Safe at Home is a 4-year pilot project funded by the Status of Women Canada department for Women and Gender Equality. It is designed to be an alternative approach to supporting families experiencing domestic abuse and violence. The Safe at Home project will initially be based in Claresholm and will be the first of its kind in a rural setting.
Similar to a successful program in Australia, the Safe at Home model would see the perpetrator removed from the home rather than the family fleeing to a shelter. The purpose of this is to create safety and more stability for the women and children affected by abuse (they get to stay connected to their support networks and daily routines), while addressing the behavioural aspects of the abuser to prevent future instances of abuse (focusing on the root cause).
A project manager was hired at the end of August to develop the program and get it up and running. To date, two stakeholder meetings have been held with our partners including Children and Family Services, RCMP, FCSS Claresholm, the Domestic Violence Action Response Team, Chinook Sexual Assault, and the Chief Crown Prosecutor Office- Lethbridge. We have been looking at different options for housing the perpetrators – connecting with realtors and community members in Claresholm to determine the best fit for our program; as well as developing what the programming will look like once they’re admitted.
The program is expected to be fully operational by this summer.