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Sudbury program provides support to men accused of domestic abuse

"We can't arrest our way out of a problem." Those are words from the Sudbury police chief, speaking about the problem of domestic assault. A number of support groups have teamed with police in Sudbury on a pilot program that is meant not only to offer services to victims of domestic violence, but also to individuals who have been charged with assault. So far, no other city in Ontario has a program like this one.

Many people who find themselves charged with domestic assault have also been victims of abuse, and by providing support to those individuals, the program's organizers hope to break the cycle.

The year-long pilot will be supported with the help of the John Howard Society, the Sudbury Counselling Centre, Victim Services, the Sudbury Women's Centre and police. The idea to start such a network came from a police officer who counselled men facing domestic assault charges, though a person doesn't have to be charged with a crime to seek help.

A person can voluntarily enroll in the program as a preventative measure if there is concern that a domestic situation could lead to violence. An individual can also take part in the program after being convicted of domestic assault.

Charges of domestic violence often occur in conjunction with the breakdown of personal relationships. In these situations, very difficult emotions arise, and it is necessary to take a comprehensive approach to achieve real solutions. If you have been accused of domestic assault, then a strong criminal defence can be part of that process.

Source: CBC News, "Abusive men get help in new program to prevent domestic assaults," Aug. 21, 2014