Programming Responses for Intimate Partner Violence

MANITOBA

Context

Legislation: The Domestic Violence and Stalking Act

Domestic Violence Court: Available in Winnipeg

Provincial Action Plan: Manitoba – Multi-year Domestic Violence Prevention Strategy (2012)

Manitoba’s Action Plan was developed through a public consultation process focusing on what needed to be improved in prevention and direct services, a review of funded services, and a literature review focusing on how to promote healthy, equal relationships.

IPV is defined as “in most cases, perpetrated by men and mainly against women and children. Violence exists in many types of intimate relationships: in heterosexual and same-sex relationships (currently or formerly dating, married or living together). While certain factors may increase the risk of abuse, domestic violence happens to people from all walks of life”. The document notes that 80% of victims in dating and spousal violence are women; that women are more likely than men to be severely assaulted, sexually assaulted, choked or threatened with a weapon; and more than twice as likely to be injured.

Supports and services for victims and families are woven into the Plan.

The goals of interventions for “people with abusive behaviours” are focused on eliminating abusive behaviour, managing risk, and holding offenders accountable. Therapeutic recommendations include endorsement of community based counselling programs to eliminate abusive behaviours. Offender management and accountability recommendations target an enhanced criminal justice response, specifically domestic violence courts, specialized domestic violence police units, specialized Manitoba Justice Victim Services – Domestic Violence Support Service, prosecution and probation units, case management of high-risk men, standardization of risk assessment tools for police (Family Violence Checklist), and the Front-End Project, which was designed to eliminate trial delays.

Risk Assessment

Risk is assessed by police services using the Family Violence Risk Checklist for all domestic violence related occurrences.

Probation uses the Level of Service/Case Management Inventory (LS/CMI) to assess offender risk and determine appropriate case management strategies and programming needs. Community based programs do not typically utilize formal risk assessment tools but monitor the offender's progress using unstructured professional judgment.

Manitoba Justice Victim Services uses a variety of tools to assess risk including the Danger Assessment and the Family Violence Risk Checklist. Victim Services Workers use these tools in combination with their professional judgment gained through years of experience and training, to provide Crown attorneys with detailed information highlighting risk to victims.

The Manitoba Justice - Domestic Violence Support Services helps victims of domestic violence when criminal charges have been laid, or may be laid against their partners. Manitoba Justice Victim Services Workers explain the cycle of violence, how the cycle may affect victims and their families and how to escape from it. They also help victims to develop protection plans to increase their personal safety. The program also provides support to families who receive police services for domestic violence incidents that do not result in charges or arrests (Winnipeg only).

This program in partnership with the Winnipeg Police identifies families that are high-risk for IPV but where there are no grounds for criminal charges. The potential victim in the family is provided with support through the Domestic Violence Support Service.

Domestic Violence Court

The Winnipeg Domestic Violence Court has an early intervention and a rigorous prosecution stream. The Domestic Violence Unit of the Manitoba Prosecution Service reviews each IPV case prior to the accused’s first appearance to designate the most appropriate court stream.

Post charge diversion is recommended for those who are first time, low risk accused individuals who are willing to accept responsibility for the offence. Prior IPV or other violent offences, use of weapons, and/or serious physical injuries to the victim, disqualify the accused from having the charges diverted. Those deemed eligible for post charge diversion are mandated to obtain counselling that includes domestic violence counselling through the Salvation Army Choose 2 Change program or such other program deemed appropriate by the prosecutor. If the accused successfully completes the programming and if the accused, in the appropriate case, agrees to enter into a peace bond for a period of one year, then the Crown will stay proceedings on the charge.

The prosecution court stream targets moderate to high-risk accused and those who opt out of diversion. Offenders are mandated into treatment following conviction to the Introduction to Healthy Relationships followed by the Making A Connection program, the Evolve Men’s Program or culturally specific intervention.

Introduction to Healthy Relationships (IHR) is a 3-hour information group, which is funded by Manitoba Justice for low to medium risk offenders in any stage of change, with additional follow-up with the Probation Officer in the community. Offenders are asked to complete a survey identifying their “stage of change” with respect to their relationship and readiness to make changes in their life. Offenders are taught what a healthy relationship is, where people learn about relationships and discuss gender socialization, trauma and the impact of domestic violence on children and victims. The cycle of abuse and CBT model of human behaviour (thoughts, feelings, behaviours, consequences) are introduced.

A small number of adult offenders are designated by Probation Services to be high risk offenders in the area of domestic violence. These offenders are supervised by a specialized unit within Probation Services. This specialized unit obtains input during regular monthly meetings from police, Victim Services, a Corrections Officer from Headingly Correctional Center, and a prosecutor from the Domestic Violence Unit. Electronic Monitoring may be an element of probation supervision of these high risk offenders.

