• Portrait of Joan Durant
  • Senior scholar

    Max Rady College of Medicine
    Community Health Sciences
    Room 313C – Human Ecology Building
    35 Chancellors Circle
    University of Manitoba
    Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 2N2

    Phone: 204-474-8060


Accepting graduate students


Research affiliations

Research groups

Current research interests

Research summary

Dr. Joan Durrant’s research focuses on preventing physical maltreatment of children.

She has a particular interest in understanding why parents strike their children as punishment and how to support them in adopting positive approaches to resolving conflict with their children.

Dr. Durrant is also interested in the role of law, human rights frameworks and public education in preventing child maltreatment.

In collaboration with Save the Children, she created Positive Discipline in Everyday Parenting (PDEP), a primary violence prevention program that has been delivered in more than 30 countries.

She works with a network of collaborators to evaluate the program’s impact in highly diverse contexts, ranging from urban centres to isolated villages, refugee camps and conflict zones.


Dr. Joan Durrant is a senior scholar in community health sciences at the University of Manitoba.

She is a child-clinical psychologist experienced in working with children and families with a range of challenges. She became interested in how parents understand their children’s challenges and how that understanding can fuel violent responding. While remaining a developmentalist at heart, over the years she has integrated additional disciplinary lenses into her work to deepen her understanding of parental violence.

She has travelled extensively to understand the role of culture in parental beliefs and behaviour, as well as in approaches taken to violence prevention. Her research has taken her many times to Sweden, where she has studied the history and implementation of the world's first ban on physical punishment, as well as Swedish parents' approaches to parenting.

Dr. Durrant and her team have implemented PDEP in countries throughout East and South Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East, as well as across Canada. These experiences have helped us to understand historical and cultural forces that contribute to violence against children, and to identify adaptations needed to support parents living in various contexts.


  • PhD, Child-Clinical Psychology, University of Windsor



  • Elected Fellow, Royal Society of Canada, Academy of Social Sciences
  • Dr. John M. Bowman Memorial Winnipeg RH Institute Foundation Award, University of Manitoba


  • Researcher of the Year Award, Child Welfare League of Canada


  • Children's Rights Supporter Award, Canadian Coalition for Children's Rights


  • Canada’s 100 Most Powerful Women, Glencore Trailblazers and Innovators Award, Women’s Executive Network
  • Human Rights Commitment Award, Manitoba Human Rights Commission


  • Health Promotion and Innovation Award of Excellence, Canadian Institute of Child Health (twice)
  • Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, Conferred by the Government of Canada
  • YMCA-YWCA Woman of Distinction Award, Education, Training, and Mentorship category


  • Canadian Red Cross, Manitoba Chapter Power of Humanity Award: Humanitarian of the Year


  • Sgt. Ian Logan Memorial Award for Leadership in Child Abuse Prevention, Provincial Advisory Committee on Child Abuse


  • Dr. and Mrs. H. H. Saunderson Award for Excellence in Teaching, University of Manitoba


  • Ted Freeman Award for Innovation in Education, Ontario Hospital Association (Awarded to the Joint Statement on Physical Punishment of Children and Youth)


  • University of Manitoba Merit Award for Research
  • University of Manitoba Outreach Award


  • University of Manitoba Merit Award for Service


Contact us

Community Health Sciences
Max Rady College of Medicine
Room S113 - 750 Bannatyne Avenue
University of Manitoba (Bannatyne campus)
Winnipeg, MB R3E 0W3 Canada