Family Violence Initiative

COMPENDIUM OF PROMISING PRACTICES TO REDUCE VIOLENCE AND INCREASE SAFETY OF ABORIGINAL WOMEN IN CANADA – COMPENDIUM ANNEX: DETAILED PRACTICE DESCRIPTIONS

HISTORICAL LEGACY

Healing and Renewal of Family Roles and Responsibilities

Program name:

Awakening the Warrior Within

Organization:

Victoria Native Friendship Centre

Location:

Victoria, British Columbia

Target Group:

Aboriginal men ages 19 and over whom have also been victims of violence.

Contact Name:

Debora Abood

Phone:

250-384-3211

Email:

Debora@vnfc.ca

Website:

www.vnfc.ca

Program Overview
History:

The program was initiated in September 2011 and is now in its third session of operation. The content of the program was developed through consultation and modality reviews of several different program models to identify what would work best for this program's goals.

Program Description
Goals & Objectives:

To help men develop a deeper understanding of what family violence is; and the effects it has on them personally, as well as on their families and communities.

Traditional/Indigenous ways:

The nature of the talking circle and the opportunity to smudge along with the focus on clients honouring and respecting each other while in session are based on traditional cultural teachings and ways of healing. Clients create their own culturally-based group safety at the beginning of the program.

Components of program:

This is a four week program consisting of three sessions per week. The program is run as a talking circle in which men are given the opportunity to gain an understanding of: family violence, the impacts of colonialism and residential school, internalized oppression, the effects of racism, the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships and how to keep children safe within communities. The goal is to develop the tools to implement self-care, stress management and anger management. After the 4 week program, men are honoured for their hard work, courage and strength by participating in a community event that is designed to help provide closure and allow the clients to move forward in a good way.

Services/How they work:

Services are provided on site to clients. However community events can occur outside of the program's locale.

Funding:

Funding is received from the British Columbia Ministry of Children and Family Development.

Relationships and Stakeholders
Involvement of Target Groups:

The community has been invited to attend the program's closing honouring event; many women are present and share the success of the program with other community members. Women have also been encouraging their partners, and male family members to participate in the program. Through greater community awareness men are beginning to self-refer to the program.

Partners:

Tsawout First Nation, NIL/TU,O Child and Family Services, Victoria Native Friendship Centre, Ministry of Children and Family Development, Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations.

Other relationships:

N/A

Details of Program Evaluation
Evaluation:

An evaluation has been completed.

Highlights of Evaluation Findings:

Most of the men in this group have experienced sexual abuse, physical abuse, were raised in foster care, or have had the Ministry is involved with their children – all used physical/emotional violence against partners; almost half were identified as FAS.

Program Outcomes
Measures of Success:

Success is measured by the desire of men to continue in the program, recorded increases in self-referrals, and the statements of clients that they now want to be a part of the solution to overcoming domestic violence.

Achievements:

The success of clients breaking the cycle of violence to which they have been attached.

Challenges:

Obtaining funding.

Things to Know to Replicate
Replication Advice:

The program can be replicated. The program needs to provide communities with an understanding of what has happened collectively, knowing and understanding historical impacts, knowledge of culture and to include these as the base for the program. Programming and content should be implemented with the input of the community in order to provide that community with a sense of ownership and pride which helps to foster a sense of collective well-being.

Resources:

Sufficient funding and adequate resources are needed to ensure the program's success.

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