Safety from Domestic Violence: Inventory of Promising Practices in Alberta Online Inventory of Promising Practices Acknowledgments Introduction Foundational Approaches Provincial Consultation Summary 2016 Provincial Consultation Summary Appendix items: National Framework for Collaborative Police Action on Intimate Partner Violence (2016) UN Women: Essential Services Package for Women and Girls (2016). The Essential package comprises five overlapping modules: Module 1: Overview and introduction Module 2: Health essential services Module 3: Justice and policing essential services Module 4: Essential social services Module 5: Essential actions for coordination and governance of coordination. British Columbia’s Provincial Domestic Violence Plan ACWS Leading Change Framework (2015) Government of Alberta. Family Violence Hurts Everyone: A Framework to End Family Violence in Alberta (2012) Department of Justice Canada. Making the Links in Family Violence Cases: Collaboration among the Family, Child Protection and Criminal Justice System (2013) Our Watch. Change the Story: A Shared Framework for the Primary Prevention of Violence Against Women and Their Children in Australia (2015) Violence Against Women Needs Assessment Program, California Crime Victims Assistance Association – “Best Practices” (2012) (pg 43-51) Canadian Victims’ Bill of Rights Regional Summaries ACWS respectfully acknowledges the following Elders who opened the seven Regional Consultations in a good way and who shared their time, blessings, and wisdom with us. Thank you to Irene Morin (Edmonton Regional Consultation), Lillian Gladue (Red Deer Regional Consultation), Doreen Spence (Calgary Regional Consultation), Glenda Schneider (Medicine Hat Regional Consultation), Rick Makokis (St. Paul Regional Consultation), Tyrone Healy (Lethbridge Regional Consultation) and Angie Crerar (Grande Prairie Regional Consultation). We would also like to acknowledge the following ACWS members who co-hosted our Regional Consultations. We are very grateful for your partnership and support. Thank you to A Safe Place, Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter Association, Lasalle, Central Alberta Women’s Emergency Shelter, Columbus House of Hope, Discovery House, Lurana Shelter, Odyssey House, Medicine Hat Women’s Shelter Society, WIN House, Wings of Providence, YWCA Harbour House, YWCA Sheriff King Home. Calgary Regional Summary Edmonton Regional Summary Grande Prairie Regional Summary Lethbridge Regional Summary Medicine Hat Regional Summary Red Deer Regional Summary St. Paul Regional Summary Provincial Consultation A discussion paper was prepared for review by community and government partners on November 16th, 2016, synthesizing the information provided by community stakeholders, system leaders, women’s focus groups and the literature review. 125 multi-sector participants attended from across the province to review and discuss the findings. Invitation to Provincial Consultation Discussion Paper Project Background Project Description and Backgrounder Literature Review: Annotated Bibliography Thematic Briefs Legal Services and Criminal Justice Article Summary: Women fleeing domestic violence have to manage multiple and interrelated legal issues in criminal, family and child protection systems. The criminal law is a branch of public law and is primarily concerned with protecting the safety of individuals. Family law is a branch of private law designed to regulate the rights and responsibilities of family members upon the breakdown of a family unit. The child protection system is often referred to as part of the family justice system but involves government-initiated proceedings focused on the safety of children. Supporting Women Exposed to Domestic Violence Article Summary: Women are much more likely than men to be victims of domestic violence and be killed by their partners. Violence against women and girls often begins before adolescence and its impact becomes more pronounced and debilitating in adulthood as women and girls are also disproportionately impacted by other factors such as poverty, homelessness, isolation, disabilities, racism, sexism and other factors. Supporting Children Exposed to Domestic Violence Article Summary: Children’s safety and well-being are integrally linked with the safety of the mother. Children can be exposed to their mother’s abuse in many ways, including when they see their mother assaulted and demeaned, hear loud conflict and violence or see the aftermath (e.g. injuries). Children might also be used by an abusive partner to perpetuate abuse, for example, threatening violence against the children, talking inappropriately to children about their mother’s behaviour and holding the children hostage or abducting them. Two-thirds of women admitted to women’s shelters in Alberta are accompanied by children (estimated 5,000 per year) and almost half of these pre-schoolers. Coordination and Collective Impact Article Summary: The interrelationship between trauma exposure, inequality, social disadvantage, health problems, mental health difficulties, and homelessness requires a high level of coordination and collaboration among all services – government and community – to ensure women’s safety and their success in creating violence free lives. Uncoordinated efforts result in the waste of scarce resources, duplication of effort, disillusionment of staff working within systems, unmet public expectations and, most detrimentally, compromise community and system efforts to keep women safe. Services and Supports for Diverse Women and Children Fleeing Domestic Violence Article Summary: Domestic violence impacts women from all socio-economic, cultural and other backgrounds. However, some circumstances surrounding the experience of domestic violence and service access differ for women with diverse backgrounds. This is particularly evident for several vulnerable population groups including Indigenous women; immigrant women; women who are culturally and linguistically diverse; women with disabilities; older women; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer discussed in a separate document because of their disproportionate exposure to the issue of domestic violence and violence against women in general). Services and Supports for Indigenous Women and Their Families Article Summary: Domestic violence impacts women from all socio-economic, cultural and other backgrounds. However, some circumstances surrounding the experience of domestic violence and service access differ for women with diverse backgrounds. This is particularly evident for several vulnerable population groups including Indigenous women; immigrant women; women who are culturally and linguistically diverse; women with disabilities; older women; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) women; and women living in rural and remote communities. This article focuses on how domestic violence affects Indigenous women; they face disproportionate exposure to the issue of domestic violence and violence against women in general. Law Enforcement Article Summary: The police have a critical role in addressing the issue of violence against women. They are often the first responders to a domestic violence situation and make decisions with respect to charging and arresting the offender as well as ensuring that the victims and others in the community are safe. They work closely with the courts and the justice system as well as with community service providers. The police complete risk assessments, enforce protection orders and investigate or follow up on breaches of court orders. Offender Treatment Article Summary: The main purpose of offender treatment is to increase victim and community safety by reducing the risk of re-assault or assault of future partners. Offender treatment is usually mandated by courts, although offenders may also choose to access treatment on a voluntary basis. The treatment is usually provided in a group form, over a cource of 10 to 12 weeks, sometimes supplemented with individual sessions. Risk Assessment Article Summary: Risk assessment is essential in safeguarding the safety of women and children fleeing domestic violence: it helps determine risk of re-assault (or femicide as in the case of the DA) and supports collaborative risk management including victim safety planning, referrals and advocacy, as well as police monitoring, court resolutions and conditions, bail decisions, correctional decisions, and offender treatment. Several risk assessment tools are broadly used across Canada and in Alberta, including ODARA (Ontario Domestic Assault Risk Assessment), SARA (Spousal Assault Risk Assessment Guide), B-Safer and the DA (Danger Assessment Questionnaire and Calendar). In Alberta, the Family Violence Investigative Report (FVIR) is a standardized reporting tool used by police, which may identify specific areas of risk for the victim. Safety considerations are an important follow-up to the FVIR. Sheltering and Housing Article Summary: Domestic violence is one of the main causes of homelessness among Canadian families. Fleeing an abusive partner is not only a factor in women becoming homeless, but also influences their continued homelessness, because it is unsafe to return home to a partner or live in a place that the abusive partner may be able to find and access. When they are not able to remain in their homes or communities because of their abuse, women may try to access a spectrum of housing options that includes short-term emergency shelters, second-stage shelters, transitional housing, housing first, permanent or subsidized housing. Gendered Perspective and Societal Change Article Summary: Statistics overwhelmingly point to the fact that most victims of abuse are women, and that most often they are abused by men. This does not mean that men are not abused by women, that women are not abused by their same sex partners, that male seniors are not abused by their children of either gender. We do know that if we successfully address violence against women, domestic violence will decrease, making our homes and communities safer for everyone. Consultation Summaries System Leaders Overview Consultations with Women – Summary Article Summary: Women were consulted using focus groups, interviews and questionnaires. A total of 75 women participated, comprised of women of all backgrounds and including two groups with First Nations women.