Problem: Separation is one of the triggers frequently associated with domestic homicides, particularly in relationships where there is a history of domestic violence (IPV).

In Québec, for example, in 139 cases of spousal homicide by men recorded between 1997 and 2007, the spouses were separated or in the process of separation in nearly 60% of cases and there were indications of a history of IPV in 80% of cases.

Although the situation has been known for several years, it is clear that very few interventions aimed at potential perpetrators of intimate partner violence have been developed and assessed to date. The goal of our action research was to develop, implement and evaluate a specific intervention on marital separation and IPV targeting men with a history of IPV who are facing a breakup.

This project aims to create a program to prevent violence and promote nonviolent behaviour in the context of separation.

Results: The main result of this project was the creation of a program to prevent violence and promote nonviolent behaviour in the context of separation. The Mieux vivre la séparation sans violence (MVSSV) program draws on the scientific literature and the experience of actors in the field and has been validated with a male population recruited by agencies that assist violent spouses.  

Other findings: Separation appears to be a critical period in relationships marked by intimate partner violence. Behind the violent behaviour hides a significant and very real distress among the perpetrators of IPV who are confronted with separation, a distress that is often not dealt with by an intervention tailored to their needs.

Solutions: The possibility of implementing the MVSSV program in the member organizations of À coeur d’homme – Réseau d’aide aux hommes pour une société sans violence men’s support network should be looked at as a way to promote nonviolent behaviour and the prevent intimate partner violence in the context of separation. The implementation of the program in different regions of the province, including training of workers in different settings and follow-up measures, could lead to collaborations with front-line services (CLSCs), provincial detention facilities and schools.

Finally, it seems important to inform and raise awareness among the general population of the possible link between marital separation and violent behaviour.

Main researcher

Suzanne Léveillée, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières


Research report

Call for proposals

Deposit of the research report: August 2018