Call for proposals: Supporting the health of survivors of family violence

This Invitation to Submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) is now closed. The following is for information purposes only. View descriptions of currently funded projects.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is pleased to invite eligible organizations to submit applications to establish and advance community-based and multi-sectoral projects to address the health needs of victims of domestic violence and child abuse and those at risk of these forms of violence.

This Call for Proposals is a two-step process. The first step is the submission of a Letter of Intent. Applicants whose Letters of Intent are successful will be invited to submit a full proposal.

Letters of Intent must be submitted by January 22, 2016.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is committed to fostering collaborations that will increase the reach and impact of our investments. As appropriate, we work with applicants who have been successful in the Letter of Intent phase to turn good ideas into great collaborations that benefit more Canadians.

You have questions? Visit our FAQ section.

Section 1 – Overview

Domestic violence and child abuse are serious public health issues affecting Canadians, their families, and communities. Victims of domestic violence and child abuse require immediate and ongoing support to address their physical and mental health needs and to reduce the longer-term health impacts of violence.

The research evidence points to the lifelong health effects of violence. Women abused by their partners experience high rates of injury, chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance use problems. Children who have been abused or who have been exposed to domestic violence need immediate attention to support their recovery and help mitigate health problems later in life (e.g., mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, self-harm, and risk-taking behaviours). Appendix A provides a detailed summary of domestic violence and child abuse in Canada.

Supporting victims of violence is complex and requires collaboration across sectors with complementary sets of expertise. Community-based organizations, such as those in the health, violence prevention, child welfare, shelter, justice, and law enforcement sectors, are front-line points of contact for victims that can help address their needs after experiences of violence. Integrating programs across sectors is a promising model for supporting victims, to ensure their ongoing safety, and improve their mental and physical well-being. Effective program models, tools, and information are needed to assist community-based organizations in meeting the needs of their clients.

Projects funded under this Call for Proposals will address gaps in current knowledge about the effective design and delivery of community level and multi-sectoral programs that address the physical and mental health needs of victims of domestic violence and child abuse. 

Section 2 – Objectives of this Funding Opportunity

  • Support innovation in designing, delivering, and evaluating community programs that address the physical and mental health needs of victims of domestic violence and child abuse. (Note that health care and treatment activities are not included in this funding opportunity, see Section 5).
  • Promote the use of trauma-informed approaches that tailor information, resources, and programs in ways that take into account the violence and trauma that victims have experienced and take specific measures to avoid re-traumatizing them.
  • Develop, enhance, or expand integration across community services for victims of domestic violence and child abuse, with emphasis on collaborative models, such as those delivered by child advocacy centres so that the health sector is connected to the social, justice, and law enforcement sectors.
  • Fill gaps in information and resources as part of community-based organizations’ programs to support the health of victims of domestic violence and child abuse, with emphasis on meeting the needs of women and children who have experienced, or are at risk of, harmful practices such as female genital mutilation and honour-based violence.
  • Provide new evidence based on comprehensive evaluations with clear indicators of results so that this initiative supports the implementation of sustained effective community-level programs.

Section 3 - Principles

The following principles should be applied in developing applications for this funding opportunity.


Trauma-informed practice is a client-centred model that is built on knowledge about the impact of violence and trauma on people’s lives and health. It requires programs to integrate this knowledge into all aspects of practice and programming in ways that foster their clients’ safety, respect and empowerment. Trauma-informed practice in health promotion is an emerging and innovative approach that can help build resilience and reduce the negative health impacts for victims of violence.

Multi-sectoral and multi-agency collaboration

Supporting victims of violence is complex and requires collaboration across sectors. Multi-sectoral approaches that involve organizations from various segments of society (e.g., non-profit, governmental, for-profit, academia) with complementary sets of expertise (e.g., violence against women, health, and/or justice/law enforcement) are required to address complex social issues like domestic violence.


Community-based interventions aim to strengthen the capacity of individuals and organizations at the community level to address the health of victims of domestic violence or child abuse. Enhancing multi-sectoral or multi-agency collaboration, as described above, can help improve the system response to victims of violence at the community level. Community-based interventions include providing accurate information that empowers individuals to take action and provides the linkages to appropriate community services. For newcomers to Canada this is essential as lack of information in multiple languages is a barrier to women and children receiving the help they may need.

