Expert Working Group - Specialists who Work with Men who Harm their Partners and Children
Laura Ducharme has worked in the domestic violence sector for 25 years. She has been with HomeFront, the agency that oversees the specialized domestic violence court in Calgary, AB, since it was developed 20 years ago. Laura has been in several roles within HomeFront such as the manager of the court program, trial program, high risk offender initiative and she is currently the Community Mobilization Officer who develops the domestic violence justice response model for smaller jurisdictions in AB. Laura developed an Indigenous committee, “Strengthening the Spirit Committee,” in 2001. The committee developed clinical/cultural domestic violence programs for Indigenous men, women and children. Laura built capacity on these programs within the surrounding First Nation communities of Morley, TsuuTina and Siksika in AB. She has also been delivering the Indigenous men’s domestic violence program at the Calgary Correction Centre for over 15 years. Laura is a member of the working groups that completed the development of the first provincial Indigenous court in Alberta. The Calgary Indigenous Court successfully opened in September of 2019. Laura is currently coordinator of a project called,” Safety for Indigenous Women in Urban Setting” which has over 30 partnering Indigenous and non-Indigenous organizations/agencies working in collaboration to reduce violence amongst indigenous women in Calgary.
Dr. Leslie Tutty is a professor emerita with the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Calgary where she taught courses in clinical social work and research. Over the past thirty years, her research has focused on services for domestic violence including evaluations of shelter and post-shelter programs for abused women, support groups for abused women, treatment for adult and child victims of sexual abuse and groups for men who abuse their partners.
Ian began his career in 1986 in Cape Breton NS working with young offenders. In 1995 Ian became the program coordinator of Second Chance, a program for men who batter. As a licensed social worker, Ian continued working with men who were violent in intimate relationships until the early 2000’s and has worked with over 10,000 men who are abusive and over 10,000 women who are victims of abuse. During his work in Nova Scotia Ian worked on the Nova Scotia Government’s Framework for Action on Family Violence under the leadership of the Honourable Bill Gillis Minister of Justice.
Ian is the former Executive Director of the West Central Crisis and Family Support centre in Kindersley SK and the Central Alberta Women’s Emergency Shelter Society. Ian joined the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters as the Director of Programs in 2018 where he is responsible for action-based research on danger assessment, safety planning and promising practices in Alberta and represents the organization with the Canadian Domestic Violence Homicide Prevention Initiative. Ian is currently conducting research on the social ecological location of high-risk domestic violence victims in Alberta’s Women’s Shelters.
In his 35 years working with families, perpetrators and victims of domestic and sexual violence Ian has spent his career developing the coordinated community response to domestic violence and the effects of violence on children. Ian is a lifelong learner and has developed skills and competencies in leading, strategic development and project management. Ian is currently completing an MBA with a concentration on community economic development and leadership.
Theresa Gerritsen is a feminist practitioner working in the anti-violence sector since 1995, in front line and leadership roles in supporting women and their children in transition houses and in specialized victim services. Since 2012, in response to a call from Haven Society in Nanaimo BC, she developed and coordinates a program Men Choose Respect, an intervention program for voluntary and recommended men who agreed to end their use of violence and abuse and choose relationships of safety, equality and respect with their partners and family. With over 600 men having completed the program, these services provide part of the continuum of specialized services of the Community Coordination for Domestic Safety initiative in the Mid Island Region of Vancouver Island. Theresa is associate faculty of City University of Seattle in Canada, teaching graduate students in the Masters of Counselling program.
One additional representative
I have been working with men for 40 years, primarily in the Indigenous community. My focus has been in the areas of corrections, recidivism, domestic abuse/IPV, health & wellness, Indigenous culture and spirituality. As a Metis person I’ve been able to incorporate Traditional Indigenous approaches to helping men address personal healing issues. My focus is to encourage men to learn to be accountable, challenge their toxic masculinity, practice self- care and to develop their emotional literacy.
I have been advocating for men, especially in the areas of Justice, Corrections and Child Welfare. I also advocate and bring awareness of the gender bias men face in these areas. I strongly believe in a conjoint therapeutic approach to IPV and Domestic Abuse. The entire family needs to heal and receive support programming simultaneously when addressing IPV and Domestic Abuse.
Kara Neustaedter is a counsellor at Klinic Community Health in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She graduated from the University of Manitoba in 2003 (B.A. Crim). Her experience as a group facilitator began in a correctional setting where the impacts of trauma could be observed and understood in a meaningful way. Kara began working at Klinic in 2007 and has been facilitating groups and offering individual counselling to men who are interested in addressing their abusive behaviour since that time. Trauma-informed care has been a guiding principle in Kara’s work. Kara is learning how to play classical guitar and takes one daily photograph.
In early 2000 Michele Nichol-Sawh was hired by M.A.P.S. (Men Are Part of the Solution) to be the Director/Therapist for a new men’s treatment program in Thompson, Manitoba. The program is geared towards providing men the necessary counselling to help address anger and stress in their lives, especially as it pertains to domestic violence. This position has been extremely important to her personal growth as an individual in the social work field as it has provided her new insight in the area of unhealthy relationships from a male’s perspective. M.A.P.S. operates within the traditional territory of the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation. As the MAPS Director/Therapist Michele ensures that the MAPS counselling program and its housing (the Phoenix) service is operated in a culturally sensitive manner. Up until Michele’s employment with M.A.P.S, her work and volunteer experience centered towards issues facing women and children. She previously worked for the Awasis Child and Family Services and previously was employed as a Licensed Practical Nurse in Newfoundland.
My name is Amy Fitch. I work at the Beausejour Family Crisis Resource Centre/ the Centre de ressources et de crises familiales Beausejour in Shediac, New Brunswick. Since 2017, I have been a program facilitator for the domestic violence intervention programs. I facilitate the men’s group for medium to high risk offenders. I also do domestic violence programming individually for both men and women, as well as adult anger management and youth anger management. Prior to this, I worked in the mental health field in Quebec for over 8 years.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Cindy Murphy is Executive Director of the John Howard Society of Newfoundland and Labrador a position she has held for the past 15 years. Prior to holding this position, she worked in other parts of the organization including the Director of Howard House which is a community residential center for male adult offenders on conditional release. Throughout her career she has had extensive experience in correctional program development and delivery and combined, she has more than 25 years working with vulnerable populations. Cindy holds a B.A, Criminology Diploma, and Masters degree in Employment Relations from Memorial University of Newfoundland.
No representative at this time
Dawn Ferris is Executive Director of the Cumberland County Transition House Association (CCTHA) in Amherst Nova Scotia. The CCTHA consists of a women’s shelter, Autumn House, and a men’s intervention program, New Directions. Dawn is also the President of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies (CAEFS). CAEFS is the national organization consisting of local Elizabeth Fry Societies across Canada that work with and for criminalized women and gender-diverse people in Canada. Dawn is a passionate feminist, socialist, activist, abolitionist, and a self-proclaimed comedian. Dawn has spent the better part of the last 30 years working on social justice issues, human rights issues, attempting to smash the patriarchy and advocating for equality for all.
Growing up in the inner city of Bain Town in Nassau Bahamas, Mario has seen many murders, assaults, and robberies throughout his life, something that Mario was not interested in being a part of. Mario started college in 2003 in the Bahamas and finished in June 2009. He moved to Canada (Nova Scotia) in 2009 to further his education in Criminology. While living in Nova Scotia, he married into the East Preston community. Mario volunteered with organizations like the Health Association of African Canadians (HAAC) and Association of Black Social Workers (ABSW) where he mentored young boys who didn’t have fathers in their life and came in contact with the justice system. He also facilitated various sessions on men’s health, mental health and social justice issues. Mario volunteered with CeaseFire Halifax and worked with at-risk youths between the ages of 16-25. While volunteering with these organizations, Mario was enrolled in Saint Mary’s University (SMU) where he obtained a double degree in Criminology and Sociology. After graduation from SMU he applied to Dalhousie School of Social Work (DAL) where he obtained a Bachelor and Masters of Social Work. He now works with Nova Scotia Health in a program called Nova Scotia Brotherhood (the only health care service that focuses on Black Men’s Health & Mental Health).
Tod Augusta-Scott, MSW is known internationally for his work with gendered-based violence, restorative approaches, trauma and narrative therapy. He has worked in a community-based organization for over twenty-five years. For the past fifteen he has also worked for the Canadian Armed Forces. He has presented his work internationally (Asia, Europe, British Isles, America) and presented in every province in Canada. He is the co-founder of the Canadian Domestic Violence Conference. He has also taught in the Department of Social Work, Dalhousie University and continues as a guest speaker on a regular basis. Tod is the co-editor and contributor to the critically acclaimed books Narrative Therapy: Making Meaning, Making Lives (Sage Publications, 2007) and Innovations in Interventions to Address Intimate Partner Violence: Research and Practice (Routledge Press, 2017). He has been interviewed by numerous publications including the Huffington Post, Readers Digest, NPR, The Walrus, International Journal of Narrative Therapy, CBC The World at Six, Journal of Systemic Therapies and the Globe and Mail. Tod was awarded the Distinguished Service Award from the Canadian Association of Social Workers. His work is featured in the documentary A Better Man (2017), a film about domestic violence and restorative justice. He serves on the Advisory Council for the Status of Women, Canada. He received an Award of Excellence from the Deputy Minister of National Defence for his work addressing sexual violence in the CAF (2019). His career was also recently highlighted in the Dalhousie University Alumni Magazine.
Clara Luz Castillo
Clara Luz Castillo is Executive Director of Counterpoint Counselling & Educational Co-operative Inc. and registered with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Services Workers. She has 31 years of experience in community-based settings and collaborative interagency work on issues related to violence against women and children. Ms. Castillo has extensive experience in direct service work at both micro and macro levels, all with a focus on eradication of violence against women. She has a solid grounding in knowledge, theory and practice required in the development and implementation of social policies pertaining to gender-based violence. She has a strong foundation in collaborative work with grassroots organizations having spent many years developing joint programs and initiatives for underrepresented groups, particularly people of color. Ms. Castillo spent 14 years of her tenure at Counterpoint developing and running the only Spanish men’s PAR program in Toronto using the methodology of the Duluth model, adapting the curriculum to meet the multicultural needs of violence survivors and men who perpetuate it. Ms. Castillo has presented training and educational workshops issues such as violence against women, working with men who perpetuate violence and counselling survivors in the United States, Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, Canada, Czech Republic and Chile.
Tim Kelly, MSW, RSW
Tim has a clinical practice focusing on working with men who have used violence and control in both intimate relationships and as fathers for over 30 years. He is the Executive Director of Changing Ways, a social service agency for men who abuse women in Ontario and Manager of the Family Violence Counseling Program at the Oxford County Children’s Aid society.
He is one of the co-developers and lead trainer for Caring Dads: Helping Fathers Value Their Children. Caring Dads is a group intervention program that focusses on the working with father who have harmed their children either directly or through exposing them to intimate partner violence.
Tim has spoken both nationally and internationally on issues related to violence against women and children and community collaborations. Much of his efforts have included engaging men to end violence against women and children. He has collaborated with researchers, women’s advocates and child protection leaders to develop programs and processes to engage and hold men who perpetrate gender- based violence responsible for their actions and systems accountable for change.
One additional representative
Prince Edward Island
Jo-Anne Hargrove has been a Social Worker for 36 years after graduating from St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick. She has worked in various positions including child welfare, hospital social worker, custody and group homes. For the past 25 years, she has been the Provincial Turning Point Coordinator of IPV programming in Prince Edward Island. For 22 years, she had sole responsibility for assessing clients, coordinating groups, recruiting and training facilitators, program development and co-facilitating groups in various locations throughout the province. Over the past 25 years she has coordinated over 85 groups, trained over 40 facilitators and she has co-facilitated approximately 40 of those groups. Other training and/or certificates include, SARA 3, O’DARA, Narrative Approaches, Response Based Practice, Trauma Informed Care, Strength Based Approaches, and CBT and DBT. She has participated in training in the ASI Way Model, training for facilitating groups for men healing from child sexual abuse and has co-facilitated the Positive Parenting From Two Homes Program. She worked with an outside researcher who completed an evaluation of The Turning Point Program in 2018. Jo-Anne is a committee member of the Premier’s Action Committee on Family Violence. She values working as part of a small team in gender-based violence and looks forward to learning and contributing to this national project.
One additional representative
Claudia Champagne est travailleuse sociale et directrice de l’organisme l’Accord Mauricie. Elle possède une expertise clinique de plusieurs années dans le domaine de la violence conjugale et plus particulièrement dans l’aide aux hommes qui en exercent.
Claudia Champagne is a social worker ands director of L’Accord Mauricie. She has has many years of clinical expertise in the domain of intimate partner violence and specifically working with men who are abusive.
José Desjardins a pratiqué à titre d’infirmière autorisée (notamment en psychiatrie) pendant 5 ans, portant un grand intérêt aux saines relations et aux relations égalitaires, sa trajectoire de vie, la conduite à s’engager dans la lutte à la violence conjugale. Elle cumule 25 années d’expérience en matière d’intervention en violence conjugale et familiale. Elle a occupé divers rôles dont un des premiers postes d’intervenante jeunesse en maison d’hébergement, elle a agi à titre d’intervenante, d’agente de développement des programmes pour occuper, depuis 2003, la direction de l’organisme Donne-Toi une chance.
Ses intérêts et ses fonctions l’ont amené à contribuer aux réalisations suivantes :
Développement et déploiement de l’activité d’intervention auprès des mères et des enfants victimes ; d’un modèle de collaboration multisectoriel en milieu scolaire au niveau primaire et secondaire en lien avec l’intimidation, le harcèlement, la violence dans les fréquentations amoureuses et la violence agit.
Élaboration d’outils et d’un programme d’intervention s’adressant aux enfants victimes/exposés à la violence conjugale et auprès des hommes auteurs de violence conjugale et familiale ;
Développement de divers protocoles de collaboration en matière de violence conjugale, dont la tenue des Soirées d’information aux conjointes ;
Développement et rayonnement des connaissances en matière de réalités masculines et d’hommes auteurs de violence conjugale (formations et présentations)
Membre divers comités aviseurs et/ou partenaire de nombreux travaux de recherches en lien avec la violence dont la réalisation en autres, du guide Intervenir auprès des hommes pour prévenir l'homicide conjugal (Drouin et coll., 2012), du Guide pour intervenant(e)s : s’adapter aux réalités des hommes (Table l’outaouais au masculin, Barabé et coll., 2012)
Au fil des années, divers rôles lui sont reconnus ; membre représentant d’À cœur d’homme au comité directeur du CRI-VIFF, formatrice dans l’application du guide Intervenir auprès hommes ; membre de divers comités de développement et de rédaction, représentante à diverses tables de concertation en lien avec la violence conjugale et les vulnérabilités masculines.
Membre de l’association provinciale À cœur d’homme, du Regroupement provincial pour la santé et bien-être des hommes, du Regroupement pour la valorisation de la paternité et du Réseau Maisons Oxygène.
Bev Poitras’ most valuable role is mother and grandmother. She has 4 children, 16 grandchildren and two great grandchildren, Noah and Seraphina. Bev has been a mediator and facilitator for more than 20 years. Restorative justice is the foundation of her present work practice, ideology and advocacy. She administers the Restorative Justice Unit at the File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council. She recently received funding for a men’s safe shelter. As a survivor of domestic violence, Bev is determined to assist victims of domestic violence and educate those doing the harm by facilitating a 52- week domestic violence intervention program called “The way” modeled after “ASI”. Bev is the recipient of the Saskatchewan Centennial Award and the Successful FSIN award presented by the Government of Saskatchewan.
Dr. Wayne Schlapkohl is a psychologist with the Saskatchewan Health Authority where he provides individual, couple, and group counselling and adult assessment. For the last 16 years he has been co-facilitating the Alternatives to Violence group at Battlefords Mental Health Centre. This 18-week men’s group predominantly serves clients involved in the Battlefords Domestic Violence Treatment Options Court, one of Canada’s longest running treatment courts for domestic violence. This treatment court held its first sitting in North Battleford, Saskatchewan in April 2003. Initially, this treatment court encouraged a cooperative relationship between counsellors, the judiciary, prosecutions and Legal Aid, but soon expanded to involve a women’s support group, victim services, women’s shelters, and others working together to reduce domestic violence in our community. The ability for these diverse groups to work together remains a strength of this treatment court.