Moving beyond surviving to thriving

A new network of eight Canadian universities aims to help make a difference for children and youth exposed to trauma
Monique Roy
McGill University
Social sciences
Social work
A child on a swing against a blue sky.

Childhood and teenage trauma, including abuse, violence and neglect, is a scourge that is still all too often overlooked. Researchers across Canada are joining forces to find concrete solutions to this societal problem.

“Unfortunately, the most robust research data shows that one in three persons in Canada has experienced sexual abuse or physical abuse or has witnessed domestic violence before the age of 18,” says Delphine Collin-Vézina, a professor at the McGill University School of Social Work. She also leads The Child & Youth Trauma Research Incubator (ThRive), which was founded on the idea of giving victims and survivors the opportunity to grow and thrive despite the hardships they have faced. This network of eight Canadian universities recently secured funding through the CFI’s Innovation Fund.

The ThRive research incubator, which has roots in the Canadian Consortium on Child & Youth Trauma, will further the Consortium’s mission of improving the lives of mistreated children and youth.

Its primary goal is to bring about changes to practices and policies by encouraging the provinces to collaborate and share information instead of working in silos, as tends to be the case in this field. “Each province has its own set of regulations for handling mistreatment and trauma, making this kind of work highly fragmented across Canada,” Collin‑Vézina explains.

A second stream aims to address the lack of consistency in the training provided to social workers, police officers, legal professionals and health care providers working directly with the children and families involved.

The participating universities (Calgary, McGill, McMaster, Montréal, Ottawa, Regina, Toronto and Université du Quebec à Trois-Rivières) will be linked together through laboratories that will provide physical and virtual spaces to foster active collaboration between researchers, students and members of the community. According to Collin-Vézina, this infrastructure will promote innovative and interactive research that will empower those most affected by trauma.

Return to the collection called “The power to transform”