Programming Responses for Intimate Partner Violence

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND

Context

Legislation: Victims of Family Violence Act (1996)

Domestic Violence Court

N/A

Provincial Action Plan: Strategies for Addressing Family Violence in Prince Edward Island (2015)

The Family Violence Prevention Strategy (FVPS) defines family violence as “any violence by one family member against another”. This definition includes IPV, child abuse, a child’s abuse of a parent, sibling violence and violence against older adults.

The Strategy’s guiding principles include:

  1. Any form of violence in relationships is not acceptable
  2. All people and families are valued
  3. Everyone is entitled to a safe and secure environment
  4. Everyone, including victims, survivors, witnesses and offenders, is entitled to accessible and appropriate high-quality service and information which is consistent and respectful
  5. Preventing violence is a shared responsibility

The Strategy identified key goals in awareness, education, and public engagement; coordination and training; interventions and service delivery; policies, protocol, and legislation; and research and evaluation. The strategy also includes promotion of healthy relationships and engagement of men and boys. Services for victims are entrenched in all aspects of the Strategy. Provision for services to offenders are designed to reduce the risk of reoffending and are reflected in the service delivery recommendations.

The Premier’s Action Committee of Family Violence Prevention (1995) was appointed to coordinate and implement the original FVPS recommendations. A multi-sectoral committee has continued to be active with representation from police, criminal justice, government, service providers, and community organizations.

Risk Assessment

Municipal police services and the RCMP in PEI use the Domestic Violence Investigation Checklist. While not a formal risk assessment tool, the DVIC assists police in ensuring that police investigations are comprehensive and that risk factors are considered.

Probation services conduct risk assessment using the Level of Service Inventory – Revised, and the Decision-Making Protocol for Domestic Violence (D-MAP DV). This information is shared with the Turning Point intervention program and is used as part of intake assessment.

Turning Point, is an intimate partner violence intervention/ counselling program within the Department of Justice and Public Safety. Individual assessments are conducted several weeks prior to group intervention. Information is collected on history of violence, violence in past relationships, controlling and other abusive behaviours, criminal history, communication style, presence of children, access to weapons, addictions, mental health history, family background, trauma, employment, housing education, literacy and personal interests. In addition, the agency reviews Emergency Protection Orders, details from police reports, Crown briefs, Probation Orders, victim impact statement and previously completed risk assessments. On the basis of the intake and risk assessment, the offender may be screened into a group program or referred to more appropriate resources. Individual counselling within the IPV program is also an option.

Turning Point
Murchison House

Funding

Services are funded by the provincial Department of Justice and Public Safety and are delivered in Charlottetown, Summerside, and Montague.

Structure

Referrals to Turning Point programs are primarily received from probation. Referrals from child protection, family services, addictions, mental health treatment agencies as well as self-referrals are also accepted.

When a referral is received for court mandated clients, probation will share information such as charge status, relationship status, contact conditions, criminal history, other agency involvement, details regarding the substantive offence, including victim impact statements and any other relevant information related to risk.

Treatment

The Turning Point IPV program is 14 to 16 three hour weekly sessions with an average of 6 to 10 participants in each group. The treatment modality utilized is psychoeducational and CBT. Topics include: what is abuse, power imbalances, patterns of partner violence, managing intense emotions, violence and substance use, socialization, communication, problem solving, self-care, and managing stress.

Parenting/Impact on child witnesses

Information regarding the impact of violence on children is incorporated into the treatment group.

Accountability to Victims

Victims are contacted as part of the client’s assessment and the agency uses factors from various risk assessment tools to assess risk. Service involves regular check-ins with the referral source to share information that may be relevant to victim safety.

Evaluation

A process and outcome evaluation is currently being conducted with a final report expected early 2017. Previously, a program evaluation was completed in 1994 by Dr. Thomas Gaber.

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