Brescia faculty member appointed as Expert, Gender Based Violence in national study funded by Women and Gender Equality (WAGE) Canada

Julie Young
Above: Brescia Faculty, Sociology and gender-based violence (GBV) expert, Julie Young

London, ON – In the months following the arrival of COVID-19, many women and families were spending increased hours isolated at home, leading to an alarming rise in reported rates of violence against women and girls. To help respond to cases like this, and to advocate for those without a voice, Brescia University College Sociology faculty member, Julie Young has been appointed as a gender-based violence (GBV) expert by the Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women, funded by Women and Gender Equality (WAGE) Canada on their new national research initiative, entitled “Recognizing Critical Expertise in Gender-Based Violence Work.”

Federally funded by WAGE Canada, this timely new research study focuses on intimate partner violence (IPV), which is a major dimension of GBV. It is also a key element to study in order to advocate for and support women and children exposed to IPV. Working collaboratively, experts from across the Canadian GBV specialist sector will endeavor to identify a national set of capacities that will assist GBV organizations as they strive to design and implement sustainable, relevant training and strengthen community response at all levels. The research will ultimately support advocacy work and policy reform. Julie Young is also a member of the National Advisory Council on Gendered Violence with WAGE, which is focusing on a national action plan in the next 100 days.

“We know that the knowledge, skills and capacities needed for effective GBV work with women survivors, children exposed to domestic violence and men who harm are built into the training and mentorship that many Canadian GBV agencies already provide,” explains Young. She goes on to say, “I look forward to collaborating with the team of GBV specialists to amplify the strong work happening across Canadian agencies and to help provide the next steps required to assist those most impacted by GBV and IPV.”

Using the Dephi model of study, which relies on a series of “rounds”, where experts are consulted on a particular issue. Subsequent rounds are based on the previous ones, allowing the study to evolve over time. In this sense, it is a collaborative, reciprocal method to data collection and research participation, where the expert groups will synthesize findings on key GBV capacities from a range of sources – such as, literature reviews, peer reviewed literature, agency websites, expert groups and three rounds of survey and interview processes with GBV specialists – including women with lived experience of IPV and services in Canada. This will build on foundational work done by community-based organizations across Canada. Throughout and following the study, GBV specialists will be engaged in the mobilization and distribution of knowledge to all relevant parties.

Young’s commitment to GBV research and awareness is partially driven by her own experience as a survivor and her sense of urgency to act, if given the opportunity. “I am fortunate to be in a position to impact change,” she says. “I feel an obligation to do something, for all the women who aren’t able to speak out, who might be living in poverty, or face other barriers and who might be forced to stay at home. As someone who was once given an opportunity, I now feel the tremendous responsibility to act and give back.”

To support her work, and provide Brescia’s student’s with hands-on training, Young has included some of her students in a parallel research project on GBV. This opportunity will help them to better understand the urgency for policy reform and the challenges women are faced within the court system.

Young believes that her students, young women, must be included in this type of work, so that they are empowered to address and better understand GBV, saying, “Looking at GBV statistics, if I have a class of 40 students, potentially 14 (one third) of them may have experienced some form of GBV. Age or socio-economic status does not protect any person from GBV. As an educator, when I see these kinds of statistics, I feel it is my responsibility to not only help prepare my students to face these real-world problems, but also help them become confident leaders and change them.”

Young attests that women are already disproportionately affected by so many things on a regular basis - from wars to the economic crisis to GBV. Knowing this, she poses the question: can we progress as a society if we leave half the population behind? A Gender Based Analysis offers a way forward.  Through her advocacy work and the WAGE funded research study she remains optimistic, saying, “There is no time to feel discouraged. In each moment that goes by, there is a woman who needs help. We must keep marching forward.” 


For more information, please contact:

Rhea Johnson, Director, Communications, Marketing & External Relations at or 519-636-9408, or Caitlin Core, Communications, Marketing & External Relations Officer,

Brescia University College, Canada’s women’s university college, is affiliated with Western University. The 1,600 women registered as either full- or part-time students at Brescia study a wide variety of subjects in the Schools of Behavioural & Social Sciences, Food & Nutritional Sciences, Humanities and Leadership & Social Change in an empowering, compassionate, student-centred and invigorating environment. Degrees are granted by Western. The Catholic University College welcomes students from all backgrounds and values diversity. For more current and archived news, a listing of faculty experts, and photos please visit our Online Media Room, at