Faculty & Staff

Kendra Nixon 
Associate Professor

Faculty of Social Work
University of Manitoba
500C Tier Building
Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2

Phone: (204) 474-9292
Fax: (204) 474-7594
E-mail: Kendra.Nixon@umanitoba.ca

Education:
2008 - Ph.D., Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary
2001 - M.S.W., University of Calgary
1998 - B.S.W., King’s College
1995 - Certificate in Criminology., University of Toronto
1992 - B.A., University of Western Ontario

Areas of Specialization:
• Violence Against Women;
• Mothering in the Context of Intimate Partner Violence;
• Children’s Exposure to Intimate Partner Violence;
• Social and Family Policy;
• Child Protection;
• Feminist Social Work;
• Qualitative Research Methods.

Research:
Violence against women, intimate partner violence, mothering in the context of intimate partner violence, child protection, social welfare, and social and family policy.

Beyond Searching for Deficits: A Qualitative Study Examining the Protective Strategies of Urban Abused Mothers
(Primary Investigator)

The study is an in-depth examination of abused mothers’ protective strategies, as few studies have explored the various ways in which abused mothers protect their children from an abusive spouse or buffer their children from the potential negative impact of witnessing violence in the home. Nine women participated in qualitative interviews and were recruited from a women’s centre in the North End, Winnipeg. The study offers insight into the protective strategies of abused mothers and fills a significant gap in the literature regarding intimate partner violence and parenting. In particular, these findings may be used to help assess the protective strategies of abused mothers. The findings of this study will not only contribute to the current knowledge in the area, but may also serve to inform child protection practice in cases of intimate partner violence. For instance, knowing more about abused women’s protective strategies and what is effective (or not effective) may lead to improvements in the case management of these cases.

Beyond Searching for Deficits: A Qualitative Study Examining the Protective Strategies of Northern Abused Mothers
(Co-Investigator)

The study is a collaborative project with Colin Bonnycastle (Northern Social Work Program) and builds on a current project that both researchers are involved in (The Healing Journey: A Longitudinal Study of Women Affected by Intimate Partner Violence). The study is an in-depth examination of abused mothers’ protective strategies, as few studies have explored the various ways in which abused mothers protect their children from an abusive spouse or buffer their children from the potential negative impact of witnessing violence in the home. Moreover, there is no literature on the protective strategies of northern, Aboriginal women who are abused by their partners. Indeed, the realities, including mainstream safety options (e.g., calling the police, fleeing to emergency shelters) are not the same for abused women living in northern and remote areas. The study complements a similar study conducted in Winnipeg (Beyond Searching for Deficits: A Qualitative Study Examining the Protective Strategies of Urban Abused Mothers). Comparisons regarding protective strategies will be made between abused women living in rural/remote areas and urban women. Nine women participated in qualitative interviews and were recruited from the Thompson Crisis Centre. The study offers insight into the protective strategies of abused mothers and fills a significant gap in the literature regarding intimate partner violence and parenting. In particular, these findings may be used to help assess the protective strategies of abused mothers. The findings of this study will not only contribute to the current knowledge in the area, but may also serve to inform child protection practice in cases of intimate partner violence. For instance, knowing more about abused women’s protective strategies and what is effective (or not effective) may lead to improvements in the case management of these cases.

Parents Involved in Intimate Violent Relationships: An Inquiry of Programs in Canada
(Primary Investigator)

