Family Violence Initiative

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

INTERACTIONS WITHIN COMMUNITIES

Healthy Relationships: Children and Youth

Program name:

The Naomi Society

Organization:

Transition House Society of Canada

Location:

Antigonish, Nova Scotia

Target Group:

All women and children, boys and girls up to 18 years of age.

Contact Name:

Michele Keats – Executive Director

Phone:

N/A

Email:

info@naomisociety.ca

Website:

www.naomisociety.ca

Program Overview
History:

The Society was founded in 1983 and has worked in partnership with the Mi'kmaq community Paqtnkek since that time. The workers have developed a relationship with the Paqtnkek Mi'kmaq community through the Health Centre and partner on the women's action committee. Paqtnkek women who experience violence can seek counselling and other services confidentially. The office is located in a town shopping mall with a discreet entrance.

Program Description
Goals & Objectives:

To preserve and promote safety, dignity and human rights through direct services to women and their children who are victims of family violence.

Traditional/Indigenous ways:

N/A

Components of program:

The program offers safety planning for client needs and second stage housing for women and children leaving an abusive relationship where they can live for up to one year. The program offers confidential support, detailed safety planning, crisis intervention and support, counselling services, information on access to medical, legal, shelter and financial services and acts as a referral agency to other resources. The program does outreach in local schools through a six week prevention program for Grade nine boys focussed on healthy relationships, addictions, and bullying.

Services/How they work:

Services are provided on site at the facility and throughout the community.

Funding:

Funding is provided by the Nova Scotia Department of Community Services and through local community efforts.

Relationships and Stakeholders
Involvement of Target Groups:

Paqtneke community members are involved in event planning; and open houses in the local gym, band office, and health centre are designed to encourage community feedback.

Partners:

Transition House Association of Nova Scotia; New Leaf; Mi'kmaq Legal Support Network; Mi'kmaq Victims' services; Bridges; Antigonish Women's Resource Centre; Family Services – Family Services of Eastern Nova Scotia; Paqtnkek Health Centre; Gysborough Antigonish Strait Health Services Authority (GASHA); RCMP; Department of Community Services; and Mi'kmaq Family and Children's Services.

Other relationships:

The food bank, opportunity shop, and career resource centre.

Details of Program Evaluation
Evaluation:

An evaluation has been completed (1997).

Highlights of Evaluation Findings:

The report was not made available publicly, and no specific results can be provided.

Program Outcomes
Measures of Success:

Success is measured through client feedback on the programming, how many new referrals come from current clients; and follow-up safety check results done six months after clients have left the program.

Achievements:

Providing support and services and safety planning to those in need. Successfully keeping the facility open and operational despite difficulties has been a huge success.

Challenges:

Obtaining funding. Transportation between the office and reserve is a challenge, as many clients do not have access to transportation. Cultural sensitivity and training is inadequate but resource shortfalls make inclusivity and culturally appropriate programming difficult. As a non–profit organization the Naomi Society experiences a high turnover in staff. Inexperienced staff have a sharp learning curve to understand the dynamics of reservation life and systemic factors which contribute to family violence.

Things to Know to Replicate
Replication Advice:

The program is considered replicable. Building trust with the communities is essential.

Resources:

Adequate funding, properly trained staff and facility space for the programming would be necessary to ensure the program's success.

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