Our Research

About Our Research

We are committed to supporting research that leads to positive results. Our work seeks to understand the causes of violence and map out effective strategies to prevent and alleviate that violence and its effects. With offices in Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, RESOLVE creates partnerships among service agencies, government departments and universities across the prairie provinces.

Our research areas include:


  • Supporting Mothers Affected by Intimate Partner Violence
  • Mothering in the Context of Family Violence
  • Shelters and Counselling Services for Abused Women and Children
  • Childhood Sexual Abuse and Sexual Assault
  • Program Research and Evaluation
  • Shelter Services
  • Criminal Justice
  • Youth Exploited Through Prostitution
  • Dating Violence
  • The Abuse of Older Adults
  • The Treatment of Offenders
  • Supervised Visitation Programs
  • Legislation to Address Women Abuse and Children Exposed to Family Violence

Healing Circles: Indigenous Mothers & Children Healing from Intimate Partner Violence

Intimate partner violence (IPV) and the exposure of children to IPV are serious societal concerns. Notably, Indigenous women in Canada are four times more likely to experience IPV than non-Indigenous women. These inequities among Indigenous women and children need to be understood within a broad context of Canadian colonization and the intergenerational effects of the collective traumas experienced by previous generations of families and communities. Our goal is to conduct a feasibility study of an evidence-based intervention designed specifically to meet the needs of Indigenous mothers and their children who have experienced IPV using a two-eyed seeing approach. This study is currently on hold due to COVID physical distancing restrictions.

Principal Investigator: Caroline Piotrowski from the University of Manitoba

Co-Principal Investigator: Nicole Letourneau

Community Partner: Discovery House Family Violence Prevention Society

Read the project newsletter here

Attachment and Child Health (ATTACH) Program

The stress of domestic violence may make it more difficult for abused mothers to respond sensitively to their infants. In turn, this may interfere with the development of infants’ secure attachment to their mothers—essential for healthy child development. Healthy attachments in relationships may also prevent intergenerational transfer of family violence exposures. Secure attachment is influenced by parental Reflective Function (RF), i.e., parents’ capacity to understand their own and their children’s thoughts and feelings. Few RF parenting support interventions exist, thus Drs. Nicole Letourneau and Martha Hart co-created, ATTACH™ to fill this gap. Examining whether ATTACH™ can improve abused mothers’ RF, mother-child interaction quality and attachment, as well as child development has been a goal. Our data to date show positive impacts across the board (see Letourneau et al., 2020; Anis et al., 2020). Now our team is focused on scaling and spreading ATTACH™ across Canada. We are also interested in seeing if ATTACH™ can reduce inflammation in children, via immune cell gene expression and DNA methylation. We are engaging with parents, health and social service professionals and agency leaders to test ATTACH™ and have developed an online training platform for ATTACH™ facilitators. We are also working to create a secure online application to provide ATTACH™ to parents, made essential since COVID-19 and health protocols that necessitate physical distancing. ATTACH™ is poised to make an important, positive impact in the lives of many mothers and their children who have fled domestic violence.

Principal Investigator: Nicole Letourneau

Click here to view the ATTACH Program website.

Click below for more information and to see a list of our many partners.


Impacts of Peer Support for Women Affected by Domestic Violence

Women who have experienced domestic violence and who struggle with symptoms of depression and lowered self-esteem can benefit from group-based interventions. Peer support groups may address and reduce negative impacts of domestic violence and coercive control on self-reported wellness, coping with stress and family conflict and perceptions of social support. We conducted a one-group, pretest-posttest quasi-experimental study to evaluate the effectiveness of Growth Circle, a 14-week peer support group that was offered at Sagesse Domestic Violence Prevention Society in Calgary, Alberta. A convenience sample of 97 women 18 years and older who experienced domestic violence was recruited from all programs running at Sagesse and from partner agencies across Calgary. Hair cortisol samples were collected prior to program enrollment and following completion of the program to determine stress hormone levels. Participants’ self-reported levels of coping, perceived stress, social support from a romantic partner or primary person who provides social support, and participant wellness and positive alliance between participants, facilitators, and other group members were also assessed during these timepoints. Results will be published soon.

