Adapting Toronto’s Violence Against Women Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic: The MARCO VAW Study

About the workshop

This presentation will outline the methods and preliminary results of the MARCO VAW study: a community-based participatory study investigating the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the violence against women (VAW) sector in Toronto. In particular, the study seeks to understand how VAW organizations have had to adapt to this public health emergency, how contextual factors have influenced these processes and service delivery (including staff wellbeing), and how well adaptations are meeting the needs of survivors. Our goal is to draw actionable recommendations for participating organizations, the sector, funders, and policymakers to strengthen the response to VAW during this pandemic and any future public health emergencies. The study is co-led by Dr. Alexa Yakubovich (St Michael’s Hospital and University of Toronto) and Priya Shastri (Woman Abuse Council of Toronto and Toronto Region Violence Against Women Coordinating Committee), with research and advisory teams consisting of interdisciplinary academics, women with lived experience of violence, and VAW and allied organizational representatives, including members of the Toronto Region Violence Against Women Coordinating Committee.

Presenter Bios

Dr. Alexa Yakubovich leads an interdisciplinary research program that aims to advance a structural understanding of interpersonal violence and related health inequities, with a particular focus on intimate partner violence. Dr. Yakubovich currently holds a CIHR Health System Impact Fellowship and CIHR-CMHC Fellowship in Research and Knowledge Translation in Urban Housing and Health as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions at St. Michael’s Hospital and University of Toronto. She received her MSc and PhD in Evidence-Based Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation at the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and CIHR-funded researcher.


Priya Shastri is the Networks Coordinator at Woman Abuse Council of Toronto (WomanACT) and is the coordinator for the Toronto Region Violence Against Women Coordinating Committee. Priya has a decade of work experience in the anti-violence against women sector in various systems and communities, including in Nunavut and the UK. Her work experiences include frontline delivery in
shelters, community outreach, program management, research, and strategic coordination. Priya has an MSc in Mental Health & Population Health Research. Prior to joining WomanACT, Priya was a Regional Development Officer for the Women’s Aid Federation in the UK and worked as part of a Sustainability Partnership supporting VAW services.

About the MAP Evaluation Series

Our Evaluation Series aims to build on our core principles – street-level solutions, policy impact, training and community partnership – to build evaluation capacity. We convene community agencies and researchers around the country interested in learning about different evaluation and developing evaluation skills.
All sessions are facilitated by individuals with applied evaluation expertise, and are available free-of-charge via Zoom.

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June 15, 2021

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

This event is free.

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