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  • Author or Editor: Isabelle Côté x
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Despite the fact that the inclusion of men constitutes a polarising issue that has created tensions and divisions throughout the history of domestic violence shelters, very little has been written on this issue. This paper specifically addresses this gap in the literature. Drawing upon the results of a doctoral thesis conducted with 48 advocates, the authors argue that the participants’ perspectives on the inclusion of men as workers or administrators in domestic violence shelters can be analysed from an axiological viewpoint. More specifically, the rationale underlying the participant’s position to support or to oppose men’s inclusion in shelters can be linked to core values underpinning shelters’ practices. This leads to three observations: 1) The inclusion of men clashes with a set of core values that guide the practices of participants who do consider the presence of men problematic; 2) Men are considered a positive addition in the shelters of participants who promote male inclusion, based on a different interpretation of similar values; 3) Men as ‘positive role model’, a crosscutting argument among those who promote their inclusion, is not related to any core values underlying shelters’ practices and raises two issues, which will be discussed in the paper.

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This article presents findings from a study that investigated the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on domestic violence shelters’ policies and practices. This study was conducted in partnership with feminist organisations in two regions in the Quebec, Canada. Qualitative data were collected from nine domestic violence shelters, using a web-based questionnaire. Thematic content analysis was conducted using NVivo. The research findings reveal that the COVID-19 pandemic has created significant challenges for shelters, as they have had to ensure women’s and children’s safety while preventing the spread of the virus. In this context, they have had to adapt their services and practices, and it has sometimes been difficult to maintain their feminist approach. Nonetheless, shelters have been creative and have developed multiple strategies to overcome these challenges and to ensure women’s and children’s access to services. The research findings contribute to our understanding of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and highlight the essential role that these organisations have played to ensure women’s and children’s safety at a time when they have been particularly vulnerable.

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