Network Brief 23

This Learning Network brief offers a synopsis of findings reported in a recent review of randomized control trials that evaluated domestic violence training programs for physicians. Implications for future professional development for physicians on domestic violence are offered.

Learning From Women with Lived Experience (2015)

Learning Network Brief 22

This Learning Brief discusses the different contexts that impact a survivor’s experience of sexual violation and how listening to women with lived experience can help us learn how each woman who experiences sexual violence can be impacted differently including what supports or comforts helped them to survive.

Sexual Violence Prevention: Are we increasing safety or reinforcing rape culture? (2014)

Learning Network Brief 21

As the title suggests, this Brief questions whether some of our sexual violence prevention increases safety or reinforces rape culture. The first section describes “rape culture”, its harmful consequences, and its differential impact on various groups of women. The second section discusses how well-intended messages telling women what they can do to prevent being sexually assaulted inadvertently reinforces rape culture.  The final section raises the question of how to promote safety for girls and women while working towards transforming our culture to ensure women have the right to sexual integrity, equality and justice.

Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault (2014)

Learning Network Brief 20

This Learning Brief defines and describes Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault (DFSA). Specifically, the brief highlights the two types of DFSA (i.e., proactive and opportunistic); what is known about victims/survivors of DFSA; what drugs are used and the signs or symptoms of DFSA; and how to respond and support victims/survivors.

Doing the Work: Surfacing the Social Context of Sexual Violence in Therapeutic Settings (2014)

Learning Network Brief 19

Learning Network Brief addresses the challenge of integrating a systemic understanding of sexual violence in counselling/therapy with women.  The Brief includes statistics on this gendered crime and discusses what it means to define the social context of sexual violence and how a   counsellor or therapist can talk about this social context with survivors within a counselling setting.  Nicole Pietsch, the author, is the Coordinator for the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres.

Examples of Evaluated Social Marketing Campaigns addressing Woman Abuse: References and Brief Descriptions (2014)

Learning Network Brief 18

This Learning Brief summarizes a literature review identifying social marketing campaigns addressing woman abuse and any corresponding reports that outline the implementation, monitoring and/or evaluation of these campaigns.  A total of 13 campaigns from Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, and the United States were identified.  This Learning Brief provides descriptions of each campaign including any formative research, monitoring processes, and evaluations. 

Research, Monitoring, and Evaluating VAW Social Marketing Campaigns (2014)

Learning Network Brief 17

This Learning Brief outlines the different phases of researching, monitoring, and evaluating a VAW social marketing campaign.  The brief describes in detail the five basic questions that need to be considered: What will be researched, monitored, and evaluated?  Why the particular measurement is important?  How the measurements will be conducted?  When during the campaign will the measurements be conducted? and How much will the measurements cost?  This brief was adapted from Lee & Kotler (2011).  

Basic Steps for Developing a VAW Social Marketing Campaign (2014)

Learning Network Brief 16

This Learning Network Brief details steps to developing and implementing a social marketing campaign.  The steps are based on the work of Lee & Kotler (2008; 2011) and Castelino, Colla, & Boulet (2013).

Keeping Children & Mothers Safe and Engaging Men who use Abusive Behaviours: VAW and CAS Perspectives (2014)

Learning Network Brief 15

On September 19, 2013, the Learning Network hosted a forum Keeping Children and Mothers Safe and Engaging Men who use Abusive Behaviours: VAW and CAS Collaboration which brought together 144 professionals from nine regions across the province who represented the VAW, CAS, and government sectors.  The overall objectives of the forum were to understand VAW and CAS collaboration with a gender-based analysis, identify principles and practice strategies for engaging men who use abusive behaviours, identify risk factors and potential assessment tools for evaluating child risk in the context of domestic violence, and identifying promising practices in VAW and CAS collaboration.  The Learning Network team developed a survey for forum participants to gain an understanding of their perspectives on the status of VAW and CAS collaboration in their communities.  This Learning Network Brief provides an overview and detailed description of the survey results. 

The Neurobiology of Sexual Assault (2014)

Learning Network Brief 14

This Learning Brief describes the neurobiological response to sexual assault and the implications for frontline responders supporting victims/survivors.

Allostasis and Allostatic Load: Woman Abuse and Chronic Illness (2014)

Learning Network Brief 13

This Learning Brief describes the role that stress can play on long-term health, otherwise known as allostasis.  Allostasis is the adaptive response to stressful situations.  Stress hormones are released in our body to help us cope – a reaction typically referred to as the fight-or-flight response.  The inability to minimize or stop this bodily response to stress is referred to as allostatic load and can cause severe long-term health consequences.  A detailed description of allostasis and allostatic load are provided in the context of woman abuse.

