Stopping abuse before it starts. The Supporting Healthy Relationships project will draw on experts from across BC to prevent and stop domestic violence. Ending Violence Association of British Columbia (facebook.com)
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 today 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:
- Enhance and/or expand its existing programming – for example, by serving more participants, developing new topics or enhancing support to victims.
- Deliver its programming over 18 months – concluding by Aug. 31, 2018, during which an evaluation will take place.
- Participate in formal evaluation activities, which will examine changes in participants’ behaviour and attitudes about domestic violence, as well as victim-related outcomes. Dr. Jennifer Wong of Simon Fraser University’s school of criminology will lead the evaluation team, in partnership with the Ending Violence Association of B.C. (EVA BC).
- 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.
Mike Morris, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General –
“Supporting Healthy Relationships represents another, expert-led step toward our vision of a violence-free B.C. in which all women and children are safe. It’s not enough to hold perpetrators accountable through the courts. The longer-term impacts of violence on domestic partners, and on children who witness abuse, demand further exploration of how we can stop family violence sooner, and Supporting Healthy Relationships is a methodical approach to get us there.”
Stephanie Cadieux, Minister of Children and Family Development –
“Domestic violence can have devastating, long-term effects for families, and especially for children who witness or experience abuse from a parent or caregiver who is supposed to love them and keep them safe. 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.”
Tracy Porteous, executive director, EVA BC –
“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. That’s one reason why EVA BC is lending its expertise to the Supporting Healthy Relationships project – to further prevention and early intervention.”
- In awarding the Supporting Healthy Relationship grants, the Province gave preference to organizations that keep participants engaged in followup activities, such as after-care groups, and inviting victims to remain connected with program facilitators or other staff during and/or after programming.
- The 11 organizations serve the following communities: Abbotsford, Agassiz, Boston Bar, Burnaby, the Capital Regional District and West Shore, Chilliwack, Delta, Duncan, Fort St. John, Haida Gwaii and Masset, Hope, Kamloops, Squamish, Surrey, Langley, Maple Ridge, Mission, Nanaimo, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Parksville, Ladysmith and Lantzville, as well as other Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island communities.
- The grant to the evaluation team is valued at nearly $120,000.
Provincial Office of Domestic Violence: www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/public-safety/domestic-violence/provincial-office-of-domestic-violence
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