Emerging Issues, In the News

Part 5: Inquest Recommendations — Perpetrator Interventions

September 14, 2022

In this fifth blog in our ongoing series exploring the jury recommendations from the Culleton, Warmerdam, and Kuzyk Coroner’s Inquest, we’re focusing on the themes related to people who use abusive behaviours toward their partners.

This historic coroner investigation looked at the domestic violence murders of three Canadian women – Nathalie Warmerdam, Anastasia Kuzyk and Carol Culleton – and we want to help you understand how we can hold our public institutions accountable to prevent similar tragedies from happening again.

Our first four blogs covered the recommendations on accountability, agency collaboration, funding, and education and training. 

Now let's take a look at how flexible, accessible services for perpetrators should be available in our communities.

Enhance the accessibility of services

  • The jury recommended that the government set up a province-wide 24/7 support hotline to help prevent IPV.
  • Programs must be accessible by clients voluntarily and via referral, and not just through the criminal justice system.
  • Flexible program options for IPV perpetrators need to be developed for perpetrators in custody, serving sentences, and in their communities. If released while completing a program, it’s important that the perpetrator can still finish the program in their own community. 

An approach that’s not one-size-fits-all

  • The jury recognized that a one-size-fits-all approach to Partner Assault Response – or PAR – programming isn’t effective.
  • A variety of group-based interventions plus individual counseling and case management sessions should be available to assess and manage risk and to supplement services to address individual needs. This could include substance use and abuse, general criminal behaviour, mental health, fathering, and culturally specific services.
  • PARs and other perpetrator intervention programs should be regularly audited for efficacy, consistency, and relevance. 

Increase funding and improve coordination

  • The jury noted that programs should be funded at a level that anticipates increased referrals.
  • Cross-agency and cross-system collaborative services must respond immediately with risk management services, and the coordination of services should address substance use, mental health, child protection, and IPV perpetration.
  • A network of specialized services to address IPV perpetration and messaging around availability is also recommended.
  • The capacity of IPV service providers involved in perpetrator intervention should be supported through supervision, ongoing professional development, and mental health support.
  • Enhanced funding is needed to minimize destabilizing factors for perpetrators of IPV, such as financial instability, housing insecurity and mental health issues that increase risk and create barriers for survivors to leave violence. Consideration must be given to how these factors are affected by rural contexts.

Tailor public service campaign resources to men

  • Public education campaigns should also address perpetration. They should incorporate men’s voices, their experiences, and specifically encourage men to seek help for abusive behaviours.

Our upcoming sixth installment in this blog series will highlight IPV intervention tactics in Canada.

Keep an eye on the NFF blog or follow us on Facebook and Twitter to hear first when we post updates on this series.