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This axis aims to contribute to the development of epidemiological knowledge on the types of violence within the various life contexts of children, as well as their impacts on their psychosocial evolution.

Here are the two current projects:

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council sshrc-crsh (2016-2019)

Principal researcher 
Marie-Ève Clément, Ph.D.

Sara Dufour, Ph.D.
Marie-Hélène Gagné, Ph.D.
Sophie Gilbert, Ph.D.

Practitioners and professionals working with families play a central role in parental support. They influence all parents, whether they are vulnerable or not or already facing difficulties. Teachers, doctors, nurses, psychologists, social workers, psychoeducators, and educators are regularly asked by parents for information on parenting, particularly discipline. In addition, because they are closely involved in the lives of these families, they are best placed to identify parental difficulties. Studies show, however, that practitioners and professionals are not always trained or well equipped to advise parents on discipline and issues related to physical punishment or to identify situations that need to be reported to youth protection (e.g., abusive punishment). Furthermore, support and reporting practices are often coloured by the practitioners' own characteristics, their theoretical and legal knowledge, and their attitudes, as well as the social and cultural environment in which the families live . This can lead to sometimes false or distorted representations of physical aggression in a disciplinary context.

Based on the theoretical approach of social representations (Abric, 2011, Jodelet, 1994), the study focuses on the representations and practices of professionals regarding parental violence occurring in a disciplinary context, ranging from more common and minor behaviours, such as spanking, to more abusive behaviours, such as baby shaking, which they are required by law to report to the authorities. It focuses more specifically on the representations of corporal punishment, and the practices related to parental support and reporting to youth protection, of professionals working in health, social services, and education. It aims to document the content of their representations, including: 1) their knowledge of the legal context of parental corporal punishment, 2) their attitudes toward corporal punishment, and 3) their understanding of corporal punishment (e.g., cultural issues). Given the orientation function of social representations in guiding behaviours and practices, the study also aims to document 4) their support practices with parents in matters of discipline, and 5) their reporting practices vis-à-vis youth protection. Ultimately, the results of this study will make it possible to equip workers and professionals to better respond to the needs of parents, better identify their difficulties in exercising discipline, and thus act in order to prevent problems related to physical abuse due to unreasonable disciplinary practices toward children.

The study reached approximately 1,824 respondents who are members of a professional order or association in the health, social services and education sectors whom completed an online questionnaire (Lime Survey). To participate, they had to act directly with parents (or parental figures) with minor children at home as part of their daily practice.


*Menand, V., Clément, M.-È., & April, J. (soumis). Early childhood educators’ intention to provide support in the context of parental violence: The contribution of the theory of planned behavior. Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education.

Clément, M.-È. & Alain, M. (sous presse). Application de l’Entente multisectorielle relative aux enfants victimes de maltraitance; qu’en est-il de la formation des intervenantes et intervenants au Québec ? Intervention, 152.

Clément, M.-È., Dufour, S., Gagné, M.-H., & Gilbert, S. (2020). Prediction of health, education, and psychosocial professionals' attitudes in favor of parental use of corporal punishment. Child Abuse & Neglect, 109, 755-766.

Clément, M.-È. & *Menand, V. (2020). Travailler ensemble en amont pour mieux soutenir les familles. Mémoire remis à la Commission spéciale sur les droits des enfants et la protection de la jeunesse: Montréal.

Clément, M.-È. & Dufour, S. (2020). Attitudes et connaissances des professionnels de la santé, de l’éducation et des services sociaux face aux punitions corporelles et au signalement à la protection de la jeunesse. Conférence midi. Montréal : Institut Universitaire Jeunes en difficulté, CIUSSS centre-sud-de-l’Ile-de-Montréal

Clément, M.-È., Dufour, S., *Pelletier-Gagnon, H., & Poliquin, A. (2019). Les professionnels face aux situations de punitions corporelles et aux signalements pour abus physique à la protection de la jeunesse. 9e Congrès québécois sur la maltraitance envers les enfants et les adolescents. Montréal : Palais des congrès.

