The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State (Article 16 (3), Universal Declaration of Human Rights).
The family, as the fundamental group of society and the natural environment for the growth and well-being of all its members and particularly children, should be afforded the necessary protection and assistance so that it can fully assume its responsibilities within the community [and] the child, for the full and harmonious development of his or her personality, should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding (Preamble, United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child).
In Family Social Sciences, we devote our research, teaching and service to upholding these principles. We educate students about the forces that threaten families’ well-being at all levels, from the individual to the community to the culture. We conduct research on the forces within families that threaten the well-being of their individual members. And we provide service to the local, provincial, national and international communities by advocating for the services and policies that will recognize the needs and rights of families and their members.
Our program comprises five areas of focus. In the Aging area, we teach and conduct research upholding the right of older people to life and death with dignity. In the Child and Adolescent Development area, we study and promote the factors that enable children to realize their right to develop to their full potential. In the area of Family Economic Health, we identify means of upholding families’ rights to an existence worthy of human dignity, to work, to equal pay and to social protection. In the Family Violence and Conflict Resolution area, we uphold the right to live free of family violence. In Social Development, we address the realization of social and cultural rights without discrimination.
Dr. Brownridge's research focuses on the right to live free of family violence. He has published scores of articles and three books on family violence, with a particular emphasis on vulnerable populations that are under-researched and under-served. Dr. Brownridge has presented his research in numerous locales across the world including Canada, the United States, United Kingdom, Portugal and Hong Kong.
Dr. Durrant conducts research on children’s right to protection, framed within principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. She has published rights-based articles on violence against children in the International Journal of Children’s Rights, Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics; Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma; International Journal of Child Abuse and Neglect; and Social Welfare and Family Law, as well as a chapter in A Question of Commitment: Children’s Rights in Canada.” She also has written two books, one for parents and one for teachers, that explain non-violent discipline from a child rights perspective. She has provided training on non-violent discipline in Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, and Fiji. She is co-editing a volume entitled, Global Pathways to Abolishing Physical Punishment: Realizing Children's Rights.
Dr. Durrant has made presentations on children’s rights to protection at the United Nations in New York and Geneva, as well as to government officials in the UK, New Zealand, Greece, Mongolia, Japan and Taiwan. She has provided expert testimony to the New Zealand Government’s Select Committee on amending the Criminal Code to ban physical punishment of children, as well as to Canada’s Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs. She was a member of the Research Advisory Committee to the United Nations Secretary-General’s Global Study on Violence against Children and a member of the Advisory Committee to the Canadian Incidence Study on Reported Child Abuse and Neglect – Second Cycle. She was an expert witness in the Constitutional challenge to Section 43 of the Criminal Code, which was heard by the Supreme Court of Canada. She is a member of the Children’s Rights Academic Network, coordinated by Landon Pearson at Carleton University. She is the lead author of the Joint Statement on Physical Punishment of Children and Youth, a research-based document aimed at increasing awareness of children’s right to protection in Canada. This document has been cited by Senate Committees and endorsed by more than 350 professional organizations in Canada.
Dr. Eni focuses her research on the rights of indigenous people to health, social and economic equity. She emphasizes the fact that worldwide inequities between populations evidence pervasive un-wellness governance. Dr. Eni is the research director of the Indigenous Health and Social Justice Research Group in the Department of Family Social Sciences at the University of Manitoba. She is an assistant professor in both the departments of Family Social Sciences (Faculty of Human Ecology) and Community Health Sciences (Faculty of Medicine). She is a research associate of the Manitoba First Nation Centre for Aboriginal Health Research. Her research spans across a vast geography that includes collaboration with researchers in Canada, United States, New Zealand, Australia, Israel, Guatemala, and Brazil.
Dr. Eni’s research focuses on reproductive, maternal and infant health; social determinants of health; programming for health equity; and community-based, participatory and emancipation research methodologies.
She is currently writing a book on the Armenian genocide emphasizing genocide as the primary plague of the twentieth century. Two more books are soon to hit the press: one on youth pregnancy and parenting in First Nation communities; the other on un-colonizing childbearing and fair access to healthcare for Indigenous women in Canada.
Dr. Eni has worked in inner city and remote reserve communities for twenty years. She is a Jewish woman of Arabian decent and an immigrant from the Middle East.
Dr. Mignone is involved in research and development projects linked to Indigenous peoples’ rights, health equity, and social development of marginalized communities. Among the specific aspects of his work are the right to self-determination, livelihood security, and access to health care. Dr. Mignone has worked with human rights organizations as a mental health therapist for victims of state repression. He also has strong and longstanding linkages with human rights organizations in Latin America, particularly Argentina. Dr. Mignone’s course on Social Development Policies (FMLY 4012), teaches policymaking and the effects of policy on the rights of populations. His course Social Development in Theory and Practice (FMLY 7930) teaches students how vulnerable populations are impacted by structural factors that curtail their rights.
Dr. Robles’ teaching and research interests are in human rights and development, with a particular focus on Latin America. He is a Peruvian-born Canadian scholar educated in Brazil, the United States, and Canada. Dr. Robles has a rich cross-cultural academic experience: He has lived, worked, and traveled in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. He was also actively involved with Amnesty International in Brazil, the US and Canada. Dr. Robles takes a human rights approach to his courses: Introduction to Social Development; Development, Conflict and Displacement; Theories of Social Development; and Globalization, Families, and Communities. Both his graduate and undergraduate courses have a strong emphasis on human rights. Dr. Robles was a board member and past President of the Spence Neighbourhood Association (SNA), Winnipeg. He was also Conference Chair (2004-2008) for the Canadian Association for the Study of International Development (CASID). Currently, he is an International Development Adviser for the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace.
Dr. Roger holds a Masters in Education (Applied Psychology) from the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education, and, a Ph.D. in Sociology and Equity Studies in Education from the University of Toronto. She has been certified as a Clinical Psychotherapist and Supervisor in Ontario and was in private practice for several years in Toronto. In her current research, Dr. Roger asks questions about care in the context of end of life/terminal medical conditions and aging, and how social aspects of health and well-being interact with families and our communities. She has also worked internationally, at the federal and provincial, as well as the local community level on related initiatives.
Prof. Bednar holds an M.Sc. and teaches in both Family Social Sciences and the Department of Women's and Gender Studies. Her research and teaching focus has been on the rights of women within the family, and the invisibility of women’s work within the family and the home. Her teaching philosophy is based on principles of social justice. Among her teaching objectives is to promote students’ ability to analyze and develop policies that promote human rights and facilitate healthy familial relationships.