8 Methodology

The fifteen cases included in this book emerge from closed legal case files handled by Archana Medhekar Law Office and reflect the stories of racialized immigrant women who have experienced domestic violence in Canada and who have sought legal help. Permission to carry out this research was received from the Research Ethics Board of both Ryerson University and Sheridan College in June 2019.  All cases included in this research had taken place within the past ten years and had been closed for at least one year prior to the start of the research. This allowed for sufficient time to have passed between the time the case had been closed and the cases published in this book.


Care was taken to ensure that no woman felt pressured to participate in this study and that they granted consent and agreed to freely participate in the research. The law office of Archana Medhekar distributed a poster calling for voluntary participation in this project on her website. Past clients whose cases fit the eligibility criteria and who were interested in having their cases included in this study were asked to connect directly with Purnima George, one of the researchers. Upon being contacted by a potential participant, Purnima set up a phone meeting to describe the study, answer any questions, confirm that participants had the right to withdraw from the study at any time, and obtaining their informed consent. Having interested participants approach only one of the researchers was the way that the research team decided to mitigate any unintended influence on the women’s decision to participate in the study and to minimize the number of people who would know the identities of the research participants, thereby increasing confidentiality.

The research team took further steps to ensure that the identities of the participants remained confidential. Once informed consent had been received, the research team created case studies of the women’s stories primarily from copies of Pleadings to the family court. Additionally, the following documents were referenced as needed to better explain the complexity of each case: Family Court Documents (Answer, Reply, Affidavits such as: Affidavit in support of Custody and Access, and Affidavits in support of motions, Briefs such as: Case Conference Brief, Settlement Conference Brief, Trial Management Conference Brief, Court orders: Court orders and endorsements), Criminal court Records: (Police records such as copies of Information, 911 call transcripts), Immigration documents: (Copies of Application to the Immigration and Refugee Board and Orders), Other reports: Medical records, Access reports, S. 30 assessment reports, and Office of the Children's Lawyer (OCL) reports.

Pseudonyms were created for participants in the case studies to allow the reader to follow the narrative easily.  The completed case studies were shared with the respective participants for verification and their feedback incorporated into the final case study. Such member checking provided participants an opportunity to review and give approval regarding the way they have been represented in the case study. Participants were also provided information about crisis helplines they could access in case they felt re-traumatized after reading their cases.



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Domestic Violence in Immigrant Communities: Case Studies Copyright © 2020 by Ferzana Chaze, Bethany Osborne, Archana Medhekar and Purmina George is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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