Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Social Work


Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work

First Advisor

Shoshana Pollack

Advisor Role

Provided guidance on dissertation


This qualitative, multi-manuscript dissertation examines the experiences of Black women who live in the Greater Toronto Area and other southwestern Ontario regions who have experienced intimate partner violence (IPV), some of whom were also charged with an IPV-related offence. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 25 Black women to better understand the meanings they attach to their experiences. Critical race feminism (CRF) was employed to help conceptualize women’s narratives. In addition, the dissertation includes a review of the relevant literature, the methodology that was utilized for the study followed by three self-contained manuscripts. The purpose of the first manuscript is to discuss challenges or barriers encountered during the research process, propose strategies for engaging with Black women and highlight their reasons for participating in the study. Findings indicate that using various sampling strategies increase Black women’s participation. In addition, methodological approaches must consider Black women’s lived experiences of systemic oppression and racism. The purpose of the second manuscript is to better understand Black women’s experiences of IPV, how it has impacted their lives and the consequences of using force against an intimate partner. Findings reveal that Black women often have histories of abuse and those who used force did so in response to their partner’s violence against them. The purpose of the third manuscript is to examine Black women’s experiences with the police and highlight counter-narratives they create in response to stereotypes that construct them as aggressive or violent. Findings from this study show that women were more likely to disclose negative encounters with the police and that their experiences with the police were influenced by their intersecting identities of race, gender and class. Most women believed their race influenced the police’s perception of and interaction with them. Those who had negative encounters with the police are less likely to seek help from them in the future. These findings have implications for improving future police interactions and relations with racialized communities.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season