Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work

Program Name/Specialization

Community, Policy, Planning and Organizations


Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work

First Advisor

Dr. Ginette Lafrenière

Advisor Role

Dr. Eliana Suarez


The ability of survivors of domestic violence to secure employment once they leave their vulnerable situations has been identified in the existing knowledge base as a significant issue, and one that urgently needed to be addressed. This qualitative applied social policy research study was undertaken to derive recommendations that could improve the current state of employment services available to women who had survived domestic violence residing in the Region of Waterloo. This was accomplished by determining which employment services align with the needs of a survivor as they began to seek employment. In-depth interviews were conducted to collect information from six survivors and six social service providers delivering employment services. A thematic analysis was then used to analyze the data and assign meaning to reoccurring descriptive patterns or emerging phenomenon in relation to the focal research question. It was found that the survivor community operating in this geographic area has developed a high level of resiliency, which has enabled this population to successfully access available employment services to aid their employment search. It was also determined that governmental agencies, large-scale non-for-profit establishments, community-based associations, and other partnering organizations mandated to deliver employment services within the Region of Waterloo have designated significant financial and human resources to support individuals through their employment search journey. Overall, it was recommended that social service providers: integrate additional ongoing support activities into their service-delivery models, provide specialized training to front-line workers assigned who work with survivors of domestic violence, and promote their services on an increasing basis to generate public awareness and foster a more inclusive community.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season