HomeFront Society for the Prevention of Domestic Violence
Our Story Why We Exist
My story is one of perseverance and strength.
I married Brian, the man of my dreams, and quickly found out I made a mistake. My life was a fairy-tale alright, just one told from the side of the villain. I felt trapped, yet mesmerized by a type of magic that held me there – really it was wanting to believe that he could change and that things would be different.
With frequent beatings and never being good enough, I endured and existed with each day eating away at my self-confidence and self-worth.
In 2010, the beating was particularly severe so I called 911. From this call, I was connected with HomeFront and this is when my life started to change.
I wasn’t ready to leave at this time, but HomeFront stayed with me – checking in with me to see if I was safe, and listening to where I was and what I needed. At first, Brian’s power and control over me seemed to dictate my future and I had trouble seeing a life without him.
In 2012, the beatings escalated – only now I was pregnant. For the first time I felt a sense of panic and urgency – I needed this child to be safe and the only way was to leave. HomeFront was there to help me create a safety plan and relocate to another province. I still keep in touch with HomeFront as they continue to listen, support me and help me stay safe.
I had a baby boy. I’m a happy, independent mom and a woman who feels dignified and respected.
HomeFront’s support opened my eyes to a life free from abuse. With HomeFront, I began to believe in myself and honour the strength I now realize I always had. I am grateful to HomeFront. Best of all, I’m raising my son in a safe and healthy home, and together we are living our very own happily ever after. Thank you, HomeFront!
HISTORY | In 1990, representatives from a variety of community organizations within the domestic violence sector got together to form the Mayor’s Task Force on Community and Family Violence. This project brought together 60 community groups within the sector with the common goal of launching a specialized domestic violence court in Calgary. By 2000, Calgary instated Alberta’s first specialized domestic court. Thirteen years later, the program is still around and is still committed to ensuring perpetrators take accountability for their actions. Today this program is known as HomeFront.
HomeFront was one of the first organizations to bring together all of the individuals and organizations connected to the justice system. Initially, HomeFront supported 1,000 perpetrators and the individuals they’d victimized. Today, HomeFront has more than 30 staff members, 20 volunteers and a $3.5 million budget.
HomeFront’s committed partners and dedicated employees continually strive to instate different programs that address the needs of all individuals affected by domestic violence. Within the last year, HomeFront has focused on expanding its Domestic Conflict Response Team, which provides intervention and referral service for individuals dealing with chronic or high-risk incidents of domestic violence where charges have not been laid.
The High Risk Management Initiative, which provides risk assessment, risk management and intense intervention strategies for high-risk cases, is also in the process of expanding. Soon these programs will be serving the entire city.
Our Impact What We Do
HomeFront is creating safe communities by eliminating domestic violence through direct client services, justice coordination, and facilitating community action. At our core, HomeFront is based on collaboration. We work alongside the courts, judges, lawyers, police, child services, shelters and local treatment agencies to ensure victims and their families have the opportunity to move their lives in a positive and healthy direction and break the cycle of abuse.
VISION | Together with our partners, HomeFront is working towards a common vision to significantly reduce the incidence and repeat nature of domestic violence in Calgary.
IMPACT | We are an integrated part of the justice system, and since the inception of HomeFront, domestic violence re-offence rates in Calgary have been cut in half and victim engagement in the justice process has more than doubled. Victims are safer, offenders are being held accountable, and families are being given their best chance at a future free of domestic violence.
"Over the last ten years, HomeFront has changed the lives of more than 25,000 victims and their children. Together, we can achieve a society free of domestic violence where everyone has the opportunity to realize their full potential." -Kevin McNichol, Executive Director - HomeFront
HIGHLIGHTS | In 2013, more than 1,186 adults and 545 children were assisted by the Domestic Conflict Response Team. All of these families report they are now living free of domestic violence and 88% report the cessation or reduction in family conflict. Within the last fiscal year, the Specialized Domestic Violence Court Program supported 2,129 victims and 2,422 accused were served.
