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MMFF Award

The Fergusson Foundation was honoured to recognize Dr. Deborah Doherty,
as the 29th recipient of the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Foundation Award.

June 9, 2022 (Fredericton, N.B.)  – The Fergusson Foundation presented the 29th MMFF Award to Dr. Deborah Doherty during a ceremony at Government House.

Created in 1992 to recognize outstanding contributions toward the prevention and elimination of family violence in Canada, the MMFF Award is presented annually to an individual, group or organization that has significantly contributed to that end.

The Fergusson Foundation was pleased to acknowledge Dr. Deborah Doherty for her exemplary leadership and commitment to the prevention and elimination of family violence.

The Fergusson Foundation is pleased to honour Dr. Doherty as the recipient of the 2022 MMFF Award,” said Danika Carleton, Chair of the Fergusson Foundation’s Grants & Awards Committee. “Dr. Doherty has worked tirelessly with New Brunswick’s legal community, courts, government departments and various community groups to support survivors, and all those impacted by family violence. Her work has made a significant difference in the lives of countless survivors, family members and professionals and we are honoured to recognize Dr. Doherty and extend our sincere gratitude for her on-going work and commitment towards the prevention and elimination of family violence.

Meranda McLaughlin, President of the Fergusson Foundation, said “Dr. Deborah Doherty has played a crucial leadership role here in New Brunswick. Over several decades she has ensured vulnerable populations, including victims of family and intimate partner violence, have access to legal information to help navigate complex systems. Taking complicated policies, procedures and legislation and transforming them into easy-to-follow materials and tools is no easy feat. In doing so, Dr. Doherty has helped people through some of the most difficult times in their lives and helped empower them to make informed and safer decisions, for themselves and their loved ones. It is clear why there was such overwhelming support from the domestic violence community in New Brunswick to see Dr. Doherty recognized for her contributions.”

In accepting the Award, Dr. Doherty said “Thank you for this prestigious award.  I am truly honoured that the domestic violence community in New Brunswick nominated me for this recognition. I recognize, however, that the work and achievements on this front are a collaborative effort which must continue. I therefore wish to thank everyone who continues to seek a deeper understanding of the root causes of gender-based violence. I have been fortunate to work with many dedicated individuals who encouraged me to transform my research knowledge into innovative evidence-based tools such as the safety planning app “EVO,” that connects abused women with helpful online services. Considerable work to end domestic, intimate partner and gender-based violence remains, we are fortunate that the MMFF Award is there to celebrate our successes, while serving as a reminder of what remains to be accomplished.”

In honour of Dr. Doherty’s contributions, the Fergusson Foundation will provide a donation to Safe for Pets Too: a program to provide shelter to animals affected by family violence. To learn more visit https://safeforpetstoo.ca/

Biography

Dr. Deborah Doherty

Dr. Deborah Doherty earned her Ph.D. in the social sciences from McGill University in 1986. She was engaged as a research analyst for four years at the New Brunswick Women’s Directorate. She also served a two-year Secondment as acting director at the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre. She is perhaps best known as the founding executive director of Public Legal Education and Information Service of New Brunswick (PLEIS-NB). In that capacity, for the past 30 years, Dr. Doherty was responsible for promoting access to justice by identify and meeting the law-information needs of the public. She has been undertaking family law and family violence research her entire career. She typically works in a collaborative fashion with community groups, legal professionals, academics, policy makers, and government departments who partner with PLEIS to develop staff training or create plain language publications that explain legal processes such as Emergency Intervention Orders, Safety Planning, or testimonial aids for children.

Of particular note, Dr. Doherty was co-principal researcher with Dr. Jennie Hornosty on a ground breaking participatory action research team examining family violence on the farm and in rural communities. This study explored firearms victimization and abuse of pets and farm animals which inspired Dr. Doherty to development a number of evidence-based educational resources such as an awareness campaign called Safer Families…Safer Communities. It was also the impetus for a free service called Safe for Pets Too which offers temporary shelter for the pets of women fleeing intimate partner violence.

Dr. Doherty was also one of the founding members of the New Brunswick Silent Witness Project where she conducted research that focused on the clustering of risks factors associated with female domestic homicide in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. This research demonstrated that the nature of the risk factors, the ability of women to seek help and the sources of support differed for women living outside of large urban centres. This underscores the need to find and promote solutions that challenge a predominantly urban-centric perspective. Dr. Doherty has made countless presentations on the findings and written numerous papers, articles and book chapters. Most recently, she created a free app called EVO that promotes help-seeking by connecting abused rural women with helpful services they can access online when they have the privacy and security to do so. This empowers the user to consider steps to mitigate their risk of harm rather than using a cookie cutter approach.