Cultural Sensitivity

Understanding the cultural contexts of populations is an essential element in designing and delivering information and health programs appropriately and effectively. Cultural contexts and values have a strong influence on health-related behaviours. Applicants to this funding opportunity must demonstrate their experience, knowledge and understanding of culture as it pertains to the implementation of their proposed project.


Evidence is central to this funding opportunity to ensure that projects are results-based. Evidence is needed to support the rationale for the proposed intervention, the specific population being targeted, and the intervention being implemented
Evidence can include review of peer-reviewed and grey literature related to scientific studies from all disciplines (e.g., epidemiology, social sciences). Where evidence of the effectiveness of a proposed intervention does not exist (e.g., because the intervention is new), the proposed approach must be based on a clearly articulated and plausible theoretical basis.

Health Equity

Heightened efforts to address the needs of populations that experience disproportionate levels of domestic violence or child abuse, such as Aboriginal women, can help reduce health inequities between different population groups in Canada. As much as possible, data collected through interventions should enable health equity analysis by examining impact on sub-populations (e.g., by sex/gender, Aboriginal status, socio-economic status).

Section 4 – Organizational and Collaboration Capacity

This Call for Proposals supports collaboration amongst organizations that may not traditionally collaborate. At a minimum, it requires organizations working directly in the fields of domestic violence and child abuse (e.g. women’s shelters and transition houses, child advocacy centres, and others) to collaborate with those working in the health field (e.g., mental health programs, child health and early child development programs, etc.). Collaborators from other sectors are also encouraged.

Applicants for funding must include multi-sectoral or multi-agency collaborations that include:

  • At least one collaborating organization that has expertise in the areas of domestic violence and/or child abuse
  • At least one collaborating organization that has expertise in public health
  • Evaluators or researchers with an understanding of the complexity of working with victims of violence, and experience in the violence or related fields required

Applicants must demonstrate the following organizational and collaboration capacities:

  • Understanding of the complexity of health and social issues related to the provision of programs for victims of domestic violence and child abuse
  • Experience engaging with populations who face heightened risks of domestic violence and/or child abuse
  • Previous success in developing and maintaining collaborations in multi-sectoral or multi-agency projects for a minimum of two years
  • Compatibility between the mandates of collaborating organizations
  • Experience in conducting intervention research and/or outcome evaluation

Section 5 – Exclusions

Interventions that address the following types of violence will NOT be considered under this investment at this time:

  • Bullying of any kind (e.g., cyber-bullying)
  • Gang or other forms of collective violence, including armed violence
  • Self-inflicted violence (e.g., suicide)

The following type of interventions will NOT be supported through this investment:

  • Primary health care, including treatment or therapy

Section 6 – Funding Details and Requirements

6.1     Amount Payable and Duration
The value of funding per project is a minimum of $125,000 annually. Projects can be a minimum of 2 years in duration and a maximum of 5 years.

6.2     Stacking Provisions

Proposals must disclose all sources of funds received for the proposed project, including funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada, Health Canada, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, other federal departments, other levels of government, charitable or not-for profit foundations or organizations, and private sector companies. Projects are also required to report to the Agency any additional funds received to support the project or to augment activities of the project during the course of the project. This applies to funding from all sources.

Section 7 – Application Process

The full application process will consist of two stages. The first stage of application is the submission of a Letter of Intent template.

The Letter of Intent is a competitive process and all submissions are subject to Agency internal review. Organizations with Letters of Intent deemed to best fit with the overall goals of the funding program will be invited to submit full Proposals. Applicants with ineligible, incomplete or unsuccessful submissions will not be invited to submit a full Proposal, but may submit a revised Letter of Intent as appropriate. Applicants will be notified by the Agency within 45 days about the outcome of their Letters of Intent submission.

The full Proposal will ask for more detailed information to demonstrate the applicability of the proposed project to the Call for Proposals as well as applicants’ capacity to successfully conduct the proposed project.

7.1     Letter of Intent Submission

The Letter of Intent submission requires applicants to complete a Letter of Intent template. Please contact us via email to receive a copy of the template. Letters of Intent must be no more than 15 pages long. Appendices that demonstrate the evidence-base, such as literature reviews, needs assessments, and past evaluation results, are permitted.

