BSW STUdents Conducting Research for the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre for Family Violence Research

Mia Stewart, Darian Curtis, Libby, Howatt, and Daryan Dort

Four Bachelor of Social Work students are conducting an environmental scan and a literature review for the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre for Family Violence Research (MMFC).


Mia Stewart, Darian Curtis, Libby Howatt, and Daryan Dort were placed with the MMFC for their 250-hour social action placement this semester. With the MMFC, the BSW students are researching the experiences of boys and men with violence, whether as perpetrators, survivors, or both, with a focus on gender-based violence and family violence.


The research will assist in developing effective interventions and addressing the social issue. The STUdents are using their critical social work education to identify the root structural factors which cause and perpetuate family and gender-based violence while considering the experiences of men who perpetrate domestic/intimate partner violence and the experiences of men who are victims of such violence. These experiences are often marginalized by society, their service needs are frequently overlooked, and there is a lack of resources to help men who act violently to change their attitudes and behaviours.


"Our research challenges stereotypes and addresses an often overlooked aspect of gender-related issues," said Howatt.


"By researching this topic, we aim to improve understanding within the STU community and society. We hope that our work will encourage open conversations and create a more supportive environment for everyone regardless of gender."


The STUdents are conducting an environmental scan for the MMFC to identify researchers in Atlantic Canada working on related projects, as well as local practitioners and organizations that provide violence-related supports and services for men. During their time at the MMFC, the BSW students will also conduct a literature review to enhance the MMFC's understanding of the social issue and determine gaps in literature that may warrant further exploration.


"Through the literature review, we will be able to get a good idea about why these barriers and gaps are problematic for men and what can be done to try to remove the barriers," said Dort.


"As a social work student, I have been inspired to engage in research on men and violence due to my deep commitment to challenge societal norms and advocate for marginalized voices," said Howatt.


"This research project has fueled my passion for contributing to understanding gender-related issues within the social work field."


Stewart said she hopes this work can inform future action-oriented research projects, facilitate the development of evidence-based interventions and support systems, and shape effective policy that addresses the social issue.


School of Social Work at STU


The Bachelor of Social Work degree provides graduates with the theoretical knowledge and skills to work with individuals, families, and communities. A balance of general liberal arts education in the first two years, followed by a professional social work education in the final two years, through both courses and practical field placements, provides the knowledge and skills for a generalist social work practice.


"It has been a really unique experience to work closely with a cohort of my peers and to build strong relationships with faculty members," said Stewart.


Curtis noted that due to the program's structural approach to social work, he has gained a better understanding of how the broader societal structures contribute to the societal issues that an individual may face.


"The BSW program at STU has been a very rewarding experience thus far. I have developed critical thinking skills to help me understand the roles of privilege and oppression and how they influence society," said Curtis.


"I am certain that the BSW program at STU will continue to provide me with the tools, perspectives and self-awareness needed to make a meaningful impact in the field of social work," said Howatt.