Family Violence Initiative



Law Enforcement

Program name:

RCMP Aboriginal Domestic Violence Program


The RCMP's Community Aboriginal Diversity Policing Service


12 Mi'kmaq reserves serviced by the RCMP in Nova Scotia

Target Group:

Police officers that work within Aboriginal communities.

Contact Name:

Constable Walter Denny





Program Overview

The RCMP Aboriginal Domestic Violence Liaison position was begun in 2010 as a priority to address police service delivery gaps in family violence issues and to provide a coordinated and consistent service for victims of domestic violence and their families.

Program Description
Goals & Objectives:

To inform and train RCMP officers on issues of family violence and community based policing in Aboriginal communities. The program is in place as a result of the RCMP's commitment to the principles and practices of Community Policing and the belief that, to be successful, the police must be representative of the people they serve.

Traditional/Indigenous ways:

The program uses Mi'kmaq teachings in the design of five training modules that make up the education component for the training of police investigators involved in Aboriginal Family Violence cases. Whenever possible, police services for First Nation/Aboriginal clients are provided in the Mi'kmaq language. [Note that Aboriginal Elders and traditional ceremonies as well as sweat lodges are used as part of the separate Aboriginal Perceptions training course for the RCMP.]

Components of program:

The program participants collaborate with Aboriginal policy analysts, community liaison officers and diversity members to train members in community-based policing in Aboriginal communities. The Liaison Officer offers ongoing training on intimate partner violence to regional justice-system partners, including Department of Justice Canada personnel as well as RCMP employees and volunteers. The Liaison officer also arranges for and attends extensive public service and community based policing meetings to raise awareness of the issues of family violence in the Mi'kmaq community. The comprehensive case management approach to this issue is widely accepted by the Mi'kmaq service providers who are intent on reducing the incidence of family violence.

Services/How they work:

Services are provided in house to facilitate ease of training. Services rendered to the community as a result of this training occur in the communities served by the RCMP.


Funding is provided through the RCMP's Community Policing Initiatives.

Relationships and Stakeholders
Involvement of Target Groups:

Community based policing is integrated in the Aboriginal communities. Consultation meetings are held on a regular basis with community leaders and elected representatives of the Aboriginal community. Oral and documented feedback containing the frequency of complaints and results of criminal investigations on the First Nation communities are provided. Extensive prevention outreach and community forums as well as public education and intervention initiatives are undertaken by RCMP members as well as the Aboriginal Liaison officer. In addition, the Eskasoni Community Action Coalition Against Family Violence brings stakeholders together and the Aboriginal Domestic Violence Liaison officer works closely with Mi'kmaw Family Healing programs and services as well as with the Mi'kmaw Legal Support Network.


The New Brunswick Gignoo Transition House; the Mi'kmaw Family and Children's Service Family Healing Program; the Native Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselling Association; the Mi'kmaw Legal Support Network; the Transition House Association of Nova Scotia; the Mi'kmaw Men's Intervention Program; the Nova Scotia Native Women's Association; Mi'kmaw Victim Services; and the Mi'kmaq / Nova Scotia / Canada Tripartite Forum.

Other relationships:

The RCMP also works closely with the communities they are being trained to serve.

Details of Program Evaluation

An evaluation has been completed.

Highlights of Evaluation Findings:

Regular evaluations are conducted internally by the RCMP to assess the effectiveness of the Program. However, due to privacy concerns, evaluations of this type are not generally available to outside agencies. There are generally no formal external Evaluations of RCMP Programs unless specifically requested by the RCMP or one of the partner agencies.

Program Outcomes
Measures of Success:

Success is measured against an assessment of how many members work in those communities and how many of those members receive the necessary training provided by the Aboriginal Domestic Violence Liaison Officer.


Implementation of an effective and comprehensive work plan, with buy in from RCMP, to address the national priority of contributing to safer communities. In excess of 200 intimate violence partner educators across Nova Scotia have been trained by the Aboriginal Domestic Violence Liaison officer. Since the program's inception, there has been a reduction of high risk for lethality cases and there are indications that many victims of domestic violence have been successful in accessing available services.


Need for training new RCMP personnel due to high turnover rate. There is a difficulty in overcoming colonial perceptions of Mi'kmaq community members. There is a human resourcing issue due to the small number of Aboriginal Domestic Violence Liaison positions. Domestic and family violence still occurs and there are currently not enough support services available to help families. Effective information sharing is hindered by confidentiality policies and thus limits the effectiveness of timely, coordinated case management.

Things to Know to Replicate
Replication Advice:

The program could be replicated both within the RCMP as well as in any other interested police agency. The five modules of training for Aboriginal Domestic Violence Coordinated Case Management can be easily delivered to other RCMP units, other police services as well as other community based service organizations. Training for the program could be offered on an annual basis and might also be included as part of all investigative and culturally based training opportunities. If other provinces and territories are considering the establishment of Aboriginal Domestic Violence initiative such as that on the 12 Mi'kmaq communities in Nova Scotia, particular attention could be paid to the consultative and collaborative processes to ensure there is complete acceptance and involvement with the Aboriginal community. Successful implementation is dependent upon community support and "buy in", every effort must be made to ensure that personnel are aware of culturally appropriate responses, practices and have a good knowledge of services that are available within the Aboriginal community.


Adequate, long term and permanent staffing is required to maintain trusting relationships with communities.