Promoting child development

Every year in Quebec, many children fall victim to abuse. Indeed, recent research conducted by the Groupe de recherche et d'action sur la victimisation des enfants (Group for Research and Action on Child Victimization), directed by Marie-Andrée Poirier de l'Université de Montréal, has shown that the situation is probably worse than was previously believed.

For over fifteen years, this Group has brought together researchers, administrators and social practitioners who are concerned with child protection and welfare, with a view to promoting optimal child development. The team carries out projects for the implementation and evaluation of social innovations, in addition to epidemiology research.

Social epidemiology has contributed to highlighting the extent and evolution of child victimization in Quebec. Researchers carried out two provincial surveys, in 1999 and 2004, involving more than 3,000 families. The results revealed that one in fifteen children experiences at least one incidence of serious violence each year, a rate more than ten times higher than that observed by youth protection services.

Other large-scale research is in progress that will increase our knowledge and understanding of the trajectories of victimization in children and the impact on their mental health. A study into the poly-victimization of children and adolescents, i.e. multiple incidences of victimization (for example, abuse, intimidation, sexual abuse), is currently being conducted on 2,800 children and adolescents. This will make it possible to document, for the first time in Quebec, incidences of victimization experienced within the family, at school and within the community. This innovative work is enabling a comprehensive study of the different forms of victimization (abuse, exposure to violence, assault, intimidation, sex crimes, etc.) and the places where it occurs (school, family, neighbourhood…), rather than considering them in isolation as was done in the past.

The group's work is proving particularly useful in monitoring victimization across the province and in providing an understanding of this phenomenon by identifying the risk factors and the impact of abuse on children and adolescents.


Groupe de recherche et d'action sur la victimisation des enfants


Marie-Andrée Poirier, Université de Montréal

Regular members

  • Claire Chamberland, Centre Jeunesse de Montréal
  • Marie-Ève Clément, Université du Québec en Outaouais
  • Louise Cossette, Université du Québec à Montréal
  • Annie Devault, Université du Québec en Outaouais
  • Diane Dubeau, Université du Québec en Outaouais
  • Sarah Dufour, Université de Montréal
  • Gilles Forget, Direction de la santé publique, Mtl-Centre
  • Ghaida Hassan, Université du Québec à Montréal
  • Sonia Hélie, Centre Jeunesse de Montréal
  • Lise Laporte, Université McGill
  • Chantal Lavergne, Centre Jeunesse de Montréal
  • Louise Lemay, Université de Sherbrooke
  • Claire Malo, Centre Jeunesse de Montréal
  • Pauline Morissette, Université de Montréal
  • Nico Trocmé, Université McGill
  • Geneviève Turcotte, Centre Jeunesse de Montréal