Evaluation of the Family Violence Prevention Program

Date: February 2012
Project Number: 1570-71/10024

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Table of contents

Acronyms

AANDC
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
CHCH
Community Holistic Circle Healing
CMHC
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
DIAND
Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development
EPMRB
Evaluation, Performance Measurement and Review Branch
FVI
Family Violence Initiative
FVPP
Family Violence Prevention Program
GSS
General Social Survey
NACAFV
National Aboriginal Circle Against Family Violence
PHAC
Public Health Agency of Canada
SEP
Shelter Enhancement Program
THS
Transition Home Survey
UCR
Uniform Crime Reporting Survey

Executive Summary

The Evaluation, Performance Measurement and Review Branch of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) undertook an evaluation of the Family Violence Prevention Program (FVPP) as per its approved five-year Evaluation and Performance Measurement Plan, in order to inform policy and program continuation/renewal of the following authority: Contributions to support culturally appropriate family violence shelter and prevention services for Indian women, children and families resident on reserve. This authority covers the period from April 1, 2007, until March 31, 2012. The purpose of the evaluation is to obtain evidence-based information on the relevance, performance and efficiency and economy of the program.

AANDC has supported family violence prevention activities for a number of years as part of the federal Family Violence Initiative, in collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada and thirteen other federal departments and agencies. In 2007, AANDC secured its own funding authority for the Family Violence Prevention Program and made new investments based on enhanced funding that increased its budget to approximately $30.4 million per year for shelter services and prevention projects on reserve. The purpose of the program is to provide funding for shelter services for clients on reserve or 'ordinarily resident' on reserve and prevention projects and initiatives that are largely community based and proposal driven.

Key Findings: Relevance

The program remains relevant and necessary based on the statistical evidence of higher rates of crime and risk factors associated with family violence for on-reserve populations. Aboriginal women in particular face increased risks of family violence due to an intersection of a number of factors, including: youthful population, lower income levels, higher rates of alcohol abuse, and common-law unions. Other factors or root causes of family violence can exist such as: the effects of residential schools and a lack of adequate housing. Usage of FVPP funded shelter services remains steady since 2005, with a slight increase in usage rates from 2006-2008. At the same time, off-reserve usage of shelters by First Nations clients has increased in the province of Alberta, as reflected in increased reimbursements to the province from the program.

The issue of family violence remains a core priority of the federal government as demonstrated by the Family Violence Initiative, recent committee reports on the topic and recent Speeches from the Throne, which have established a clear government priority to support safe and secure communities, and to promote the security of women and children. The FVPP is a priority of AANDC under the People Strategic Outcome and is part of a core of social programs for First Nations on reserve or 'ordinarily resident' on reserve.

Key Findings: Performance

Based on a proximity analysis conducted for the evaluation, the 41 FVPP funded shelters have the potential to serve over 500 First Nations communities and nearly 80 percent of on reserve or 'ordinarily resident' on-reserve population who reside 150 km or less from a shelter location. Still, some communities remain without shelter services nearby and program gaps in service were also found in the evaluation. Gaps still remain in shelter services such as: men's services, children's programming, follow-up and outreach services and training for shelter staff. Many stakeholders and partners emphasised the need for a 'continuum' approach to services for clients, which requires a higher degree of partnerships and linkages and integration of services where possible. In many cases, First Nations communities need to rely on a mix of on-reserve and off-reserve services for a continuum approach, especially in communities, which are more remote and where professional services, counselling is not available.

While prevention projects and efforts exist in most First Nations communities on reserve, activities and initiatives remain small and inconsistent across the regions, and lack an overarching strategy or holistic approach. Although a strategic approach to planning of prevention and shelter services was recognized as important by many of the program's key stakeholders and partners, most communities do not have a strategic plan in place related to FVPP. There were some examples of operational level planning and linkages and partnerships with stakeholders, although mostly at the ground level or on a 'case by case' basis. These linkages that exist could be strengthened and more strategic in order to achieve greater integration of services and prevention initiatives.

Awareness of family violence seems to be increasing in communities but stigma associated with reporting of abuse still exists in many instances. Performance information on prevention projects and shelter services was limited and longer-term measurement of incidents and rates of family violence on reserve is needed. There is evidence that where FVPP funded shelter services exist or are nearby, they are contributing to the safety and security of the clients who use the shelters and to the broader community.

Recommendations

  1. The FVPP should ensure that its priorities for shelter services and prevention activities are aligned with program objectives. Following the example of Alberta and Manitoba, which have regional boards and a more targeted approach to prevention funding, the FVPP should develop strategic approaches to funding prevention activities, including projects that serve multiple communities.
  2. The FVPP should enhance the capacity of shelter services where feasible.
  3. The FVPP should establish clear performance measures and targets for prevention activities and the continuum of services. Performance measures and targets should include measures such as proxies that can be used to measure incidents and rates of family violence on reserve.
  4. The FVPP should strengthen linkages with other departments, levels of government and communities to ensure that shelter services and prevention projects are delivered in a coordinated manner to improve access.
  5. The FVPP should explore opportunities to build family violence objectives into community planning process and integrate service delivery with other prevention programs.

