Exploring the Impact of Gender and Disability Based Violence Among Students at Nova Scotia Universities

Research Purpose

The number of students with disabilities enrolling in post-secondary education (PSE) in Canada is on the rise. We know that there is a higher rate of gender-based violence experienced by people with disabilities. While PSE institutions have dedicated roles, resources and programming for gender-based violence, the distinct experiences of students with disabilities has largely been overlooked and there is a critical knowledge gap on gender and disability-based violence in PSE. To improve the quality of PSE for the growing number of students with disabilities in Nova Scotia, information about the reality of gender and disability-based violence for students is urgently needed. This project seeks to understand gender and disability-based violence and its impact on the educational experiences of students with disabilities within Nova Scotia universities. Specifically, we ask what impact does gender and disability based violence have on post-secondary students with disabilities in Nova Scotia and what are the barriers and facilitators to supporting these students?


Tammy Bernasky, Assistant Professor, Department of L’nu, Political and Social Studies, Cape Breton University, E-mail:, Phone: 902-563-1257
Sherry Costa-Lorenz, Executive Director, Nova Scotia League for Equal Opportunities, E-mail:, Phone: 902-455-6942
Katie Aubrecht, Associate Professor, Sociology, St. Francis Xavier University, E-mail:, Phone: 902-867-4845

Research Description

This research project is funded by the Change Lab Action Research Initiative. You are being asked to participate in an anonymous survey. You will be asked to answer questions related to your experience of disability and gender-based violence, its impacts, and your experience seeking support. Your contributions will help us understand the current situation for post-secondary students with disabilities in Nova Scotia who have experienced gender and disability based violence. It will help us to identify gaps in supports and to make recommendations to fill those gaps so as to ensure better outcomes for post-secondary students with disabilities at risk or experiencing violence.


Your survey will be stored on secure servers at St. Francis Xavier University and Cape Breton University. The information you share with us may be used to inform recommendations to improve support for post-secondary students with disabilities who have experienced violence. The findings will be reported without any identifying information. If you wish to be contacted for an interview, you will be asked to submit your contact information at the end of the survey. Please note that the researchers will view the survey data in aggregate form and will anonymize the individual surveys. Any data sent or stored online may be legally accessed by domestic or foreign authorities. Your employer may have legal access to any information that you send using employer-owned equipment. Please note that technical support employees at Cape Breton University and the survey company Qualtrics may access secure files to fulfill their duties.

Complete the survey.