Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work


Sheila Sammon




The purpose of this research project is to examine the collaboration between child protection agencies and Violence Against Women services in Hamilton. Children's Aid Societies in Ontario are mandated to intervene with caregivers and children to ensure that children are protected from physical and/or emotional harm.

In 2000, the phrase 'child exposure to adult conflict' was added to Section 3 of the revised Ontario Risk Assessment Model and Eligibility Spectrum for Child Protection, to recognize the negative effects on children's well being when they witness violence between caregivers. In 2007, the Ontario government promoted a strengths based practice model. Collaboration between Children's Aid Societies and other service providers including Violence Against Women Services was identified as a desirable goal.

This qualitative research involved conversations with four Child Protection Services workers and four Violence Against Women workers. The purpose of this research was to gather the perceptions and experiences of workers from both sectors regarding relationships between workers, workers' perceptions about the collaboration, and workers' opinions about training.

The results suggests that contentious relationships that existed between workers in Child Protection Services and the Violence Against Women sector a decade ago for the most part still exist today. It is clear that both sectors are working towards the common goal of safety for abused women and their children, yet there is a history of mistrust embedded in complicated power relations that impedes collaboration between these sectors. Despite this, participants of the study have hope for a positive outcome as a result of collaboration.

Further research is required to evaluate new initiatives. Moreover, research that includes the experiences of women who experience violence will provide valuable insight into assessment of the collaboration and training curriculum. Existing training methods are not seen as beneficiaL Workers from both sectors want creative, insightful, and applicable training methods.

McMaster University Library

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