The Letter of Intent template includes the following sections:

  • Project Overview
  • Project Description
  • Evidence for Project
  • Intervention Research
  • Organizational and Collaboration Capacity

The assessment criteria for each section are detailed in the template.

7.2     Letter of Intent Deadline for Submission

Letters of Intent must be submitted by January 22, 2016. Funding will be subject to budgetary and project considerations.

7.3     Submitting your Letter of Intent

All Letters of Intent must be submitted using the Agency Letter of Intent template. To obtain a copy of the template, or for additional information about this Call for Proposals, please contact us via email.

All Letters of Intent must be submitted via email. Applications will be acknowledged by email. Please ensure your email address is included in your Letter of Intent application so that the Agency may contact you.

7.4     Full Proposal Requirements

Applicants whose Letters of Intent are successful will be invited to submit a full Proposal for funding consideration. Applicants will be required to complete and submit a full Proposal template that elaborates on the Letter of Intent submission. Full Proposals will undergo a review process and, subject to Ministerial approval and available budgets, successful applicants will be awarded funding.

Detailed assessment criteria for the full Proposal will be provided in the template with an invitation to submit. In general, applicants will be asked to demonstrate that:

  • applicants meet the eligibility criteria and have the capacity to undertake the project
  • collaboration between multi-sector agencies brings the necessary expertise and capacity to the project
  • the project aligns with the purpose, principles and objectives outlined in the Call for Proposals
  • the project activities are appropriately aligned with project objectives
  • the rationale for the proposed project is supported by evidence
  • the project activities and anticipated results have potential for applicability across Canada
  • the project has a performance measurement plan in place to monitor and assess its activities and outputs
  • the project includes a rigorous intervention research component that will measure outcomes of the project (e.g., behaviour or system-level changes) and contribute to the evidence-base
  • the budget is appropriate for the proposed project activities and outputs

7.5     Full Proposal Submission

The invitation to submit a full Proposal will include a proposal template and submission details.

Section 8 – Eligibility

8.1     Eligible Recipients

The following types of organizations are eligible for funding:

  • Not-for-profit voluntary organizations and corporations
  • For-profit organizations
  • Unincorporated groups, societies and coalitions
  • Provincial, territorial, regional, and municipal governments and agencies
  • Organizations and institutions supported by provincial and territorial governments (regional health authorities, schools, post-secondary institutions, etc.)
  • Aboriginal organizations

Non-Canadian recipients may be considered.

For-profit organizations are required to engage and collaborate with non-profit organizations.

8.2     Eligible Expenses

Eligible costs include such expenses as personnel, travel and accommodations, materials, equipment, rent and utilities, evaluation/dissemination, or “other” costs related to the approved project. A detailed budget will be required as part of the full Proposal (stage two) in the application process.

No project expenses may be incurred prior to the acceptance of the Grant Agreement or Contribution Agreement by all parties.

8.3     Ineligible Activities and Expenses

The following activities and expenses are not eligible for funding:

  • pure research in any discipline
  • provision of services that are the responsibility of other levels of government
  • costs of ongoing activities for the organization
  • stand-alone activities such as audiovisual production or website/smartphone application development and maintenance (a "stand-alone activity" would be considered as such when there is no program intervention with a priority population(s)/audience, etc.)
  • conferences, symposia, and workshops as stand-alone projects
  • capital costs such as the purchase of land, buildings, or vehicles
  • ongoing operational support or overhead/administrative fees expressed as a percentage of ongoing activities of an organization
  • unidentified miscellaneous costs
  • travel and hospitality expenses that exceed the Treasury Board rates;
  • renting charges for space and computer use when already owned by the recipient organization
  • membership fees

Section 9 – Official Language Requirements

The Government of Canada wishes, among other things and where appropriate, to promote English and French in Canadian society and support the development of official-languages minority communities. To support the Government in achieving these objectives, you must identify the priority population for the project and take necessary measures to communicate and provide project related services to this population in English and in French, as the case may require.

