Ramona Alaggia

Associate Professor; Factor-Inwentash Chair in Children’s Mental Health; B.A./B.S.W. - McMaster University; M.S.W. - University of Toronto; Ph.D. - University of Toronto
Phone Number: 
(416) 978-1923
Research Interests: 
  • Children’s mental health and family practice
  • Disclosure processes involving abuse and violence
  • Effects and treatment of sexually abused children
  • Intimate partner violence, impact on children and inter-disciplinary responses
  • Development and evaluation of parenting programs

Dr. Ramona Alaggia uses her considerable experience in the field of children’s mental health working with children and families to advance the work of the Factor-Inwentash Chair in Children’s Mental Health in increasing awareness and knowledge of child and adolescent mental health issues. She is the Co-ordinating Chair of the “Children and their Families” specialization stream in the MSW Program. Dr. Alaggia centres her work around issues of child sexual abuse, intimate partner violence, children exposed to domestic violence, and inter-disciplinary responses to violence and abuse. Her teaching is focused on evidence informed practices in individual and family interventions for youth with conduct and anxiety disorders, depression, and trauma based disorders. Dr. Alaggia was recently awarded the SSHRC Insight Grant for a three year study to further examine vulnerabilities and resilience in children exposed to intimate partner violence, and is working with a team of prominent FIFSW and OISE researchers in partnership with a knowledge mobilization unit based at the University of Edinburgh. She has had two previous studies funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada – one on policy and practice barriers to disclosure of woman abuse including intersections with child welfare systems, immigration policies and mandatory charging policies, and another on identifying psychological, familial, cultural and environmental factors that contribute to disclosure of child sexual abuse. Funded by the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services a previous study lead by Dr. Alaggia examined “differential response” practices in cases of domestic violence in the child welfare system. She has co-edited a book on family violence, Cruel but not Unusual: Violence in Canadian Families, now in its 2nd Edition covering the issues facing families in Canada today. Dr. Alaggia is also active in program development and evaluation of community-based programs for children and their families and works collaboratively with agencies such as Child Development Institute and Yorktown Family Services. Dr. Alaggia’s contributions in the children’s mental health field as a clinical director, family therapist, group counsellor, and expertise in conducting trauma assessments, treatment groups for abused adolescents, and family treatment in cases of intra-familial sexual abuse assists in her current practice. She counsels adolescents and young adults with their families, and provides individual therapy for clients dealing with traumatic childhoods. Dr. Alaggia teaches Social Work Practice with Families, Foundations of Theory, Knowledge and Values in Social Work and Qualitative Research Methods.


Newly Released Book: Cruel but not Unusual: Violence in Canadian Families by Alaggia, R. & Vine, C. (Eds.) 2nd Ed. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press.

Book Chapters: 

Alaggia, R. & Maiter, S. (2012). Domestic Violence and Child Abuse: Issues for Immigrant and Refugee Families. In Alaggia, R., & Vine, C., Cruel but not Unusual: Violence in Canadian Families, 2nd Edition, Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press.

Jenney, A. & Alaggia, R. (2012). Children’s Exposure to Domestic Violence: Integrating Policy, Research, and Practice to Address Children’s Mental Health. In Alaggia, R., & Vine, C., Cruel but not Unusual: Violence in Canadian Families, 2nd Edition, Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press.

Maiter, S., Alaggia, R., & Mutta, B. (2013). Double Jeopardy: Racialized Families and Failure to Protect. pp. 81-118. In Carlton, R., Krane, J., Lapierre, S., Richardson, C., Strega, S. (Eds). Failure to Protect: Moving Beyond Gendered Responses. BC: Fernwood Publishing.

Alaggia, R. & Csiernik, R. (2010). Coming home: Rediscovering the family inaddictions counselling. In Csiernik, R. & Rowe, W. (Eds.) Responding to the Oppression of Addictions: Canadian Social Work Perspectives. 2nd edition. Toronto: Canadian Scholar’s Press.

Francis, A., Alaggia, R. & Csiernik, R. (2010). Multiple barriers: The intersection of substance abuse in the lives of women disclosing and seeking help for intimate partner violence, In Csiernik, R. & Rowe, W. (Eds.) Responding to the Oppression of Addictions: Canadian Social Work Perspectives. 2nd edition. Toronto: Canadian Scholar’s Press.

