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Networking the grassroots domestic violence movement from across Canada.

The Canadian Domestic Violence Conference 6 is a national showcase of ground-breaking grassroots initiatives that address intimate partner violence. This vital conference, held every two years, will feature influential presenters who are bringing about change in community-based groups, academics and government agencies. An extensive array of participating organizations include women’s shelters, women’s centres, Partner Assault Response (PAR) programs, men’s treatment programs, family therapists, restorative justice facilitators, probation offices, police, crown prosecutors, judges, victim services officers, children mental health workers, child protection workers, addiction counselors, health care workers, clergy, educators and others engaged in direct service. The ultimate goal of this progressive and formative conference is to strengthen and enrich those individuals who confront domestic violence and to challenge the current social determinants of domestic violence.

The CDVC6 has been specifically designed to foster knowledge in bringing about effective interventions and conversations with women, men and children dealing with domestic violence in various professional contexts. While primarily emphasizing men’s violence against women, this Conference will also focus conversations on the margins of the field, such as violence in same-sex relationships; violence with people with disabilities; in aboriginal relationships; first generation immigrant relationships; and straight women’s perpetration of abuse. To address the diversity among women, the conference will explore conversations with women who want to leave, women who are ambivalent about their relationships and women who know they want to stay. This broad range of discussions will include interventions that involve individual, couple, family and group conversations.

This year, the CDVC6 will highlight trailblazing community initiatives designed to challenge social determinants of domestic violence. While primarily challenging sexism, the Conference will also focus on how the field is challenging key issues such as racism, poverty, homophobia, and ableism.

The CDVC6 committee is feminist, welcomes sharing diverse ideas, and selects presentations on the basis of the quality of the presentation proposal.

The mandate of the Conference is to move the field forward, and therefore encourages participants and presenters to highlight and share innovative approaches that are developing in the various communities across Canada.


Opening Plenary Speaker

MARCH 5, 2020

The Canadian Domestic Violence Conference is thrilled to welcome the University of Calgary's Lana Wells as our opening plenary speaker.

Ms. Wells will will summarize a decade of lessons learned along with examples of efforts that are engaging and mobilizing men and boys that do not reinforce or recreate gendered power inequities.


Keynote Presentation

March 5, 2020

The Moose Hide Campaign is an indigenous led grassroots movement to engage men and boys to stand up against violence toward women and children. The Campaign involves men and boys wearing a hand-cut piece of moose hide to signify their commitment to honour, respect, and protect the women and children in their lives and to work together to end violence against women and children. The presenters Paul Lacerte and his daughter, Raven Lacerte began the campaign in 2011. Since then, over a million ribbons have been distributed across Canada. The Campaign has many high profile supporters including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.


Closing Plenary Speaker

March 6, 2020

Donna Coker, Professor of Law at the University of Miami will discuss the growing US feminist disenchantment with the crime-centered response to domestic violence that has dominated US policy for 30 years. Prompted by movements for prison abolition and racial justice, anti-domestic violence organizations are rethinking their relationship to the criminal justice system and changing their public advocacy. An increased interest by survivor advocates in restorative justice is one hopeful sign of a shift away from a punitive crime model. The larger project political realignment centered on changing the social and economic inequalities that foster and maintain violence remains to be seen.

Pre-conference Workshops

March 3-4, 2020

Complex Trauma, survivors and intimate partner violence: Developmental couple Therapy for Couples Trauma

Dr. Heather B. MacIntosh


Developmental Couple Therapy for Complex Trauma (DCTCT) is a novel approach to couple therapy that was developed out of research examining the impacts of trauma on couple relationships and the challenges that trauma survivors experience within the therapy context. DCTCT considers emotion regulation and mentalizing challenges to be at the core of struggles facing trauma survivors in their relationships and in therapy and these issues are also pivotal in couples where conflict escalates and the risk of intimate partner violence becomes a concern. Traditional approaches to therapy in the context of intimate partner violence require that couples be divided and individually focused treatment such as anger management, be undertaken. DCTCT may offer options to assist couples where escalating conflict puts partners at risk of violence. This approach can also be used to help survivors in the process of building new relationships free of violence.

