COMPENDIUM OF PROMISING PRACTICES TO REDUCE VIOLENCE AND INCREASE SAFETY OF ABORIGINAL WOMEN IN CANADA – COMPENDIUM ANNEX: DETAILED PRACTICE DESCRIPTIONS
Healing and Reintegration of Offenders
- Program name:
Spousal Abuse Counselling Program
The Friendship Centre of Rankin Inlet
Rankin Inlet, Nunavut
- Target Group:
Court mandated adult offenders (men and women)
- Contact Name:
The original program pilot occurred in 2000. Regular programming began in 2002 and continues today.
- Goals & Objectives:
To use a holistic approach to health and wellness designed to make spousal assault a thing of the past; to work with abusers to identify why their behaviour is the way it is and to change behaviour and keep them out of jail; and to help victims of abuse understand why they are victimized and provide them with mental health support.
- Traditional/Indigenous ways:
Access to Elders and the teachings they can offer is provided through the organization. Services are offered in both English and Inuktitut.
- Components of program:
Many of the clients are victims of sexual abuse. After they go through the healing program they work with Elders to help deal with sexual abuse issues and people get referred to the other programs offered by the Friendship Centre. The goal is to get families working together for wellness. There are three main components to the program. The first is an Abusers program, lasting 14-16 weeks consisting of clients that are court mandated or have pled guilty to assault. It offers one on one and group sessions of counselling which can continue for the client even after graduating from program. There is also a voluntary victims program that offers counselling to victims of violence. Counsellors teach victims better ways of relating to spouses, how to take time outs and how to avoid conflict. The third program is a Community Outreach program that conducts community public education sessions open to everyone to attend. There is also an Elders' Advisory Committee that offers traditional teachings when requested. This imparts an historical and culturally relevant aspect to the understanding of violence in the home and community.
- Services/How they work:
Services are provided on site at the facility.
Funding is provided by the Department of Justice Canada; the Department of Public Safety Canada; and Nunavut Justice.
Relationships and Stakeholders
- Involvement of Target Groups:
The community is involved at every level of planning. An Elders' Advisory Committee regularly reviews the programming being offered and offers their input and advice.
The program works closely with the courts: Judges, Prosecutors, and RCMP. Counsellors work with the Board of Directors and the Status of Women Council.
- Other relationships:
Details of Program Evaluation
An evaluation has been completed (2008).
- Highlights of Evaluation Findings:
The program worked and sessions were meaningful to clients.
- Measures of Success:
Success is measured by the individual client's ability to continue to make healthy life choices.
Successfully keeping family units together. Increase in student scholastic performance in homes where parents have participated in program.
Obtaining funding. Limited human resources have been a challenge; as has the issue of preventing staff "burnout". Finding space for program delivery is an issue. Staff would like to have more training that is relevant to the community including cultural awareness support.
Things to Know to Replicate
- Replication Advice:
The program is considered replicable. The program needs to be adapted to local cultures and traditions. Hold town meetings in arenas to explain all the steps, a program really needs the community to buy into it and make a difference. Social media such as Facebook and radio programs are effective communication tools. Respond to concerns posted by community members to enhance their education about the program and to encourage them to get involved.
Adequate funding, properly trained staff and facility space for the programming would be necessary to ensure the program's success.
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