Publications In Refereed Journals: 

Alaggia, R., & Mishna, F. (2014). Self psychology and male child sexual abuse: Healing relational betrayal. Clinical Social Work Journal. 2(4), 398-415.

Logie, C., Alaggia, R., & Rwigema, M.J. (2014). A social ecological approach to understanding correlates of lifetime sexual assault among sexual minority women in Toronto, Canada: Results from a cross-sectional internet-based survey. Health Education Research.

Craig, S. L., McInroy, L., Alaggia, R., & McCready, L. (2014). Like picking up a seed, but you haven’t planted it”: Queer youth analyze the It Gets Better Project. International Journal of Child, Youth and Family Studies. 1: 204–219.

Alaggia, R., Gadalla, T., Shlonsky, A., Jenney, A., & Daciuk, J. (2013). Does Differential Response Make a Difference:  Examining Domestic Violence Cases in Child Protection Services. Child & Family Social Work. DOI: 10.1111/cfs.12058.

Regehr, C., Alaggia, R., Dennis, J., Pitts, A. & Saini, M. (2013). Interventions to Reduce Distress in Adult Victims of Rape and Sexual Violence: A Systematic Review. Research on Social Work Practice, 23(3) pp. 255 – 263.

Alaggia, R., & Mishna, F. (2013). Self Psychology and Male Child Sexual Abuse: Healing Relational Betrayal. Clinical Social Work Journal. 36(3), 265-275.

Martin, J.J. & Alaggia, R. (2013). Sexual Abuse Images in Cyberspace: Expanding the Ecology of the Child, Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 22(4), 398-415.

Alaggia, R., Regehr, C., & Jenney, A. (2012). Risky Business: An Ecological Analysis of Intimate Partner Violence Disclosure. Research on Social Work Practice, 22(3), 301-12.

Alaggia, R. (2010). An Ecological Analysis of Child Sexual Abuse Disclosure: Considerations for Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, (19)1, 32-39.

Alaggia, R., Lambert, L., & Regehr, C. (2009). Where Is the Justice? Parental Experiences of the Canadian Justice System in Cases of Child Sexual Abuse. Family Court Review, Vol. 24, No. 4, 634-649.

Alaggia, R., Regehr, C., & Rischynski, G. (2009). Intimate Partner Violence and Immigration Laws in Canada: How Far Have We Come? International Journal of Psychiatry and the Law, 32 (6), 335-341.

Maiter, S., Stalker, C., & Alaggia, R. (2009). The Experiences of Minority Immigrant Families Receiving Child Welfare Services: Understanding Risk and Protective Factors, Families in Society, 90(1), 28-36.

Alaggia, R. & Millington, G. (2008) Male child sexual abuse: A phenomenology of betrayal. Clinical Journal of Social Work, 36(3), 265-275.

Dylan, A., Regehr, C, & Alaggia, R. (2008) And Justice for All?: Aboriginal Victims of Sexual Violence, Violence Against Women, 14(6), 678-696.

Regehr, C., Alaggia, R., Saini, M. & Lambert, L. (2008) Perspectives of Justice for Victims of Sexual Violence. Victims and Offenders 3(1), 99-113.

Alaggia, R., Jenney, A., Mazucca, J. & Redmond, M. (2007). In whose best interest? A Canadian case study of the impact of child welfare policies in cases of domestic violence, Journal of Brief Therapy and Crisis Intervention, 1-16.

Alaggia, R. & Turton, J. (2005). Against the odds: The impact of woman abuse on maternal response to disclosure of child sexual abuse. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 14 (4), 95-113.

Alaggia, R. & Kirshenbaum, S. (2005). Speaking the unspeakable: Exploring the impact of family dynamics on child sexual abuse disclosures. Families in Society, 86(2), 227-234.

Alaggia, R. (2005). Disclosing the trauma of child sexual abuse: A gender analysis. Journal of Loss and Trauma ,10 (5), 453-470.

Alaggia, R. (2004). Many ways of telling: Expanding conceptualization of child sexual abuse disclosure. Child Abuse & Neglect: An International Journal, 28(11), 1213-1227.

Alaggia R. (2002). Balancing acts: Re-conceptualizing support in maternal response to intrafamilial child sexual abuse. Clinical Social Work Journal, (30) 1, 41-56.