The Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre (MMFC) for Family Violence Research is marking 25 years of researching and working to find solutions to end violence against women and children.
The centre is marking that milestone on International Women’s Day.
“We feel that we’ve made contributions to the advancement of women in our research on violence against women,”said Dr. Cathy Holtmann, director of MMFC.
“When the centre opened its doors 25 years ago, violence against women was not an acceptable topic of conversation. We believe we have had a hand in changing the conversation.”
MMFC and its partners have tried to advance understanding of the different forms of family violence, the effects of family violence on women’s equality, and the services available to victims and perpetrators.
Some of that research has led to federal and provincial legislative changes, according to Holtmann.
“Recently, New Brunswick introduced domestic and intimate partner violence legislation,” she said.
“Our researchers have contributed to that not only in terms of past research, but I think even on the crafting of the legislation. Some of our researchers were involved in that.”
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Fredericton MP Matt DeCourcey was on hand for the celebration and says the Liberal government is committed to expanding government portfolios, including women’s affairs.
“We will be increasing the role that the status of women in Canada plays. That will grow into a full-time department with funding that will help community organizations address the systemic issues that continue to exist,” said DeCourcey.
But the work at the MMFC is far from complete, as one in three Canadian women have experienced some form of intimate partner violence in their lifetime.
“I think we have a lot to learn. We have a lot to also teach or to give as information to other women internationally,” explained Rina Arseneault, an associate director at the centre.
The organization says the anniversary celebration is just one of many planned events to mark 25 years of “changing the conversation.”