Dr. Doherty retired from PLEIS-NB on March 31, 2022. However, as a solutions-minded community scholar she will continue to speak out about the lessons learned and advocate for women-defined supports and services.

About the Award 

The Muriel McQueen Fergusson Foundation Award was created in 1992 to recognize outstanding contributions toward preventing and eliminating family violence in Canada.

The Award recognizes an individual, group, organization, business, corporation or workplace that has furthered the prevention and elimination of family violence. The Award is presented annually during a special public function of the Foundation to commemorate the birthday of the Foundation’s Patron, Muriel McQueen Fergusson.

Completed applications must be submitted to the Fergusson Foundation’s Executive Director, Rebecca Francis francisr@unb.ca by February 28, 2023

MMFF Award Nomination Form


Criteria

Canadian individuals or organizations whose achievements have advanced the prevention and elimination of family violence are eligible for nomination. All nominations should be in the same format as per the nomination form above and supported by two letters of recommendation.


Selection Process

The Award recipient is selected by a committee of the Foundation’s Board of Directors representatives based on the information provided by the nominators. The Fergusson Foundation reserves the right to verify the accuracy of the information provided in the submission. Nominees not chosen in the first year are retained and will be considered for the Award for the next two years.


About the AwardPewterAward

The Award itself was designed and produced by Carole Cronkite of Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada’s first female pewtersmith.

The Award is made entirely by hand using only basic tools. Different gauges of sheet pewter are layered to create a three-dimensional effect. The four-piece logo is cut out with a delicate jewelers saw, filed, soldered, etched and shaded to produce the finished award.

The design of the Award is intended to symbolize the many faces of violence.

In addition, the Award recipient selects a registered charity, whose objectives further the goals of the Foundation, and the Foundation makes a $1,000 donation in their name.


Hon. Jocelyne Roy Vienneau, O.N.B. welcomes the Fergusson Foundation and guests to the 2016 MMFF Award Ceremony at Government House.

New Brunswick’s Lieutenant-Governor and the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Foundation Award

Founding member of the Fergusson Foundation and former Lieutenant-Governor Margaret Norrie McCain helped set the tone for the involvement of the Office of the Lieutenant-Governor in supporting the quest to eliminate family violence. For many years the Office of the Lieutenant-Governor has graciously allowed the Foundation to hold the Award presentation ceremony at Government House. Other Lieutenant-Governors including Marilyn Trenholme Counsell, Herménégilde Chiasson,  Graydon Nicholas and Jocelyne Roy-Vienneau have continued this support.  In 2020, the Honourable Brenda Murphy became an active participant with the Foundation’s work by accepting the role as Honorary Patron of the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Foundation Award.

Government House is the official residence to the Lieutenant-Governor but is also open to the public and receives thousands of visitors on an annual basis. The Award is now displayed at Government House allowing visiting Canadians, dignitaries, monarchy, heads of state, countless tours of school children and many others all to see these examples of outstanding Canadians, organizations and businesses who have helped further the elimination of family violence.

Past Recipients

  • 1993 June Callwood
  • 1994 Dr. Peter Jaffe
  • 1995 Margaret Norrie McCain
  • 1996 Sister Cecile Renault (posthumously)
  • 1997 Dr. Donald G. Dutton
  • 1998 ‘Making Waves’
  • 1999 The Body Shop Canada
  • 2000 Fredericton Sexual Assault Crisis Centre
  • 2001 Dr. Sandra Byers
  • 2002 Rina Arseneault
  • 2003 Red Cross RespectED
  • 2004 Senator Sharon Carstairs and Margaret Newall
  • 2005 Margaret-Ann Blaney
  • 2006 Penny K. Ericson
  • 2007 Madeleine Delaney-LeBlanc
  • 2008 Bernard Richard
  • 2009 Rona Brown
  • 2010 Native Women’s Association of Canada
  • 2011 White Ribbon Campaign
  • 2012 Ghosts of Violence
  • 2013 Dr. Nancy Nason-Clark
  • 2014 Sigrid Rolfe & Dr. Philip Smith
  • 2015 Family Enrichment and Counselling Service
  • 2016 Julie Devon Dodd
  • 2017 C. Anne Crocker, C.M.
  • 2018 Maryse Rinfret-Raynor
  • 2019 Dr. Judith Wuest
  • 2021 Dr. Linda C. Neilson
  • 2022 Dr. Deborah Doherty

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