Family Violence Initiative



Survivors of Physical and Sexual Abuse

Program name:

Family Violence Program


Esk'etemc Health and Esk'etemc Justice


Esk'etemc (Alkali Lake), British Columbia

Target Group:


Contact Name:

Serina Sampson


250-440-5651 ext: 14



Program Overview

The original program began in the early 1970s, with Esk'etemc Justice beginning in 1995 – 1996. Esk'temc's Social Services, Justice and Health departments work together on family violence – the program is not run from one office. The departments work at ensuring healing, for all ages of all individuals, groups and families; it involves preventative work, too. The program has been on-going over the years with changes only in program workers.

Program Description
Goals & Objectives:

To mentor and work with people of all ages who come forward about deep-rooted issues of family violence and sexual abuse so they can heal and become personally and spiritually strengthened, leading to a healthy lifestyle.

Traditional/Indigenous ways:

The program utilizes traditional spirituality and ways of healing to assist clients in overcoming their experiences. Sweat lodges, pipe ceremonies, healing circles, fasting, powwows and the inclusion of Elders' help facilitates the clients' path to wellness.

Components of program:

The program offers drug and alcohol counselling in the form of open community meetings that occur at least four times a week. It has also partnered with the RCMP, the Ministry of Child and Family Development and Victims Services. The program treats this very difficult issue confidentially. When a family discloses, other agencies are involved so that every family member individually and as a group receives the services they need. The staff work to support the client and his/her needs and improve their health and well-being.

Services/How they work:

Services are provided on site at the facilities and off site at cultural events.


Funding provided by the Department of Justice Canada; and the British Columbia Ministry of the Attorney General.

Relationships and Stakeholders
Involvement of Target Groups:

The women were the first to disclose issues of physical and sexual abuse. As time went on, other individuals in families came forward when they were ready. It took a long time to show the community that accountability is essential for everyone in order to start healing. Families no longer keep secrets about family violence and they will report incidents right away. This is where the healing starts, because they want to start to deal with all kinds of issues such as lack of trust, anger and a sense of betrayal from someone who is hurting them. The program participants now know that the Justice, Social Service and Health staff will deal with their issues right away and put supports and safety nets in place.


The Department of Justice Canada; the provincial Ministry of Attorney General; Ministry of Children and Family Development (regional office in Williams Lake), counselling and child/ family agencies in Williams Lake; other First Nations in the area; and the RCMP.

Other relationships:


Details of Program Evaluation

An evaluation has been completed.

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 against the community having less family violence and more personal healing workshops and community activities being available. Individuals are becoming more responsible for their actions and willing to learn from their mistakes and move forward with their lives.


There are more clients accessing staff, services, workshops and community activities. The staff understand how positive communications and networking with other agencies make a difference in the lives of the clients.


Obtaining funding. Funding cutbacks have affected the program's ability to accept referrals. Reduction in legal aid has made it more challenging for the program to assist its clientele in legal matters.

Things to Know to Replicate
Replication Advice:

The program is considered replicable. It is dependent on how well the staff work together to make sure the clients' needs continue to be met, so clients can access and receive the different types of programs; e.g., not just social services or health programs, but also the alcohol and drug counselling and justice services. This can help with sharing resources which are almost always stretched to the limit. It works best in cases where clients want to be helped, so that staff can facilitate their healing and improve their mental, emotional and physical well-being. Sometimes some clients are resistant and a strong united staff can help to get reluctant clients past their barriers.


Adequate funding and trained staff are essential to the program's success.