Finding ways to stop domestic abuse earlier

Grants announced will help support community organizations as they provide programming for perpetrators of domestic violence

VICTORIA – How do you stop the potential for domestic abuse in its tracks – before a perpetrator strikes, victims go into hiding, charges are laid or a family breaks down?

That’s the question at the centre of Supporting Healthy Relationships. Developed to address a commitment in the Provincial Domestic Violence Plan, the Supporting Healthy Relationship project will bring together top B.C. service providers, evaluators and other experts.

The grants announced will help support community organizations as they provide programming for perpetrators of domestic violence – before they become involved with the criminal justice system.

Over the past two years, ministry staff has been examining what works best to prevent and stop domestic violence. This work involved consulting front-line service providers, plus reviewing relevant academic research.

The Province identified 11 not-for-profit community organizations that deliver domestic violence prevention/intervention programming to perpetrators prior to the charge, conviction or sentencing stage of the criminal justice process.

Each group is receiving $60,000 to:

• Expand existing programming – for example, by serving more participants, developing new topics or enhancing support to victims.

• Deliver its programming – by Aug. 31, 2018

• Evaluate – examine changes in participants’ behaviour and attitudes about domestic violence, as well as victim-related outcomes. Dr. Jennifer Wong of SFU’s school of criminology will lead the evaluation team, in partnership with the Ending Violence Association of B.C. (EVA BC).

• Collaborate – join in a “community of practice” with other grant recipients, government partners and the evaluation team. This community of practice will promote collaboration, knowledge-sharing and improved practices and outcomes among the 11 funded organizations.

“It’s not enough to hold perpetrators accountable through the courts. We need to explore how we can stop family violence sooner” said Mike Morris, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.

“By the time a perpetrator gets to the court system, it’s often too late; early intervention is important in ensuring that potential perpetrators can get the support they need to change their attitudes and behaviours before they escalate” said Stephanie Cadieux, Minister of Children and Family Development.

“Ensuring we have the most-effective, timely prevention and intervention approaches to perpetrators is essential to supporting victims and encouraging them to come forward.

“We don’t want victims to feel they have no choice but to remain silent – but many do so out of fear that involving the police or courts may further destabilize their family unit, financially or otherwise. We need to utilise expertise to further prevention and early intervention” said Tracy Porteous, executive director, EVA BC.

VictimLink BC (24/7, confidential service to victims of violence and crime):

www.victimlinkbc.ca

#SaySomething domestic violence awareness campaign:

http://saysomethingbc.ca/domestic-violence/index.html

– files from Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General