The Fergusson Foundation and the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre for family violence research
The Centre’s story begins with the establishment of the Fergusson Foundation in 1985. The Foundation’s goal was to raise money and assist victims of family violence by funding of shelters, special programs and public education projects. As members of the Foundation worked to raise funds towards protective services for victims, the need for a proactive approach to prevent the recurrence of family violence became clear. Out of this necessity for prevention emerged the idea for a research centre dedicated to the collaborative study of these issues.
The Fergusson Foundation established an endowment fund of $2.5 million to support the activities of the research centre. Funding from the endowment began in the 1987. A proposal was presented to the University of New Brunswick in 1989 and a motion was passed by the Arts Faculty Council in March 1990 to establish the MMFC within the Faculty of Arts.
Subsequently, the University of New Brunswick and the Foundation, in partnership, submitted a proposal to the federal government for funding. The proposal to fund a Research Centre on Family Violence at UNB was one of five similar proposals accepted to establish Centres across Canada. Each Centre received $100,000 per year for five years from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and Health Canada. In addition, the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre was granted $25 000 per year for five years by the Provincial Department of Health and Community Services.
The MMFC bears the same name as the Foundation’s patron and is known as the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre for Family Violence Research (MMFC). Muriel McQueen Fergusson, the first woman speaker of the Canadian Senate, lobbied for social justice for Canadian women and families and for the social welfare system that is often taken for granted today.
Today there are seven research centres across Canada. They are:
- Centre de recherche interdisciplinaire sur la violence familiale et la violence faite aux femmes (CRI-VIFF) with offices at Université de Montréal and Université Laval
- Centre for Research on Violence against Women and Children at the University of Western in Ontario
- FREDA Centre for Research on Violence against Women and Children, joint collaboration of academics at Simon Fraser University and University of British Columbia
- RESOLVE (Research and Education for Solutions to Violence and Abuse) Manitoba at the University of Manitoba
- RESOLVE Alberta at the University of Calgary
- RESOLVE Saskatchewan at the University of Regina