Family Violence Outreach Team

Program snapshot

Age group: Not age specific

Gender: Mixed (male and female)

Population served: Adult offenders; Families; Victims of crime

Topic: Family (domestic) violence/child maltreatment; Recidivism

Setting: Rural/remote area; Urban area; Community-based setting; Social services setting

Location: Alberta

Number of completed Canadian outcome evaluation studies: 0

Continuum of intervention: Tertiary crime prevention

Brief Description

The Family Violence Outreach Team (FVOT) is a collaborative, interdisciplinary initiative undertaken to enhance the community and RCMP response to incidents of family violence within Wetaskiwin RCMP detachment area. The Family Violence Outreach Worker works closely with RCMP to follow up on assigned domestic violence cases, providing support, information, referrals, and, in some cases, safety planning. Services may be provided by phone, home visit or in a face-to-face meeting outside of the home. Cases with children are referred to Children’s Services for additional support. 

Goals

The main goals of the Family Violence Outreach Team are to:

  • Develop best practices for effective interventions aiming to reduce family violence within Wetaskiwin and District;
  • Reduce the prevalence of family violence incidents in Wetaskiwin;
  • Reduce the number of repeat and chronic family violence incidents;
  • Increase safety for adult victims and their families;
  • Increase individual and family access (victim, offender, children) to supportive services within their community;
  • Develop stronger communication with agencies in the community, increasing awareness and reducing gaps in service;
  • Strengthen a shared vision of all community stakeholders for the prevention of family violence;
  • Increase community awareness and understanding of the issue of family violence; and
  • Reduce recidivism and increase support services for offenders.

Clientele

The appropriate clientele for the Family Violence Outreach Team are families with children. 558 families, including over 500 children, were served by the Family Violence Outreach Team during the SCIF funding period.

Core Components

The Family Violence Outreach Team operates as follows:

  • The majority of the participants come into the program because there has been a family violence incident, to which police have responded. As well referrals may come from community partner agencies or through self-referral; 
  • The RCMP members deal with the charges and with safety for the victim and family. The Family Violence Outreach Worker contacts the victim usually by phone or sometimes at an agreed upon public meeting place to check on the victim’s welfare; provide safety planning, emotional support and information about services, options and/or justice system responses (e.g. court dates, etc.); and make referrals or help the victim to access appropriate community-based services; and
  • The Community Development Worker helps to engage strategic community partners and services for an overall coordinated community response to family violence. The Community Development Worker helps to facilitate professional training, public education, awareness campaigns, common protocols and information sharing.

Implementation Information

Some of the critical elements for the implementation of this program or initiative include the following:

  • Organizational requirements: The FVOT consists of two assigned RCMP officers and one full-time combined Family Violence Outreach and Community Development position. The Family Violence Unit provides expert, focused support to victims of family violence, and must have the ability to recognize low level family violence and deal with it successfully.
  • Partnerships: The following partners are involved in the Family Violence Outreach Team: Wetaskiwin RCMP Detachment, CFSA Region 4; Wetaskiwin and District Victim Services; Wetaskiwin Regional Public Schools; Community Learning Council for Wetaskiwin and Area; Alberta Health Services (AADDAC); the Prevention of Family Violence Resource Centre; Primary Care Network; and Probation/Corrections.
  • Training and technical assistance: The project provided partners and other community agencies with training tools and information to ensure people impacted by family violence have access to information and services they need.
  • Risk assessment tools: Limited information on this topic.
  • Materials & resources: Limited information on this topic.

International Endorsements

The most recognized classification systems of evidence-based crime prevention programs have classified this program or initiative as follows:

  • Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development: Not applicable.
  • Crime Solutions/OJJDP Model Program Guide: Not applicable.
  • SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices: Not applicable.
  • Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy: Not applicable.

Gathering Canadian Knowledge

Canadian Implementation Sites

Funding was provided by the Safe Communities Innovation Fund (SCIF), Government of Alberta, to the Wetaskiwin and District Victim Services Society to implement the program in Wetaskiwin, Alberta.

823 cases were served by the Family Violence Unit (FVU). Approximately 38% of the cases involve children, with an average of 2 or more children per family. Overall, it is estimated that more than 1,000 children were impacted. The Community Development Worker assisted with a number of community events in order to promote awareness of family violence and the FVU services. It is estimated that 1870 people attended events where the FVU Community Development Worker was promoting family violence awareness.

Main Findings from Canadian Outcome Evaluation Studies

No information available.

Cost Information

A social return on investment (SROI) has been conducted on the Family Violence Outreach Team program. The findings from this study have shown the following:

  • The SROI analysis indicates that over three years of pilot funding, the Wetaskiwin Family Violence Outreach Team created an average of $2.98 of social value for every dollar invested in the program; and
  • As the Family Violence Outreach Team works to decrease the impact and incidents of domestic violence in their community, victims and perpetrators use fewer resources. This includes decreased use of shelters, counselling, and health services, as well as decreased justice system involvement, including incarceration, police time, legal time, etc. Further, there is reduced demand on Children's Services when the incidents of domestic violence are reduced.

References

Alberta Community Crime Prevention Organizations. (2015). Social Return on Investment (SROI) Case Study: Family Violence Outreach Team. Recipient of Safe Communities Innovation Fund, Government of Alberta. Available from: https://open.alberta.ca/publications/safe-communities-innovation-fund-pilot-project-executive-summaries 

For more information on this program, contact:

Wetaskiwin & District Victim Services Society
Petra Pfeiffer      
Phone: (780)312-7287
E-mail: vicserve@incentre.net                                      


Record Entry Date - 2018-02-22

Date modified: