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Author: Katreena Scott, Linda Baker, Angelique Jenney, Jenna Lopez, Anna-Lee Straatman, Diamond Antwi-Mansah, Olivia Cullen, Karia Jones, Nicole Pietsch, Expert Working Group Members

Publisher: Centre for Research & Education on Violence Against Women & Children


Gender-based violence (GBV) is a significant problem in Canada that can have devastating impacts on individuals, families, and communities.

Canadians who are experiencing gender-based violence often seek, or are referred to, service providers with specialized knowledge to respond in ways that recognize adult and child survivors’ experiences and promote safety and change in those who have behaved abusively.

The framework presented here was developed collaboratively with GBV service providers across the country to articulate the often-unrecognized expertise of those providing this support. This framework can help health and social service professionals better recognize the need for and value of working with GBV service providers. The quality and availability of GBV services across the country can be enhanced through recognizing and documenting the core knowledge and skills of service providers responding to those experiencing and perpetrating violence. A common understanding of GBV services would mean more engagement of GBV specialist services and a workforce with the capacity to respond consistently.

This framework was not developed under the guidance of Indigenous leadership and therefore the application of the framework within Indigenous led services and service organizations may not be appropriate. We acknowledge that Indigenous individuals and communities across Canada may value GBV expertise in their own and different ways than how it has been captured in this framework. It is crucial, then, that this framework be considered alongside Indigenous led initiatives and projects in order to be of most value to the GBV sector and to all Canadians.

The sector’s capabilities and capacity can also grow through the documentation and sharing of the knowledge and skills required to do GBV work. Documenting what GBV service providers need to know, think, and be able to do requires a coordinated effort that brings together those working with adult survivors, child survivors, and those who have behaved abusively. These coordinated efforts may result in service improvements, education, training, and better policy. This framework has been developed as a starting point for moving toward these goals, and as a contribution to the recognition of the critical expertise of the GBV sector.


Citation: Scott, K., Baker, L., Jenney, A., Lopez, J. ,Straatman, A.L., Antwi-Mansah, D., Cullen, O., Jones, K., Pietsch,N., and Expert Working Group Members. (2022). Recognizing critical expertise: A knowledge and skills framework for intimate partner violence specialists. London, ON: Centre for Research & Education on
Violence Against Women and Children.