Family Violence Initiative

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

ECONOMIC CIRCUMSTANCES

Healing and Reintegration of Offenders

Program name:

Sturgeon Family Violence Prevention Program

Organization:

Sturgeon Victim Services Association

Location:

Morinville, Alberta

Target Group:

Victims and Offenders (Male and Female)

Contact Name:

Donna McPherson, Victim Services Coordinator

Phone:

780-939-4590

Email:

sturgeonvictimservices@shaw.ca

Website:

www.sturgeonfamilyviolenceprogram.com

Program Overview
History:

The program began in 2007 and was 12 weeks long. It has since evolved into a 15 week program. The program was founded upon seven basic principles; safety, respect, empowerment, confidentiality, access to services, prevention, and advocacy.

Program Description
Goals & Objectives:

To provide a supportive and non-judgemental environment in which clients can safely and confidentially learn about family violence prevention.

Traditional/Indigenous ways:

Clients have access to Elders and other cultural supports to address unique needs when identified.

Components of program:

The program provides psycho-educational sessions for both victims and offenders. A court worker is available to clients to help with understanding and working with the legal process. The program provides risk assessments to assess the potential safety risk for both men and women. It is designed to allow clients to make their own choices during all stages of the process. The program is designed to increase community awareness toward family violence and also how such violence can be prevented. The program also facilitates access to services (i.e. substance abuse programs, Aboriginal groups, employment and financial support agencies) in and around the surrounding area.

Services/How they work:

Services are offered on site at the facility.

Funding:

Funding is received from the Department of Justice Canada; the RCMP; corporate donations; and Alliance Pipeline.

Relationships and Stakeholders
Involvement of Target Groups:

Families are involved in evaluation. For example, women are involved with adding to program content and helping to facilitate program needs. Employment support is identified in order to address relationship inequality. The program participants are Involved with identifying barriers to programs and services.

Partners:

RCMP, St. Albert Children Services, Fort Saskatchewan Children Services, Morinville Family and Community Support Services, Redwater Family and Community Support Services, Sturgeon County Family and Community Support Services, Gibbons Family and Community Support Services, Sturgeon Victim Services, Redwater Victim Services, St. Albert Probation Community Correction, Fort Saskatchewan Community Correction.

Other relationships:

N/A

Details of Program Evaluation
Evaluation:

No evaluation has been completed.

Highlights of Evaluation Findings:

N/A

Program Outcomes
Measures of Success:

Success is measured through client surveys offered pre-session, mid-session and post-session.

Achievements:

The program has seen accomplishments made with offenders' increased recognition of the impact of violence toward women. Men initially didn't understand the violence model and their perception changed over the course of program. Change is typically observed mid-way. They also recognise the structure of power imbalances within their relationship. Another repeated finding is that men felt supported and not judged which opened dialogue between facilitators and men. Men reported that by feeling comforted it was easier to open up and go to the next step of accepting responsibility for actions.

Challenges:

Obtaining funding. No sustainable ongoing funding exists. Usually it means finding corporate or community based funding that isn't always available. Keeping partners engaged and aware. There is lots of work involved in operating the program so staff needs to work at keeping partners engaged in program needs.

Things to Know to Replicate
Replication Advice:

Support is needed from agencies, police, courts, and children's services. Partnering is necessary and supporting agencies can help. A program would also need additional supports beyond program requirements such as transportation; so a program would need to find ways to support transportation.

Resources:

Sufficient funding is essential; as are qualified staffing to lead the program.

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