Biography of Mireille Cyr
For Children’s and Families’ Well-being
Dr. Mireille Cyr is a psychologist, clinician and researcher. A team player and generous with her time, she’s skilled at mobilizing people around common causes. She has been instrumental in advancing knowledge about sexual assault of children, particularly girls. With more than 25 years of research behind her, she has given police officers the tools to conduct exploratory interviews in a non-suggestive manner with children suspected of being sexual assault victims. She also trains social workers to take into account the needs of these children’s mothers, who are the secondary victims.
She has a busy career as full professor at the Université de Montréal, where she lectures, does research and outreach. Whether in the university classroom or in her sessions with front-line practitioners, teaching is a prime concern for Dr. Cyr, because she wants to ensure that theoretical knowledge and recent research findings in psychology can be applied in the field. As a teacher, her approach is both rigorous and practical. She has a talent for engaging front-line practitioners in research questions, enabling them to step back and reflect on their own practices and possibly develop new knowledge and tools they can use in their work.
Because many of the people who came to the university’s psychology clinic were seeking help in the aftermath of a sexual assault, Mireille Cyr decided to focus on this problem. In 2011, after having worked with different research groups, she became the Scientific Director of the Centre interdisciplinaire sur les problèmes conjugaux et les agressions sexuelles (Interdisciplinary Research Centre on Intimate Relationship Problems and Sexual Abuse). She was able to bring together researchers and clinicians around common goals, namely to continually improve knowledge and services for sexual assault survivors and families affected by domestic violence and other difficulties. Dr. Cyr’s leadership, her practical approach and research findings on sexual assault and its psychological repercussions led researchers and clinical partners to develop innovative projects to serve these patients’ needs.
She contributed to the creation and is the co-chair of the Centre d’expertise Marie-Vincent, which treats sexual assault survivors aged 12 and under, and their families. She has since shared a research chair with her colleague Martine Hébert dedicated to this clientele. She also made sure that the interview and investigation guide produced by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Protocol was translated into French. The guide is used to reduce interviewers’ use of suggestive and leading questions when sexual assault is suspected. Her reputation has gone beyond our borders and several times a year she does training sessions and gives papers, mostly in Europe. In the course of her diverse experiences she has had to develop remarkable intervention skills to enable her to adapt the clinical content of her training sessions to different groups.
Mireille Cyr knows how to provide support to the people around her by emphasizing their strong points and resolving difficulties. Today, her professional and personal life makes her a leader in her field. She is a woman of distinction committed to children’s well-being.