Maskwacis Family Violence Unit (MFVU)
Age group: Not age specific
Gender: Mixed (male and female)
Number of completed Canadian outcome evaluation studies: 0
Continuum of intervention: Tertiary crime prevention
The Maskwacis Family Violence Unit (MFVU) is a collaborative and interdisciplinary initiative originally undertaken by the following six partners: Ermineskin Women’s Shelter Society, Maskwacis RCMP, Maskwacis Victim Services, Central Alberta Children and Families Service, Kasohkowew Child Services, and Akamkisipatinaw Ohpikihaw (AKO) Child Services. The MFVU enhances the community by addressing the rising incidents of family violence within the four Nations of Maskwacis: Samson, Louis Bull, Ermineskin, and Montana.
The original MFVU program design consisted of four team members: an RCMP constable, an outreach worker, a Children’s Services worker, and a part-time Elder. In year two, the team was changed to an RCMP constable, an outreach worker, and two part-time Elders (one female; one male). In the project’s final year, the team was changed to two RCMP constables and two part-time Elders, with expanded hours for Elder support.
The main goals of the MFVU program are to:
- Develop best practices for effective interventions for family violence within First Nations communities;
- Reduce the prevalence of family violence incidents in the Hobbema Four Nations communities;
- Reduce the number of repeat and chronic family violence incidents;
- Increase safety for adult victims and children;
- Increase individual and family access (victim, perpetrator, children) to supportive services within their community, including access to the support of an Elder working with the MFU;
- Increase the awareness of children and community members about the issue of family violence and about healthy relationships in order to reduce community acceptance of violence as normal or expected; and
- Greater accountability for offenders.
The MFVU program supports First Nations individuals affected by high-risk (extremely violent) and continually recurring (chronic) violence in the home. Affected individuals include victims, children who witness the violence, and perpetrators.
The core components of the MFVU program were divided between the RCMP constable/Outreach Worker and the Elders as follows:
The role of the RCMP constable and Outreach Worker is to:
- Provide follow-up safety planning referrals and connections to community support services;
- Work collaboratively with Children’s Services;
- Increase community awareness of domestic violence through community education initiatives; and
- The RCMP members were also responsible for reviewing all domestic violence files to ensure quality of investigation.
The role of Elders is to provide social/emotional, cultural, and spiritual support and guidance to:
- Individuals and families who are experiencing domestic violence;
- Individuals being held at the RCMP detachment; and
- Other members of the community who may be seeking support.
Some of the critical elements for the implementation of this program or initiative include the following:
- Organizational requirements: This project requires strong communication and collaboration between different agencies involved.
- Partnerships: The Maskwacis Family Violence Unit is a collaborative and interdisciplinary initiative originally undertaken by the following six partners: Ermineskin Women’s Shelter Society, Makwacis RCMP, Maskwacis Victim Services, Central Alberta Children and Families Service, Kasohkowew Child Services, and Akamkisipatinaw Ohpikihaw (AKO) Child Services.
- Training and technical assistance: There was no specific training for this program. Program organizers suggest the Aboriginal Elders should be supported with training opportunities and resources that they would find helpful.
- Risk assessment tools: Limited information on this topic.
- Materials & resources: Limited information on this topic.
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
This program was first implemented in the hamlet of Maskwacis, Alberta from April 2010 to June 2015. In this time, 470 cases were served (97 year one, 152 year two, 98 year three, and 123 year 4). The community straddles the boundaries between the Ermineskin Cree Nation reserve, the Samson Cree Nation reserve and Ponoka County.
Main Findings from Canadian Outcome Evaluation Studies
No information available.
The SROI analysis reveals that over three years of pilot funding, MFVU creates an average of $4.20 of social value for every dollar invested in the program. Fluctuations in the SROI ratio over the three years indicate the sensitivity to participation rates and specific participant profiles. Nevertheless, significant social value has been created by this pilot project.
The MFVU creates social value through the provision of a follow-up team response to high conflict domestic violence situations. This value is enhanced by understanding the historical and cultural context of the clients and emphasizing the inclusion of culturally appropriate supports provided by community elders.
As the MFVU decreases the incidence and severity of domestic violence in the community, fewer resources are used by victims and perpetrators. This includes:
- Decreased use of victims’ or health services;
- Decreased justice system involvement including, incarceration, police time, legal time, etc.; and
- Decreased services used by the children of the involved families.
Alberta Community Crime Prevention Organizations. (2015). Social Return on Investment (SROI) Case Study: Maskwacis Family Violence Unit (MFVU). 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:
Maskwacis Family Violence Unit
Cpl. Andrew Wagner
Record Updated On - 2021-04-29
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