Principal Investigator: Nicole Letourneau

Co-Principal Investigators: Carrie McManus & Andrea Silverstone, Sagesse Domestic Violence Prevention Society

Community Partner: Sagesse Domestic Violence Prevention Society

Examining the Nature & Context of Intimate Partner Violence in the 2SLGBTQ+ Community

This project will examine the nature and context of intimate partner violence within the 2SLGBTQ+ community across the Prairie Provinces. In doing so, this research aims to garner a comprehensive understanding of the service responses toward the issue and the possible barriers that might exist in relation to accessing these services. To date, most intimate partner violence research has focused on the experiences of women in heterosexual relationships. Consequently, there is a scarcity of research examining experiences of intimate partner violence within the 2SLGBTQ+ community, particularly within rural, remote, and northern locations. Existing research does not provide a clear picture of the context, severity, and consequences of intimate partner violence against 2SLGBTQ+ persons making it difficult to develop appropriate services to meet the needs of this population.

The study will address this gap through a mixed method (qualitative and quantitative) examination of 2SLGBTQ+ experiences, including the nature, severity, context, and consequences of intimate partner violence incidents, the experience of help-seeking, and gaps and barriers experienced by 2SLGBTQ+ persons who do seek help. RESOLVE is excited to work with our community partners: Rainbow Resource Centre (Manitoba), OUTSaskatoon (Saskatchewan), and Sagesse (Alberta), and our academic partners (Dr. Nicole Letourneau, University of Calgary; Dr. Karen Wood, University of Saskatchewan; Dr. Kendra Nixon, Dr. Janice Ristock, and Dr. Tracey Peter, University of Manitoba). Renée Hoffart, a research associate with RESOLVE Manitoba, will coordinate the project.

Previous Research Days

Click here to view the webinar

Due to COVID-19 concerns, the University of Manitoba this year could not hold an in-person event but the full video-recording of the webinar can be viewed here.

Information about this event:

The RESOLVE Network and Circling Buffalo Inc. presented the Responding to Gender-Based Violence Across the Prairies Webinar to acknowledge November as being Domestic Violence Awareness month (Manitoba), Family Violence Prevention month (Alberta) and to raise awareness of Saskatchewan Violence Prevention Week (SVPW) held from November 30-December 6, 2020.

Guest Speakers included:

Dr. Erin Whitmore (Ending Violence Association of Canada) & Dr. Anna Lise Turnbull (Anova) will present their report titled “Pandemic Meets Pandemic: Understanding the Impacts of COVID-19 on Gender-Based Violence Services and Survivors in Canada”.

Elder Mae Louise Campbell, Laurie Mackenzie (Great White Owl Woman), and Kim Trossel will be presenting on the sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of Indigenous women and girls and the Clan Mothers’ Healing Village project. 

Click here to view 2019's Research Day Newsletter.

Click here to view 2019's Research Day Program.

Click here to view the Aboriginal Framework Awo Taan Manual.

Click here to view the TRC Calls to Action.

RESOLVE Research Award Winners



Thank you to all the funding agencies that have supported us and our research.

Prairieaction Foundation, a Prairie based organization, seeks to find solutions to violence and abuse by raising funds to sustain:

  • Research and Education for Solutions to end Violence and Abuse (RESOLVE) network among seven prairie-based universities and their communities
  • The Community, Action, Research & Education (CARE) Grants Program
  • Education and awareness programs to transfer knowledge garnered through research results from RESOLVE and the CARE Grants Program

RESOLVE Alberta would like to thank The Calgary Foundation for their generous donation enabling us to developing our last website.

RESOLVE Alberta would like to thank Crime Prevention Partners for their three years of funding support, which provided the infrastructure funding to enable RESOLVE'S three offices in the Prairie Provinces to form and begin operations.

RESOLVE Alberta would like to thank Dean Stephen J. Randall and the Faculty of Social Sciences for their support in providing office space and financial support for the first five years of our work.

RESOLVE Alberta would like to thank Dean Gayla Rogers and the Faculty of Social Work for their support in providing office space for RESOLVE Alberta research associates until 2012.

RESOLVE Alberta would like to thank Dean Dianne Tapp and the Faculty of Nursing for providing office space and other support to RESOLVE Alberta research associates between 2012-2015.

RESOLVE Alberta would like to thank the Owerko Centre for providing office space and other support to RESOLVE Alberta research associates after 2015.


  • Accelerating Innovation
  • Alberta Centre for Child and Family Research 
  • Alberta Family Wellness Initiative 
  • Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research
  • Alberta Law Foundation
  • Alberta Ministry of Children's Services
  • Alberta Office for the Prevention of Family Violence
  • Calgary Foundation
  • Calgary Match Solutions
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research
  • Family and Community Support Services
  • National Crime Prevention Council
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
  • Status of Women Canada
  • The United Way of Calgary and Area