Our Programs How We Do It
HomeFront has two unique programs that work in collaboration with our partners to provide wrap around support victims and their families and ultimately save lives:
The Domestic Conflict Response Team (DCRT) collaborates with the Calgary Police Service and Calgary and Area Child and Family Services to identify families who are at-risk of further incidents of domestic violence. Generally in these cases, calls have been made to the police, but no charges were laid. The Domestic Conflict Response Team works with families in their homes to provide early intervention in order to interrupt the cycle of abuse at its early stages. They help connect families to the proper resources and referrals for community services and treatment programs, provide safety planning, and any other supports they might require to improve safety and prevent future incidents of domestic violence.
The Domestic Violence Intervention and Resource Team (DVIRT) supports victims of domestic violence after charges are laid and the case is entering the justice system. Case Managers provide wrap around support to victims to:
- Help them understand the court proceedings.
- Ensure their interests are considered in court decisions.
- Develop effective safety planning.
- Connect victims to resources in the community.
- Follow-up with victims until probation orders end and clients’ safety is optimized.
The DVIRT works closely with the High Risk Management Initiative (HRMI), which provides risk assessment, risk management and intense intervention strategies for high-risk offenders and their victims. This service is a partnership with Alberta Health Services, Calgary and Area Child and Family Services Authority, Calgary Counselling Centre, Calgary Police Service, Community Corrections, and YWCA Sheriff King Home.
EVALUATION | Since its inception, HomeFront has pursued the collection of data to monitor its inputs, outputs and outcomes - this data ensures HomeFront holds itself, its programs, and the systems it spans accountable. In this way, we demonstrate to our clients and stakeholders, we not only walk the talk, we are walking the walk. In 2013, HomeFront supported more than 3,500 clients and collected more than 500 points of data on them and the activities related to the services those clients received. From this data, we can tell you what we have learned:
- 13% of our clients identified themselves as Aboriginal.
- As a group, Aboriginal clients were 40% less likely to wish their perpetrator to go to jail (10% vs. 16%) and were more likely to identify alcohol (25%) and anger management (25%) as primary concerns in their relationships.
- On average, it takes about 132 days (median of 81 days) to resolve a domestic violence case.
- Cases of Aboriginal clients appear to take less time to resolve – an overall average of 139 as compared to 149 days for other groups.
TESTIMONIAL | “This past year, you have been the platinum lining in my cloud, my shoulder to cry on, my sounding board, my voice of reason and an inspiration in my life. I appreciate far more than words can express how you have treated me NOT as ‘just another client or female victim in need’, but RATHER, a woman in need of a confidante and guidance to rise from the ashes of a potentially bleak situation. You have given me the strength and insight to rise above and forge ahead in my life. The work that you and your colleagues do and the lives that you touch on a daily basis should be highly commended. I will be forever grateful and think of you as one of my inspirational angels whom I will never forget!” - former HomeFront Client
Our Requests What You Can Do
Every year, at least one-quarter of Calgary’s homicides are domestic in nature, ranking Calgary as having one of the highest rates of domestic homicides in Canada. HomeFront works to change this and help open doors for individuals and families, giving them the freedom to live safe and healthy lives free of domestic violence.
People depend on HomeFront and HomeFront depends on you. Because of our holistic, collaborative approach towards domestic violence, supporting HomeFront is one of the most effective ways you can contribute to ending domestic violence in our community.
Why I give to HomeFront: “I give to HomeFront because I care about ending domestic violence. I believe in their work and see the incredible gift of peace they bring to so many. I want to have a role in standing against domestic violence and one way I can is to donate to HomeFront.”
NEEDS | Help us continue to open doors for individuals and families when they need us most. For as little as $42 a month or $500 a year, you can help an entire family break free from the cycle of violence.
For more information on how you can help support our vision of a world free from domestic violence, please visit our website. You support is greatly appreciated.