The Thompson Domestic Violence Treatment Option (DVTO) Court is a post-charge diversion court option for first time, low-risk offenders within the City of Thompson. Offenders are screened by the Crown to determine eligibility to enter the DVTO Court. Similar to the Court in Winnipeg, offenders are ineligible who have caused significant physical injury to their victim. Offenders who opt out of the DVTO Court or are ineligible are remanded to the prosecution stream.

The Manitoba Metis Federation Community Justice Worker completes the intake process for offenders in the DVTO stream and refers them to Men are Part of the Solution (MAPS). If the offender successfully completes the program they return to the DV Court for disposition of the charge.

Moderate- to high-risk offenders are sentenced to treatment provided by probation or are referred to MAPS upon conviction.

Low Risk

Choose 2 Change
The Salvation Army

Risk Assessment

The program uses indicators to assess risk, such as stage of change, level of responsibility, substance use, cooperation, and behaviour in the group.

Funding

Choose 2 Change program receives no external funding and charges participants on a fee for service basis.

Structure

Choose 2 Change receives referrals from the Alternatives court program. The program also accepts self referrals and referrals from community agencies. Information is shared with the Alternatives program regarding the offender’s participation. Specific information regarding the offender is not shared.

Treatment

Choose 2 Change is a closed psychoeducational group, which employs some cognitive behavioural and narrative elements. The program consists of a 2-hour intake/assessment, 21 hours of group work and a 2-hour closing meeting. The group work takes place over 3 sessions, each 7-hours in duration. The program covers different types of abuse, effects of abuse, beliefs and values, socialization and gender roles, self-talk, warning signs, time outs, cycle of abuse, substance abuse, children and non-violent parenting, and healthy relationships.

Parenting/Impact on child witnesses

Information related to the impact of witnessing IPV on children and non-violent parenting strategies are incorporated into the treatment group.

Accountability to Victims

Manitoba Justice Victim Services attempts to meet with all victims of domestic violence and refers matters appropriate for Choose to Change to Prosecutions Services. Victim Services also attempts to notify all victims that their (ex)partners have entered the Choose to Change program.

Integration

The program works in collaboration with justice partners associated with the Alternatives program.

Evaluation

The Choose 2 Change program is currently undergoing evaluation through Resolve (a tri-provincial research network formally known as the Manitoba Research Centre on Family Violence and Violence Against Women).

Moderate- and high-risk
Offenders at moderate and high-risk to reoffend are referred, post-conviction, to a number of possible programs including Making a Connection (MAC), Evolve and culturally specific treatment.

Making A Connection (MAC)
Community and Youth Corrections

Risk Assessment

The LS/CMI is used by probation to identify specific criminogenic needs and informs the case management process for each offender. A final report is given to the probation officer upon program completion.

Funding

The MAC program is funded by Manitoba Justice.

Structure

MAC is specifically for high to very high risk offenders who are minimally in a contemplative stage of change and mandated to attend treatment post-conviction. Offenders must complete the Introduction to Healthy Relationships program prior to entering MAC.

Treatment

The MAC program consists of 17, 2.5 hour sessions. The program draws on motivational interviewing, solution focused therapy, narrative therapy, and risk-needs-responsivity principles. Offenders examine different aspects of their lives, including criminality; past and present relationships; the impact of their behaviour on others; defence mechanisms; and communication. Trauma, grief, loss, and self care are also explored. The segments on behaviour, values, beliefs, self-talk, and managing emotions are delivered using CBT principles. Healthy relationships, balance, warning signs, time out plans and relapse prevention are reinforced. The group uses controlled breathing practice in every session. Offenders are not blamed or forced to disclose the circumstances of the charge; however, they are encouraged to take responsibility for their actions.

Parenting/Impact on child witnesses

The program includes information on attachment theory and trauma which may lead to some discussion of parenting, however, there are no specific segments addressing parenting.

Victim Accountability

The program does not have any contact with victims. Victims are contacted and supported by Victim Services.

Integration

The Domestic Violence Advisory Committee (DVAC) provides direction to Senior Management in the development and implementation of policy and programming across the Community Safety Division (formerly Manitoba Corrections) for the province and liaises with other government and non-government stakeholders.

The Evolve Men’s Program
Klinic Community Health Centre in Winnipeg..

Risk Assessment

The program targets offenders post-conviction who represent all levels of risk (as assessed by the referral source).

Funding

Evolve is funded by the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (a provincial government body overseeing the implementation of health and social services programs across the Winnipeg health region).

Structure

Offenders are referred to the program primarily by probation (post-conviction) and child protection services. The program also accepts referrals from community agencies and self referrals. Information is shared with the referring agency when requested and with permission of the offender.

Treatment

The work is informed by Narrative therapy practices (Alan Jenkins), and psychoeducational theory. Prior to entering the group, offenders attend 2 intake interviews. Depending on their needs, offenders are offered individual therapy to prepare them for the group. The total program is 10 – 12 months in duration followed by individual therapy where indicated. Continued participation in the program is voluntary.

Evolve is delivered in a 2-stage format.