Children's exposure to intimate partner violence (IPV) has been recognized as a serious social problem by practitioners, researchers, and policymakers. Children exposed to IPV often exhibit serious problems such as anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and aggression (English et al., 2009; Graham-Bermann & Perkins, 2010). Given the attention to the potential harm to children who witness violence in the home, child protection systems in Canada (and across the globe) are now intervening in such cases, including removing children from the home (Nixon, Tutty, Weaver-Dunlop, & Walsh, 2007). However, according to the Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect (CIS-2003), only 2% of substantiated cases of child exposure to domestic violence resulted in actual apprehension (Trocmé et al., 2005). Instead, the vast majority of cases (69%) resulted in referrals to support services in the community. In fact, cases of children’s exposure to IPV are more likely to receive referrals to specialized services than any other form of child maltreatment in Canada (Jud et al., 2012). Of the 69% of cases that are referred to community support services, 45% were referred to parent support groups and family/parenting counselling programs. Despite CPS referring a large number of their cases to specialized programs, we know little about what form these programs take and whether they meet the needs of children, families, and the referring organization.
The main objective of the study is to identify and explore programs used in Canada to support parents who are involved in violent personal relationships (victims and perpetrators), including those that are referred to by child protective services (CPS). Programs will be reviewed to determine key information such as (but not limited to) the target population, service-delivery format, components of intervention, focus of intervention, and evidence of effectiveness. This information will be used to select a number of programs that will be the focus of more in-depth investigation and research for a larger SSHRC-funded Insight Development Grant (2014 competition).

Voices against Violence: Youth Stories Create Change
(Co-Investigator)

http://www.voicesagainstviolence.ca/

The study is a youth-centered, participatory-research project that explores issues of violence, inequality, exclusion and belonging, identity, and health and wellbeing as they affect youth in Canada. The overall purpose of Voices against Violence is twofold: 1.) to examine how structural violence is experienced by youth in Canada, and how it influences their health, and strategies that can be used to address and prevent violence; and 2.) to evaluate how collaborative engagement with youth can promote health by empowering them to address structural violence in their lives. A major component will examine policies to identify how institutions contribute to the victimization or vulnerability of diverse groups of youth, and how these policies influence them (Nixon is leading the Policy Working Group for this component).

The Healing Journey: A Longitudinal Study of Aboriginal Women Affected by Intimate Partner Violence

This is a tri-prairie (Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba), longitudinal study of 665 abused women looking at their abuse experiences, health, mental health, well-being, parenting, and utilization of resources. The study began in 2005 and took place over 3.5 years. Both quantitative and qualitative research methods were employed. Every year, each woman completed an in-depth survey of self-report instruments with respect to their and their children’s well-being, their physical and mental health, their service utilization, and their parenting. The instruments include standardized measures with good psychometric properties as well as items developed specifically for this study; some items were open-ended. The surveys were mostly administered in-person by one of our trained interviewers, but some were administered by telephone if travel to a research site was not possible. A select number also participated in qualitative interviews to obtain additional context to their experiences with abuse, perceptions of their children’s well-being, use of services, and parenting.

Selected Publications:

Nixon, K. & Cripps, K. (2013). Child protection policy and Indigenous intimate partner violence: Whose failure to protect? In. S. Strega, J. Krane, S. Lapierre, and C. Richardson (Eds.), Failure to protect: Moving beyond gendered responses (pp. 166-188). Halifax, NS: Fernwood.

Nixon, K. Radtke, L. & Tutty, L. (2013). “Every day it takes a piece of you away”: The experiences of grief and loss among abused mothers involved with child protective services. Journal of Public Child Welfare, 7(2), 172-193. Available at http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/DWnu9biQqzmh3mbbzsKw/full

Nixon, K. (2011). Children’s exposure to intimate partner violence in Alberta, Canada: The construction of a policy problem. Journal of Policy Practice 10(4), 268-287.

Nixon, K. & Tutty, L (2009/2010). “Where have all the women gone?” Woman abuse and Canadian social policy. Canadian Review of Social Policy, 63-82.

Nixon, K. (2009). Intimate Partner Woman Abuse in Alberta’s Child Protection Policy and the Impact on Abused Mothers and their Children. Currents: New Scholarship in the Human Services, 8(1). Available at http://currents.synergiesprairies.ca/currents/index.php/currents/article/view/2.

Nixon, K., Tutty, L., Weaver-Dunlop, G., & Walsh, C. (2007). Do good intentions beget good policy? A review of child protection policies to address intimate partner violence. Children and Youth Services Review, 29(12), 1469-1486.

Nixon, K. (2007). The power to name: Conceptualizing domestic violence as violence against women. Currents: New Scholarship in the Human Services, 6(1). Available at: http://currents.synergiesprairies.ca/currents/index.php/currents/article/view/58