Intimate Partner Violence: New Directions For Programming

My Sister's Place (14979139681) photo by Congregation of Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada is licensed under no known restrictions on using this file
Many people have passed through the doors of this domestic violence shelter, which opened in London in 1980. Service providers know that there are others who need support but would not stay at a shelter.

Governments looking to ramp up their programming to help people living with intimate partner (aka domestic) violence have a new resource to help with their planning.

Anova and Changing Ways are agencies based in London Ontario, that help people living with intimate partner violence. The agencies began a community discussion in 2018 about what needed to happen to extend support to the people who were living with violence, but not seeking help. One of the reasons is central to affordablehousingaction.org’s interests: partners leaving violent partners no longer have a combined income to pay for their home and risk becoming homeless.

The results of the discussions have just been released in a report. It contains ideas that have not received much attention or support to date, including strategies that would prevent homelessness. Here’s an example: operating temporary housing and programming for the people who initiate violence, rather than the victims. With a temporary place to stay, coaching and support, initiators have changed their behaviour and returned to live in the family home. Funding for temporary housing would allow them to complete programming and contribute to family housing costs.  See more in The London Free Press: More ‘eyes, hands’ on abusive men among recommendations to break domestic violence rates

COVID-19, with its home based response, has also put people who live with domestic violence at additional risk. Media coverage has raised the profile of domestic violence in many countries. One might expect that people would feel more free to seek help. While this might be the case, it’s important remember that COVID-19 might also mean more people who don’t call.

This recent story from Australia highlights one example. It is the story of a newcomer who fled a violent relationship. In the days leading up to COVID-19, international travel created opportunities for inter-country romances. Newcomers are unlikely to seek help, as they might not be aware of programming, might not be eligible for programming and might reasonably expect that a call could lead to deportation. Read more at ABC News: Woman who fled domestic violence during lockdown speaks out