Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Social Work (DSW)


Social Work

Program Name/Specialization

Studies in Social Work Practice


Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work

First Advisor

Bree Akesson

Advisor Role



Domestic violence (DV) is a significant social issue requiring a thoughtful and dedicated response. At present, many social service agencies and governmental bodies have a responsibility to provide a response to DV. Increasingly, innovative service delivery models are being used to construct more coherent responses to the violence. One such model, originates from the United States is entitled the Family Justice Centre model. This model of service delivery consists of the agencies responding to DV residing within the same building. The goal of this model is to improve the access to service for victims and to improve collaborative efforts between organizations in response to DV. In Ontario, Canada, the Family Violence Project of the Waterloo Region (FVP) is the first co-located DV model of service delivery. Comprised of twelve partners from the Criminal Justice System (CJS) and the non-profit sector, the FVP was initially designed to streamline services to victims and provide one-stop service provision. A growing body of research suggests that victims benefit from receiving service from the FVP model of service delivery. However, little is known about how the work is accomplished within these co-located models. Using Institutional Ethnography (IE), as developed by Dorothy Smith (1999), this research explores the textually-mediated landscape of the FVP to understand work processes and social relations. By using IE as a method of inquiry, a model of a community-based response to DV is revealed that establishes the powerful role of the CJS in identifying and assessing risk using risk assessing tools. The sharing of risk documents by the core CJS agencies activates other non-core CJS partners and extends the overall response to non-CJS partners in the community. The overall effect is the creation of a web of surveillance where the CJS is provided with information regarding families by various FVP partner agencies at various stages of intervention. The recommendations arising from this research include expanding the research on the use of multi-agency, co-located service delivery models in Canada in response to DV. Future research should also include an examination into the experiences of DV victims accessing service from these co-located models. Finally, future research is needed to understand the pathways to service of men who use violence in their relationships to improve their visibility within these service response models.

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