Stage one: The Preparatory Stage: This program is an open group format which runs for 20 weeks, two hours per week, with a maximum of 10 participants. Delivered in a psychoeducational format, the group covers the following topics: boundaries, stress management, mindfulness, feelings, brain functioning, problem solving, healthy relationships, male social expectations, assertiveness, communication, change, self-care, and relaxation.

Stage two: Men’s Closed Group. This is a 20 week closed group (3 hours/week), which is co-facilitated by a therapist and a peer mentor (program graduate). Men share their life story, current situation and why they are there, their experiences of abuse in their lives, express repressed feelings, especially shame and practice being vulnerable. They are expected to write a letter about their abusive behaviour from the perspective of their partner and children and share with it the group. Maintenance and relapse prevention plans are discussed.

Parenting/Impact of child witnessing

Information related to the impact of witnessing IPV on children and non-violent parenting strategies are incorporated into the treatment group.

Accountability to Victims

Victims are contacted while the offenders are attending the closed group to share threats of harm or any concerns related to the victim’s safety. Victims are offered Evolve Women’s Program and couples counselling is available where requested and appropriate (i.e., no threat of harm).

Integration

Evolve works in collaboration with the Family Violence Consortium of Manitoba, the Addiction Foundation of Manitoba and the Men’s Resource Centre.

Evaluation

The Evolve program for moderate risk offenders was evaluated as a pilot project.

Men are Part of the Solution (MAPS)

Funding

MAPS is funded primarily by the Thompson Urban Aboriginal Strategy.

Structure

Referrals are received from probation, social agencies, lawyers, public health, and self referrals.

Treatment

Participants are seen individually for a pre-group screening interview which is done by the Manitoba Metis Community Justice worker attached to the Thompson DVTO Court.

Treatment is provided in 2 segments and takes approximately 4 months to complete. Segment one consists of 12 weeks (2.5 hours per week) of group therapy. The group is either open or closed and has 8 to 10 participants. Using a psychoeducational treatment modality, the group addresses anger cues, time-outs, self-care, self-talk, beliefs, cost and rewards of anger, feeling vocabulary, funnel, shame and guilt, the pressures of masculinity, values, identity, relationship loss, self-esteem and health relationships.

The second segment of the program consists of 8 individual counselling sessions (1.5 hours per week).

Follow-up short-term counselling is available for group participants upon completion of the program.

Culturally Specific Programming

Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF)
MMF Domestic Violence Program

Funding

MMF does not receive funding for this program.

Structure

Services are provided in Interlake, Thompson, Winnipeg, The Pas and Dauphin. Manitoba Metis Federation provides intake services for the Thompson DV Treatment Court, referring offenders for treatment. In jurisdictions where there is no DV Court option, MMF provides services through the Aboriginal Justice Courts. Offenders are referred for treatment from probation, the Courts and self-referrals. Information is shared through service agreements with the Court. MMF has established partnerships with Addiction Foundation of Manitoba for addiction assessments and services throughout the province.

Treatment

Treatment is provided in a group format, drawing from anger management and CBT treatment modalities. The group includes 14 sessions provided in a closed format with a maximum of 10 participants. Topics covered are anger management, the cycle of violence, values and beliefs, communication skills, conflict resolution, defence mechanisms, timeout and safety planning and the impact on children witnessing domestic violence.

Accountability to Victims

The program does not have contact with the victim, however services are often provided to couples who will attend an anger management group together after the offender has completed the DV Program.

Spirit of Peace (First Nations Program)
Ma Mawi Chi Itata Centre

Risk Assessment

Counsellors monitor risk using unstructured professional judgment and will refer to specialized services as required, such as mental health and addiction services.

Funding

Spirit of Peace receives funding from the Federal and Provincial government.

Structure

Referrals are received from the courts and from probation for mandated IPV offenders. The program accepts all IPV offenders and does not differentiate among levels of risk. The program also accepts voluntary clients, who most often self refer. Information is shared with probation only with the offender's’ consent.

Treatment

The Spirit of Peace program is 8 weeks, 5 hours per week in duration. Utilizing psychoeducational and narrative therapy, the program covers the following areas: cycle of violence, why people remain in abusive relationships, managing toxic anger, anger incident review, time outs, relationships and jealousy, letting go of the need to control, zero tolerance, crisis preparation planning, substance abuse and violence, changing beliefs, impact of IPV on children, sharing circle, anger and relapse prevention. Smudging and sweetgrass ceremonies begin each group, Aboriginal customs, practices and values are woven into the group content.

Parenting/Impact of child witnessing

Information related to the impact of witnessing IPV on children is incorporated into the treatment group.

Accountability to Victims

Ma Mawi Chi Itata Centre offers a women’s and children’s group. Counsellors working with offenders do not have contact directly with victims.

Innovation

The Winnipeg Police Service identifies families who have been involved with the police and are considered to be at risk of IPV. The family member identified as most likely to be victimized is offered assistance for herself and also potentially for her partner.

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