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Partner Assault Response Program

Upon referral to the partner assault response program the coordinator will support you in accessing services in French.

Il existe des services en français pour les femmes victimes de violence conjugale.  Une coordonnatrice du programme d’intervention contre la violence conjugale vous aidera à accéder à ces services.    

The Partner Assault Response (PAR) Program at Design for a New Tomorrow is an education and counselling program for individuals who have been abusive/controlling to their spouse or intimate partner.

The PAR Program consists of 12 weeks of group counselling for individuals who have been violent, abusive or have used any form of coercion towards a spouse/partner. The goal is to increase partner safety and offender accountability. Participants are engaged in structured exercises that help them examine their beliefs and behaviours. They are given the opportunity to understand that past choices were a means to gain power and control over their partner. There are separate groups for women who are found or have pled guilty to a charge of partner abuse. Self referrals are also welcome.

The PAR program is based on the following principles:

  • Abusive behaviour is a choice. The offender’s actions are not accidental. They are chosen with the intent of controlling another person. Since abuse is a choice, the offender can choose to act non-abusively. Research indicates that offenders choose not to use controlling behaviours in the workplace or in the community. The offender’s choice to use violence is rarely seen publicly which is why many women (or men) are not believed when they reveal what has happened
  • Abusive behaviour is not an anger management problem
  • Abuse is the sole responsibility of the abuser. There is nothing an abused partner does to provoke or contribute to abusive behaviour
  • Abuse is socially constructed, but individually willed. The PAR program reflects on the relationship between behaviour and the social and cultural values that have supported violence and discrimination
  • Domestic violence offenders have the right to be treated with respect. Holding offenders accountable for their choices is not done in a way that mirrors their abusive or controlling behaviours toward their partner. We are committed to the principles of respect for all and maintaining an individual’s dignity

Cost of Program

Fees for the 12 week group are on a sliding scale based on annual income. Individuals are expected to pay a portion of the fee as part of the accountability process.

There is no fee for the partner contact (see below) portion of the program.

Special Assistance

Language interpretation services are available if needed. Interpreters have received special training related to domestic violence. Interpreters follow Design for a New Tomorrow’s guidelines in relation to client confidentiality.

The Partner Assault Response Program (PAR) is funded by the Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario.

Groups are facilitated by a team of one male and one female counsellor.

Group Members Will

  • Be held accountable for their actions
  • Develop an understanding of the impact of abuse on others
  • Learn positive ways to express feelings and healthy ways of coping with stress
  • Practice effective communication and development of healthy relationships
  • Develop an understanding of the connection between early learning and current behaviour
  • Explore their views of male and female roles and sexist attitudes

Partner Contact Process

The PAR Program also provides services to the current or former partners of participants in the group. Its emphasis is ensuring that the partner remains safe, and that they understand that they are not to blame for the abuse. Raising awareness about abusers beliefs and behaviours is a key element in protecting victims from future abuse.

Services Include:

  • Contact with PAR staff
  • Help with safety planning
  • Information about the structure of the PAR program
  • Identify any possibilities of an escalation of risk to the partner which threatens the partner's safety
  • Ongoing contact regarding the progress of the PAR participant
  • Referrals to appropriate community partners for additional support
  • Information about additional services that may be helpful to the partner or their children which might include individual counselling

Offered in Partnership with Family Counselling Centre Niagara.

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Design for a New Tomorrow
502-60 James Street
St. Catharines, ON L2R 7E7
Phone: (905) 684-1223
Fax: (905) 684-8067

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