Clément, M.-È. & Dufour, S. (2019). Attitudes à l’endroit des punitions corporelles parentales et pratiques de soutien auprès des parents chez le personnel scolaire. 41st International School Psychology (ISPA) Conference, University of Basel, Switzerland.

Clément, M.-È., Dufour, S., Gagné, M.-H., & Gilbert, S. (2019). Attitudes des professionnels de la santé, de l’éducation et des services psychosociaux à l’égard des punitions corporelles infligées aux enfants. 87e congrès de l’ACFAS. Gatineau : UQO.

*Favre, M. & Clément, M.-È. (2019). L’influence des caractéristiques personnelles et professionnelles du psychoéducateur sur son intention de signaler l’abus physique au DPJ. 87e congrès de l’ACFAS. Gatineau : UQO.

Clément, M.-È., Gagné, M.-H., Dufour, S., & Frappier, J.-Y. (2019). Opinions et positions de médecins à l’endroit de la punition corporelle comme pratique parentale disciplinaire, Paediatrics and Child Health,

*Menand, V., Clément, M.-È., & April, J. (2019). Les intentions de soutien du personnel des milieux éducatifs préscolaires en contexte de pratiques disciplinaires coercitives. XVIIIe Congrès international de l’AIFREF. Schœlcher, Martinique.

Clément, M.-È., Dufour, S., & *Pelletier-Gagnon, H. (2019). Prédiction des attitudes stéréotypées des professionnels à l’endroit des parents issus de groupes culturels minoritaires. XVIIIe Congrès international de l’AIFREF. Schœlcher, Martinique.

Clément, M.-È. et al. (2019, février). Enquête sur les perceptions de la discipline parentale : Ce qu’en disent les éducatrices en petite enfance au Québec. Communication présentée au comité en abus physique du CISSSO, Gatineau, Québec.

Clément, M.-È., Gilbert, S., & Dufour, S. (2018). Social care professionals' beliefs toward mandatory reporting of child abuse. Internal Congress on Child Abuse & Neglect (IPSCAN) Caribbean Regional Conference. Montego Bay, Jamaica.

*Menand, V., Clément, M.-È., & April, J. (2018). Les attitudes et les pratiques de signalement des éducatrices des milieux de garde au Québec. Colloque de l'IUJD "Défis Jeunesse". Montréal, Québec.

Clément, M.-È. & Dufour, S. (2018). Professional attitudes towards corporal punishment and child abuse reporting in primary care settings. XXII Internal Congress on Child Abuse and Neglect (IPSCAN). Prague.

Clément, M.-È. & Dufour, S. (2018, octobre). Enquête sur les perceptions de la punition corporelle comme pratique parentale disciplinaire. Pratique en mouvement, 16, 32-35. Repéré à

The following fact sheets present the first results from the survey, presented according to the types of professionals and workers surveyed (in french only, expect for social workers):
⇒ Doctors
⇒ Early childhood educators
⇒ Psychoeducators
Social workers
⇒ Nurses
⇒ Community workers

* : Student

Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux
Institut de la Statistique du Québec
Lucie et André Chagnon Foundation
Chaire de recherche du Canada sur la violence faite aux enfants
Projet FQRSC « Violences conjugales et période périnatale »

Marie-Ève Clément, Ph.D.
Sylvie Lévesque, Ph.D.

This survey is the 4th edition of a provincial study that aims to document the extent, evolution and factors associated with physical and psychological violence and negligent behavior towards children in Quebec. Data collection was carried out in 2017 telephone mode from a representative sample of approximately 5,000 Quebec families.

Clément, M.-È., Julien, D., Lévesque, S, & Flores, J.(2019). La violence familiale dans la vie des enfants du Québec, 2018. Les attitudes parentales et les pratiques familiales. Résultats de la 4e édition de l’enquête, [En ligne], Québec, Institut de la statistique du Québec, 150 p. Document en ligne. 

See also the "highlights" (french only)

In the media (french only)
| La Presse (June 19, 2019)
| Le Journal de Montréal (June 20, 2019)
| Interview Puisqu'il faut se lever 98,5 FM (June 20, 2019)