The Northern John Howard Society will receive $60,000 from the provincial government to train more facilitators to deliver a domestic violence prevention program. Stop Taking it Out on Your Partner (STOP) is open to everyone, not just those who've committed a crime and it has been drawing enough interest to create waiting lists.
"It seems to come in waves, but consistently there almost seems to be an over-demand," NJHS executive director Wayne Hughes said Friday during a media event to announce the funding. He said the versions focused on couples and one-on-one counselling are booked two to three months in advance.
"For us that's a concern because if somebody walks through the door... and they're having anger issues right away, it's difficult to say to them, come back in a month and a half." In addition to Prince George, NJHS is responsible for delivering STOP in Kamloops, Vancouver and Campbell River and the money will also be used to train facilitators in those communities.
A further $600,000 is going to 10 other groups delivering a different program. There is also a group program - capped at 17 people and delivered three times a year - that consists of eight units, meeting once a week over 14 weeks.
A version exclusively for women is also available.
STOP works on such issues as dealing with anger and identifying triggers, the relationship between fear and anger, self esteem, toxic shame, respectful and effective communication and even tips on having fun in relationships. Hughes issued a sobering warning about what it won't do: "One of the first things we tell our men in our group is that if you've come here to save your marriage, leave," he said. "Because the point of this program is not to save your marriage, the point of this program is for you to learn skills so that you are a better communicator, you understand your emotions, you can control your anger and you have these tools to become a better person."
In other words, a tough decision may still be in store. "By the end of this, you might discover you're in a toxic relationship and you maybe need to leave the relationship." In announcing the funding, Prince George-Mackenzie MLA Mike Morris said his parents separated when he was young over the very issues STOP is trying to tackle. "It's something that's very near and dear to me," he said.
The money will also be used to pay the facilitators once trained and to augment the STOP website and pay for materials. A timeline was not provided on when the new facilitators will be in place.
Published on March 10, 2017