Dr. Evie Tastsoglou leads Canadian team in research on violence against women migrants & refugees

Left to right: Dr. Evie Tastsoglou, SMU; Patella Cunningham, graduate student in International Development Studies; Dr. Lori Wilkinson, University of Manitoba; and Dr. Margaret MacDonald, Dean of Arts

Left to right: Dr. Evie Tastsoglou, SMU; Patella Cunningham, graduate student in International Development Studies; Dr. Lori Wilkinson, University of Manitoba; and Dr. Margaret MacDonald, Dean of Arts

A Sociology professor at Saint Mary’s has received federal funding for her key role in an international research project, titled “Violence Against Women Migrants and Refugees: Analysing Causes and Effective Policy Responses”.

Dr. Evie Tastsoglou is Principal Investigator for the Canadian team in a consortium that also includes researchers in Austria, the Czech Republic, France, Ireland, Israel and Norway.

Dr. Tastsoglou has been working for the past 25 years on gender and migration issues, including domestic violence. More recently, she has focused on sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and precarity specifically during displacement and forced migration, looking at the impact of law, policy and other systemic factors that may aggravate or help perpetuate violence.

“I am interested in understanding the causes of violence during the stages of the journey, its impact on women, families and communities, as well as individual and community agency in overcoming it; above all in policy that will contribute to reducing or eliminating it,” says Dr. Tastsoglou, who is also program coordinator for International Development Studies at SMU.

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) recently awarded nearly $221,000 to the Canadian research team, through the Gender-Net Plus Joint Call on Gender and UN Sustainable Development Goals. The three-year international project has a total budget of 972,492 Euros.

“These issues are of particular relevance today, in the context of not only the Syrian refugee crisis but an overall increase of refugee movements around the world,” says Dr. Tastsoglou. “SGBV may continue upon settlement as well, not only as past trauma but in tangible and terrifying ways, which makes it an urgent policy priority for Canada to address it and ensure human rights and equality for all its citizens.” 

Dr. Tastsoglou’s first task is her current search for a post-doctoral fellow. The Canadian team also includes Dr. Myrna Dawson (University of Guelph), Dr. Catherine Holtman (University of New Brunswick), and Dr. Lori Wilkinson (University of Manitoba). Dr. Wilkinson was at Saint Mary’s on January 18 as guest speaker for the ongoing IDS Speaker Series.  

The mixed-method research will take an intersectional approach. Along with analysis of existing statistics, literature and policies, the project will survey and interview migrant and refugee women, service providers and health care providers.

Submitted by Marla Cranston, Faculty of Arts