This two-day training will provide participants with comprehensive and practical guidance for integrating DCTCT into their work with traumatized individual survivors or couples. The approach includes an evidence-based framework which emphasizes the importance of containing conflict and helps clients to build emotional regulation and mentalizing skills. The framework is an invaluable asset to all those working with individual survivors or couples dealing with the ravaging impacts of complex trauma, who may not be able to benefit from traditional forms of therapy due to challenges in regulating emotions, mentalizing, and other aspects of the complex trauma response that limit capacity to engage in relationships.

The workshop will guide participants through the four key stages of DCTCT: Psychoeducation, Building Capacity, Dyadic Processing and Consolidation. Each stage has accompanying activities and narratives in which to engage traumatized individuals and couples. The workshop will be helpful for those who help individuals or couples dealing with complex trauma.

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March 3-4, 2020

Strength at Home: A Trauma-Informed, Evidence Based IPV Offender Group Intervention

Casey T. taft, PH.D.

This workshop will provide training in Strength at Home, a trauma-informed, evidence-based IPV intervention. On the first day, Dr. Taft will discuss how trauma may influence the ways in which we process social information and other trauma-related risk factors. Strength at Home is then described, as is the scientific evidence for its use. Strategies for motivating clients to work on issues related to IPV, developing a positive therapeutic relationship, and building a cohesive group environment are then discussed. On the second day, the facilitator will cover the intervention sessions in detail, using videos and role plays to illustrate strategies.

Conference Program Updates:

Once again, we anticipate a strong line-up of pre-conference workshop presenters, plenary speakers and presentation facilitators. Check back regularly for updates as the CDVC6 program takes shape. Meanwhile, we are pleased to confirm the participation of the following presenters:

Paul Lacerte, Moose Hide Campaign

Heather MacIntosh, McGill University

Donna Coker, University of Miami

Lise Martin, Women’s Shelters Canada

Casey Taft, National Center for PTSD, Boston

Tim Kelly, Changing Ways

Lana Wells, University of Calgary

Tod Augusta-Scott, Bridges Insitutute

Alan Edwards, Restorative Opportunities, Corrections Canada

Welcome to Nova Scotia


Located on Canada's east coast on the shores of the North Atlantic, Halifax has a strong Maritime tradition and is one of North America's oldest cities.  At the same time, it also has a modern urban core with much to offer for conference attendees and their guests.



Conference Venue

Marriott harbourfront hotel

The conference venue is on the waterfront in downtown Halifax. It's an excellent facility with all of the amenities one would expect in a premier conference environment. 

It's also within easy walking distance of shops and restaurants and, of course, the Halifax waterfront.

Travel to Halifax


Halifax is home to a modern, award-winning airport located about thirty minutes from downtown.  Direct flights from most major cities on the eastern seaboard are available. Check the News page as the conference grows nearer for updates on the best and most affordable ground transportation options.



While Halifax has a wide variety of sights for visitors to experience, the province of Nova Scotia offers some spectacular sight-seeing options.  Within a half hour drive of downtown, you can experience the rugged beauty of Peggy's Cove or explore small fishing villages.  Staying longer?  Explore the gorgeous landscape of the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton!  For more about travel around Nova Scotia, visit here.

Food & Drink


While in Halifax, you'll have numerous options to satisfy your palate.  There's a wide range of restaurants and bars in the city and a growing number that focus on local products.  If you're a beer lover, there are a variety of brew pubs with a vast array of locally made beer.



Yes, there are shopping malls in the Halifax area.  But there are also numerous independent shops and stores offering unique and locally-made products.  Take a walk along Spring Garden Road, or some detours elsewhere to discover some of the small businesses off the beaten path.  In the conference handbook, we'll list a few of our favourites for you to consider during your visit.