Official language minority communities include Francophones living outside the province of Quebec and Anglophones within the province of Quebec. The recipient must work in collaboration with relevant networks and demonstrate in the project implementation plan, how it will serve, if necessary, the official-language minority communities, as well as the overall population.

All federal institutions providing grants or contributions for projects/activities involving services to a public composed of members of both official languages must take the necessary measures to ensure that the recipients respect the spirit and intent of the Official Languages Act (OLA). Where in the opinion of the Agency there is a demand, the Recipient must ensure that services and documentation intended for public use be available in both of Canada's official languages as per the requirements of the Official Languages Act. The recipient is also expected to report on their actions with regards to official languages communities.

Section 10 – Gender-based Analysis Requirement

The Government of Canada is committed to conducting Gender-based Analysis (now called Gender-based Analysis Plus “GBA+”) on all legislation, policies, and programs. GBA+ incorporates consideration of gender as well as other identity factors such as age, education, language, geography, culture, and income. Applicants are expected to incorporate these considerations into their Proposals.

Section 11 – Lobbyist Registration Act

Recent amendments to the Lobbyists Registration Act and Regulations have broadened the definition of lobbying. We encourage applicants to review the revised Act and Regulations to ensure compliance. For additional information, visit the Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists website or contact the Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists directly.

Section 12 – Contact Us

More questions? Visit our FAQ section.

To obtain additional information about this invitation to submit a Letter of Intent, please contact us via email.


The Public Health Agency of Canada is under no obligation to enter into a funding agreement as a result of this invitation to submit a Letter of Intent.


  • reject any submission received in response to this invitation;
  • accept any submission in whole or in part; and
  • cancel and/or re-issue this invitation to submit a Letter of Intent at any time.

Please note that the Agency will not reimburse an applicant for costs incurred in the preparation and/or submission of a Letter of Intent or a full Proposal in response to this invitation.

Appendix A

Summary of Domestic Violence and Child Abuse in Canada

Violence affects all Canadians and can happen in all types of families and relationships. While it affects people of every race, religion, and sexual orientation, certain populations face high risks of violence, including women, Aboriginal peoples, and some newcomers to Canada. Contextual and social factors such as relationships between women and men, gender differences in control over resources, culture, and geography may also affect risks and access to supportive resources.

Violence between individuals includes physical, mental, sexual, or financial abuse, or neglect.
For this investment, domestic violence refers to any form of abuse by a current or former partner or spouse. Approximately 30% of women in Canada have experienced domestic violence in their lifetimes. Evidence suggests that this statistic does not represent the true proportion of victims in Canada because many do not report their abuse. Data from a Canadian self-reported survey indicated that only 24% of women who had been abused reported it to the police. Rates of domestic violence are higher for women compared to men in every age group, and Aboriginal women experience rates more than two times higher than non-Aboriginal women.

Child abuse refers to any form of abuse or neglect against children 18 years old and younger. In addition to directly experiencing abuse, child exposure to domestic violence can have effects on children that are similar to those experienced as a result of direct abuse. Child exposure to domestic violence includes direct witnessing of domestic violence or indirect knowledge of domestic violence through overhearing it or seeing the results of it. A recent Canadian study showed that 32% of adults experienced some form of abuse as a child; more than a quarter (26%) of adult Canadians reported physical abuse in childhood, 10% reported childhood sexual abuse, and 8% reported childhood exposure to domestic violence. Boys and girls experience similar rates of all forms of child abuse, except sexual abuse, where girls face higher rates than boys.

Research indicates that domestic violence and child abuse cause a range of short-term and long-term health problems and can even result in death. The impacts of violence can be physical, emotional, and behavioural. For example, women who have been abused by partners suffer high rates of injury, chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance use problems. If a child is exposed to violence or has been abused, the effects on health can last a lifetime. Childhood abuse is associated with chronic diseases later in life such as heart disease, mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and problematic behaviours such as self-harm and risk taking.

Research shows that the longer and more severe the abuse, the worse the health impacts. There is also evidence that suggests that children and youth who witness violence between their parents, compared to those who do not, are more likely to seek medical attention for eating disorders, sleeping and pain problems, poor mental health, and substance use problems. They are more vulnerable to suicide.

