Breaking the Cycle of Violence

    CALGARY, Aug. 16 /CNW/ - Rates of repeat offenders in family violence
cases have sharply declined in Calgary since HomeFront's creation in 2000.
HomeFront's review of the program demonstrates how Calgary's coordinated,
collaborative community-justice response to domestic violence helps break the
cycle of violence in families.
    "HomeFront provides a rare combination of wrap around victim support,
offender treatment and integrated systems in a combination not seen in other
specialized courts nationally, or internationally," said Robbie Babins-Wagner,
CEO, Calgary Counselling Centre.
    From 2000 to 2006, of the 10,000 domestic violence offenders in Calgary,
only 22 per cent re-offended. Re-offence benchmark rates from other
jurisdictions are reported at 30 per cent (Tolman, R.M. and Weisz, A, 1995).
Of the 1,790 individuals that appeared in Calgary's specialized court in 2006,
only 9 per cent had re-offended in the previous year.
    "HomeFront's key stakeholders have collaborated to get justice working in
Calgary and the decline in domestic violence re-offenders clearly reflects the
exciting results that Calgary's coordinated community-justice response is
having," says Kevin McNichol, Executive Director for HomeFront.
    The Government of Alberta has played an important role in furthering
HomeFront's initiatives. The province is committed to preventing family
violence and bullying and supports HomeFront through major funding and
collaboration. As well, the Alberta Mental Health Board plays a major role in
the HomeFront model through funding of offender treatment and partnering to
bring evidence into practice.
    "These statistics are clear evidence that HomeFront's unique approach is
making a difference in preventing family violence in Alberta," said Ron
Stevens, Deputy Premier and Minister of Justice, Government of Alberta.
"Homefront has truly shown us the way," said Stevens, noting Alberta now has
specialized domestic violence courts in eight communities.
    Preventing family violence and bullying is part of Premier Ed Stelmach's
plan to provide Albertans safe and secure communities.

    Results from the 2006 review highlight:

    Of the 1,790 domestic violence matters concluded in 2006:

    -   70 per cent were concluded early at docket court
    -   28 per cent accepted Peace Bonds; 30 per cent entered guilty pleas
    -   17 per cent of offenders were sentenced to some period of
    -   875 offenders received domestic violence counselling
    -   of those offenders who completed treatment, re-offence rates dropped
        further from 9 to 6 per cent

    Domestic Court Caseworkers

    -   Docket court caseworkers contacted 74 per cent of all the victims
    -   82 per cent of victims who attended trials had prior contact with a
    -   successful trial prosecutions increased by 9 per cent due to
        increased complainant participation

    HomeFront is the collaborative community-justice response to domestic
violence in Calgary, bringing together social service agencies, law
enforcement and the criminal justice system to deliver a coordinated, seamless
and timely response to the families and individuals involved. Central to the
HomeFront response are specialized docket and trial courts dedicated to
domestic violence.

For further information:

For further information: Andrea Lauder, Communications Officer, (403)
206-2100 ext. 234,

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