Building Connections: A Group Intervention for Mothers and Children Experiencing Violence in Relationships

Through this project, the Canadian Mothercraft Society helped mothers experiencing family violence learn about the impacts of violence on their parenting and their children’s development, while building mothers’ self-esteem and improving their positive parenting and healthy relationship skills. The intervention was delivered and evaluated across Canada through the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Community Action Program for Children (CAPC), Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program (CPNP), and Aboriginal Head Start in Urban and Northern Communities (AHSUNC) program sites. Staff training built awareness, capacity and confidence to better understand and support the needs of families experiencing family violence. 

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Final report:

Community of Practice Members

Mary Motz, Mothercraft

Debra Pepler, York University

Naomi Andrews, Mothercraft

Margaret Leslie, Mothercraft

Project Resources

  • An intervention manual was created and is available in EnglishFrench and for Aboriginal communities 
  • Mary Motz was interviewed for a podcast to be used as part of the MERTIL (My Early Relational Trauma informed Learning) project in Australia.  The podcast describes Building Connections; the trauma-informed resources we have developed;  how the project is supporting community-based projects across Canada to incorporate trauma-informed practice; and the theoretical frameworks used to inform practice at both Breaking the Cycle and in Building Connections.  The 11 minute podcast is available at: 
  • Zuberi, S., Motz, M., Leslie, M., & Pepler, D.J. (2018, November). Building Connections: Supporting the readiness and capacity of community-based projects to deliver a trauma-informed intervention. Zero to Three, 39(2), 21-25. 
  • Andrews, N. C. Z., Pepler, D. J., & Motz, M. (2019). Research and evaluation with community-based projects: Approaches, considerations, and strategies. American Journal of Evaluation, Vol 40(4), 548-561. 
  • Andrews, N. C., Motz, M., & Pepler, D. J. (2020). Developing and testing a readiness tool for interpersonal violence prevention partnerships with community‐based projects. Journal of Community Psychology. 
  • Andrews, N. C. Z., Motz, M., & Pepler, D. J. (2020). A national implementation of a community-based intervention for mothers experiencing violence in relationships. Journal of Family Psychology. 
  • Singh, C. D., Andrews, N. C. Z., Motz, M., Pepler, D. J., Leslie, M., & Zuberi, S. (2020). Trauma-informed and relational approaches to service provision: Building community-based project capacity to respond to interpersonal violence through a national initiative. BMC Public Health, 20 (1833), 1-13. 
  • The Building Connections Project National Training Webinar delivered live on October 13, 2016 is available in English and French on Mothercraft Society’s website: