A New Day

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Overview

Community-based counselling for men who have abused.

““A New Day” is a community-based counselling program in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories for men who have used abuse in their relationships. Propel: Community program offering individual and group counselling with the goal of helping men stop their abusive behaviour and heal from past tramas of colonialism. “

“A New Day” is a community-based counselling program in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories for men who have used abuse in their relationships. It is run through The Tree of Peace Friendship Centre, a long-standing non-profit led by local Elders and First Nations community members. “A New Day” is a family violence initiative that is the result of more than a decade of community consultation and advocacy by the Coalition Against Family Violence and is funded by the Department of Community Justice. The first phase of the program began at The Healing Drum Society, an Aboriginal Non-profit, in November of 2012. Due to internal organizational difficulties, the program was suspended in April 2014 then resumed operation at The Tree of Peace Friendship Centre in January 2015.

“A New Day” prevents family violence by inviting those who use abuse to take responsibility for their past behaviour, form relapse prevention plans, heal the damage, and use their strengths to continue to build respectful relationships with themselves, partners, children and community. This is done within a framework of cultural competency, looking at the impacts and origins of trauma on spiritual, physical, emotional, and mental levels.

A New Day accepts self-referred, agency referred, and mandated clients to a set of free individual and group counselling sessions. While the primary clients are men who have used abuse in their relationships, women also come forward, asking for counselling to help them heal from domestic violence. A New Day is able to offer a high degree of community involvement and interagency collaboration with numerous other services, such as courts, probation, parole, child protection, women’s advocacy groups and shelters. A New Day collaborates with organizations while being able to deliver culturally competent, flexible services in a welcoming environment.

The program was developed in consultation with various First Nations, Inuit, and Métis community members and organizations (both non-profit and government) throughout the Northwest Territories. The initiative took over a decade of development to insure the greatest degree of usefulness to the community. When asked what could be done to prevent domestic violence in our communities, women, children, and men responded: help our men stop their abusive behaviour and heal from the past traumas of colonialism.

Not only is the idea of the program rooted in community needs, it remains accountable to the community context. While the program was piloted in Yellowknife, the plan is that it will move into other communities once it is shown to be effective. Throughout the implementation of the program, a community advisory committee informs A New Day’s activities, as well there is an evaluation committee continually reviewing the results of the program. The Tree of Peace Friendship Centre board of directors and the Coalition Against Family Violence oversee the program on a day-to-day basis. A New Day consults with community Elders, and are continuously connecting with other Indigenous organizations throughout the country, as well. For example, in addition to involving local initiatives, A New Day has also reached out to the “Warriors Against Violence” First Nations group in Vancouver, BC.

The program is based on helping clients to highlight the importance of integrating mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual components of respect in all relationships. A New Day services are not only limited to the male clients, but also provides services and referrals to women who are seeking help to heal from domestic violence. A New Day is also actively involved in the community through the positive outreach campaign “Men Choose Respect”. A New Day attends community events, such as the Métis Fish Fry for Aboriginal day, to engage men, women, children, and Elders in discussing what it means to choose respect in relationships. By starting the discussion, A New Day encourages positive male role models.

From January – August 2015 A New Day has served 96 individual clients for a population of approximately 18,000 residents in Yellowknife. A New Day has booked over 600 individual appointments, and competed 45 group sessions. In addition, from January – August 2015, A New Day has delivered 77 presentations to community organizations, national conferences, and community outreach gatherings all around the topic of domestic violence.

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