Violence Against Women with DisAbilities and Deaf Women: An Overview (2013)

Learning Network Brief 12

Fran Odette & Doris Rajan (2013).  This paper discusses violence against women with disAbilities and Deaf women.  Topics include the myths and realities of violence against women with Disabilities and Deaf women; who perpetrates abuse and violence; types of violence experienced; barriers to reporting and accessing resources; and considerations for helping women with disAbilities who are experiencing violence.

Abelism -- A Form of Violence Against Women. Critical Reflections by Fran Odette (2013)

Learning Network Brief 11

Fran Odette (2013).  This Learning Brief names ableism as a form of violence against self-identified women with disAbilities and aims to increase awareness and understanding of its existence and impacts.

Status of Women Canada – Engaging Young People to Prevent Violence against Women on Post-Secondary Campuses: The Ontario Projects (2013)

Learning Network Brief 10

In 2012, Status of Women Canada provided 21 Canadian organizations with 2-year funding to promote equality and reduce gender-based violence on college and university campuses. All projects build partnerships and collaboration between campus and community stakeholders, identify factors associated with violence on campus, and develop responses to gender-based violence within their campus community. This brief describes the seven Ontario-based projects.

Bystander Sexual Violence Education programs for high school, college and university students (2013)

Learning Network Brief 9

This Learning Brief describes the bystander approach for preventing sexual violence including its effectiveness and promising strategies for future bystander education programs. The brief also highlights three promising programs and campaigns.

Engaging Men & Boys to End Violence Against Women: An Annotated Bibliography of Online Resources (2013)

Learning Network Brief 8

This Annotated Bibliography provides descriptions of more than 100 online resources related to the topic Engaging Men and Boys to end violence against women. Resource areas include background papers and technical reports; surveys; public policy and advocacy; intervention/prevention resources; evaluations of interventions; education and training resources; public education and social marketing campaigns; social media and other links.

Information Communication Technologies and Trafficking in Persons (2013)

Learning Network Brief 7

(March 2013) Marcie Campbell & Linda Baker.

Understanding Technology-Related Violence Against Women: Categories and Examples (2013)

Learning Network Brief 6

March 2013. Linda Baker, Marcie Campbell & Elsa Barreto.

Do Not Harm: A Human Rights Approach to Anti-Trafficking Policies and Interventions in Canada (2013)

Learning Network Brief 5

Annalee Lepp (March 2013)

As a founding member and current director of the Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women (GAATW) Canada, established in 1996, Dr. Lepp has devoted the last sixteen years to researching and monitoring continuities and shifts in Canadian anti-trafficking policies, practices, and interventions. Her presentation will explore the implications of applying the principle of “do no harm” and of centering human rights when developing responses to human trafficking. She will draw on both GAATW’s international work and GAATW Canada’s research on this question, including a major recent study on the anti-trafficking measures and initiatives implemented prior to and during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games.

NGOs and Human Trafficking: Tensions, Blind-Spots and Power (2013)

Learning Network Brief 4

Sue Wilson (March 2013)

This Learning Network Brief was written by Sue Wilson, Director of the Office for Systemic Justice for the Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Canada. In this Brief, Sue Wilson reflects on the importance of holding onto three key tensions in her work on issues of human trafficking: prosecution and protection, collaboration and mission, and, outreach and advocacy. She also explores blind spots created by stereotypes, assumptions, statistics, and labels and categories. Sue Wilson concludes her commentary with reflections on power and control.

Children in Danger of Domestic Homicide (2013)

Learning Network Brief 3

Peter Jaffe and Marcie Campbell (2013). Based on current research, the authors comment on harm to children connected to domestic homicide and their safety.

Exposure to Domestic Violence and it's Effect on Children's Brain Development and Functioning (2013)

Learning Network Brief 2

Marcie Campbell and Linda Baker (2013). A brief description of research studies suggesting that children's exposure to domestic violence can suppress a child's IQ, lead to premature aging, and influence the functioning of the brain's emotional systems.

It shouldn't be this hard. (2012)

Learning Network Brief 1

Commentary by Pamela Cross for Luke's Place Support and Resource Centre for Women and Children (December 2012).  Based on the extensive research report titled "It Shouldn't be this Hard: A gender based analysis of family law, family court and violence against women", Pamela Cross has prepared a 4 page commentary on the challenges women leaving abusive partners face when turning to the family law and family court.