Specific barbaric cultural practices can be forms of both child abuse and domestic violence. ‘Honour’-based violence is a form of violence perpetrated against a family member, usually female, who is perceived to have brought shame or dishonour to the family through conduct such as dating, refusing an arranged marriage, or divorce. Early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation are forms of child abuse. These practices do not exclusively occur in any particular ethnic, religious, or cultural community. They are illegal in Canada but are accepted in some cultures, and are rooted in the family context – it is family members, usually parents, who arrange for forced marriage or female genital mutilation.

Women and girls who experience, or are at risk for experiencing, such barbaric cultural practices may face barriers in protecting themselves and in seeking assistance due to isolation, lack of language proficiency, lack of awareness of rights, and lack of economic independence. Any measures to inform those at risk of these practices must be undertaken with caution and sensitivity to protect ongoing safety and security.

Glossary of Terms

Child abuse refers to any form of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, or neglect against children 18 years old and younger. In addition to directly experiencing abuse, child exposure to domestic violence can have effects on children that are similar to those experienced as a result of direct abuse. Child exposure to domestic violence includes direct witnessing of domestic violence or indirect knowledge of domestic violence through overhearing it or seeing the results of it.

Collaboration requires organizations to engage in a high degree of mutual planning and management, such that strategies, expertise, and resources of all collaborators combine towards more comprehensive and innovation outcomes.

To be community-based means to engage a group of people or organizations in joint action on a topic of mutual interest. Communities are groups or organizations linked by geographical boundaries, socio-cultural characteristics, social ties, or common experiences or interests.
Domestic violence refers to any form of physical, emotional, sexual, or financial abuse by a current or former partner or spouse. These types of abuse are also referred to as intimate partner violence.

Health equity means that all people can reach their full health potential and should not be disadvantaged from attaining it because of their race, ethnicity, religion, gender, age, social class, socioeconomic status, or other socially determined circumstance. Health inequalities become health inequities when the differences in health status are: systematic— not distributed randomly but show a consistent pattern across the population; produced by social, economic, environmental, and cultural factors— not biologically determined; and unfair and preventable—when knowledge exists to reduce the differences, yet action has not been taken.

Health inequalities refer to measurable differences in health status experienced by different groups.

Health promotion is the process of enabling people to increase control over and improve their health. Health-promotion activities aim to create supportive environments; strengthen community awareness, and engagement; share information on available community supports; connect people to resources; and provide programs that help victims and their families develop skills to enhance their resilience.

Innovation refers to approaches that develop new and creative ways to address ongoing issues, including the provision of programs, collaboration strategies, and/or technological developments.

An intervention is a set of actions and practical strategies that aims to bring about positive changes in individuals, communities, organizations, or systems in a way that produces identifiable and measurable outcomes.

Intervention research is the use of scientific methods to produce knowledge about policy and program interventions that operate within or outside of the health sector and have the potential to impact health at the population level. The intervention research approach focuses on building knowledge on how the intervention process brings about change and the context in which the intervention worked best and for which populations.

Multi-sectoral relates to the coordination of efforts among a range of government organizations and/or non-government organizations from various segments of society, including communities, academia, the charitable and not-for profit organizations, and the private for-profit companies. In the context of domestic violence and child abuse, engaging multiple sectors can also mean including those that address health and/or social issues from differing and/or complementary perspectives (e.g., justice system, education system, family services, recreation). By engaging multiple sectors of society, collaborators can leverage knowledge, expertise, reach, and resources, in working toward the shared goal of producing better health outcomes for Canadians

Resilience is a dynamic process in which a range of factors interact to enable an individual to develop, maintain, or regain mental health, despite exposure to adversity such as domestic violence and child abuse.

Trauma-informed practice is an approach to the provision of programs and services that is client-centred and built on knowledge about the impact of violence and trauma on people’s lives and health. It requires professionals to integrate this knowledge into all aspects of practice and programming in ways that facilitate clients’ control over their experience and foster safety, respect, and empowerment.

Harmful practices are specific forms of family violence such as female genital mutilation, "honour"-based violence, and early, forced, or polygamous marriage. These harmful practices can have negative physical and mental health impacts, including depression, anxiety, and (in the case of female genital mutilation) chronic pain, infection, and difficulty in childbirth.

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