Domestic violence rises as a social problematic during the 70s-80s, in a perspective of defense of the women rights and sex equality.
The first Quebecoise organization aimed at intervening on men in a context of domestic abuse (PRO-GAM) was created in Montreal in 1982. Other groups were later created and gathered in 1988 into one organization (called first A.R.I.H.V then à à cœur d’homme – réseau d’aide aux hommes pour une société sans violence). In 1992, the Ministry for Health and Social Services published its Orientations regarding interventions for partners with violent behaviors and, three years later, Quebec Government published its Politique d’intervention en matière de violence conjugale (politic of interventions regarding domestic violence).
The therapeutic intervention model developing in Quebec is meant to be complementary to the judicial aspect of this problematic, in a general perspective of reducing domestic violence. It distinguishes itself from what is usually done in North America by the independence between the community organizations providing help and the judicial system, as well as by a diversity of clinical approaches going beyond social control and conformity to behavioral norms. Some authors defined this model as being more focused on individual, social, and cultural change as opposed to social control (Turcotte, 1997).
Via l’anse is a nonprofit organization, initiated by the Maison d’Hébergement Dépannage de Valleyfield (MHDV) and by citizens of the Suroit region, in February 1996. Via l’anse is soon recognized and supported by the Ministry of Education (2000) and by the Ministry of Public Security (2009). Via l’anse also joins, in 1998, the organization à cœur d’homme. Interventions activities start first in Valleyfield then, the next year, in Vaudreuil-Dorion.
Over the years, Via l’anse activities developed around the following topics:
Creation and adoption of tools for internal management
Adoption of policy and codes of procedure : general rules, policy for file management for confidentiality, policy for complain management, policy for management of risk situations, code of deontology (1998); policy for work conditions (1999); intervention policy (2004); remuneration policy (2005); policy for progressive disciplinary measures (2009); policy for workplace conflict management and psychological harassment (2010); code of ethics (2011).
Promote requests for help from partners displaying violent behaviours
Visibility campaign: logo, signature, pins, brochure (2004); creation of a service of co-session with clients and partners (2005); participation in the first national awareness campaign aimed at men regarding domestic abuse « Demander de l’aide, c’est fort » (2007-2008); creation of regional and sub-regional contact lists (2007-2011); research project on detection and reference of clients (2010-2012).
Adapting the activity to cover the different needs
Launch of the à dos la violence program, aimed at teenagers 14 to 18 year-old (1999); creation of an individual counselling program, beginning of regular services for women with violent behaviours (2007); new service outlets : Huntingdon and Beauharnois, in addition to Valleyfield and Vaudreuil-Dorion (2008-2010); individual and group activities in penitentiary (2007-2010); beginning of services in English (2010); research on prevention of domestic homicides (2012); research on the needs of men victim of domestic abuse (2017-2018).
Development of partnerships and networking
Via l’anse has signed the Protocole en matière de protection des femmes et des enfants victimes de violence du territoire du Suroît (2004) and the Protocole en matière d’agressions à caractère sexuel de la table de concertation de Beauharnois-Salaberry (2005); Via l’anse is a partner in the network of addiction integrated services (territoiry of Beauharnois-Salaberry) (2007) and has signed the collaboration protocol of Vaudreuil-Soulanges regarding domestic abuse (2008); Via l’anse created, in 2008, in collaboration with Résidence-Elle, a training program for counsellors in the Haut Saint Laurent region; a similar work is done the next year with l’Accueil Pour Elle and Sureté du Québec (Suroît region) and with La Passerelle (Vaudreuil-Soulanges).
Since 2011, Via l’anse is actively involved in the development of intervention networks aimed specifically at preventing intrafamilial homicide (RLS de Vaudreuil-Soulanges et du Suroît), in partnership with CRI-VIFF. Via l’anse is also involved in the addiction network and in the work group for suicide prevention of Vaudreuil-Soulanges (2011).
Involvement and representations
Via l’anse regularly participates in the activities of à cœur d’homme. Via l’anse representative presided in this organization between 2006 and 2008. He also represented the organization for different instances: Centre de recherche interdisciplinaire sur la violence faite aux femmes (CRI-VIFF) (2007-2008), Comité violence et médiation du C.O.A.M.F. (depuis 2008); Comité d’experts sur les homicides intrafamiliaux, MSSS (2011-2012).
Via l’anse also contributed to creation and presentation of memorandums elaborated by à cœur d’homme (in French):
Propositions pour le plan d’action gouvernemental en matière de violence conjugale, Comité interministériel en matière de violence conjugale, 18 mai 2011;
Mémoire présenté à la Commission des relations avec les citoyens dans le cadre des auditions publiques sur le document « Pour que l’égalité de droit devienne une égalité de fait – Vers un deuxième plan d’action gouvernemental pour l’égalité entre les femmes et les hommes, Commission des relations avec les citoyens, 3 février 2011;
La socialisation conservatrice : facteur d’aliénation et de dualisation. Commission parlementaire sur l’égalité entre les sexes, janvier 2005.
Development and transmission of knowledge
Via l’anse actively contributes to the development of knowledge regarding domestic violence by collaborating with research projects. The topic of development of services access from male clientele lead to Via l’anse developing, in 2009-2012, a research focused on the abilities connected with the detection of the problematic and with ways to introduce the topic of violence on targeted men.
Via l’anse was also deeply interested in the topic of risk and prevention of domestic and intrafamilial homicides. This interest led to an involvement in the creation of a tool to assess and manage the risks associated with domestic homicide, as well as the development of multisectorial research.
Following a request of its partners, Via l’anse also developed several trainings for the following topics: detection and reference for the targeted clients, distress and help seeking in men, typology of violence dynamics, homicide prevention, etc.