Management Response and Action Plan

Project Title: Evaluation of the Family Violence Prevention Program
Project #: 1570-71/10024
Recommendations Actions Responsible Manager
(Title / Sector)
Planned Start
and Completion
Dates
1. FVPP should ensure that its priorities for shelter services and prevention activities are aligned with program objectives. Following the example of Alberta and Manitoba, which have regional boards, FVPP should develop strategic approaches to funding prevention activities, including projects that serve multiple communities.

We do concur.

  • AANDC HQ will continue to work with regions on approaches to distribute prevention funds more strategically and to achieve value for money.
  • AANDC HQ will continue to work with the National Aboriginal Circle Against Family Violence to support capacity for shelters.
Director, Children and Families Directorate, Social Policy and Programs Branch (SPPB) Start Date:
April 1, 2012

Completion:
March 31, 2013
2.The FVPP should enhance capacity of shelters where feasible.

We do concur.

  • AANDC HQ will work with regions as well as with NACAFV to support capacity for shelters; however, the extent of capacity building will depend on the outcome of policy and program renewals
Director, Children and Families Directorate, SPPB Start Date:
April 1, 2012

Completion:
Ongoing
3. The FVPP should establish clear performance measures and targets for prevention activities and the continuum of services. Performance measures and targets should include measures such as proxies that can be used to measure incidents and rates of family violence on reserve.

We do concur.

  • Rates of family violence are difficult to capture on and off reserve, at both an aggregate and community level.
  • As a result, AANDC HQ will develop performance measures and targets aligned with our current Umbrella Performance Measurement Strategy and will explore measures such as proxies that can be used to measure incidents and rates of family violence on reserve.
Director, Children and Families SPPB

Director, Operations and Quality Management Directorate, SPPB
Start Date:
April 1, 2012

Completion
March 31, 2013
4. The FVPP should strengthen linkages with other departments, levels of government and communities to ensure that shelter services and prevention projects are delivered in a coordinated manner to improve access.

We do concur.

  • AANDC will continue to participate in the federal Family Violence Initiative, and through the joint Health Canada/ AANDC committee on collaboration, strengthen linkages between on reserve programs.
  • AANDC will support, where possible, regional gatherings to share information and best practices to encourage coordination at the community level.
  • AANDC will encourage through its Social Programs National Manual coordination at the community level.
Director, Children and Families Directorate, SPPB Start Date:
April 1, 2012

Ongoing
5. The FVPP should explore opportunities to build family violence prevention objectives into community planning processes and integrate service delivery with other prevention programs.

We do concur.

  • AANDC will explore, through its current efforts on the Community Development Framework, options for communities to build family violence prevention into their community-based plans to support integration of service delivery at the community level.
  • AANDC will encourage through its Social Programs National Manual coordination at the community level.
Director, Children and Families Directorate, SPPB

Director, Operations and Quality Management Directorate, SPPB
Start Date:
April 1, 2012

Ongoing

I recommend this Management Response and Action Plan for approval by the Evaluation, Performance Measurement and Review Committee

Original signed by:

Michel Burrowes
Director, Evaluation, Performance Measurement and Review Branch

I approve the above Management Response / Action Plan

Original signed on February 22, 2012 by:

Françoise Ducros
ADM, Education and Social Development Programs and Partnerships

The Management Response / Action Plan for the Evaluation of the Family Violence Prevention Program were approved by the Evaluation, Performance Measurement and Review Committee on February 24, 2012.

1. Introduction

1.1 Purpose of the Evaluation

The Evaluation, Performance Measurement and Review Branch (EPMRB) of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) undertook an evaluation of the Family Violence Prevention Program (FVPP) as per its approved five-year Evaluation and Performance Measurement Plan, in order to inform policy and program continuation/renewal of the following authority: Contributions to support culturally appropriate family violence shelter and prevention services for Indian women, children and families resident on reserve. This authority covers the period from April 1, 2007, until March 31, 2012. The evaluation is in line with the guidelines set by Treasury Board's Evaluation Policy (2009) and examines the relevance of the program, its performance in meeting intended objectives and its efficiency and economy. The evaluation includes program data and information from the fiscal period of 2005/2006 to 2011/2012.

1.2 Background

Family violence is a broad concept that includes the abuse of children, youth, spouses and elders. It includes physical assault, intimidation, mental or emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, deprivation and financial exploitation. It is a social, health and criminal problem with serious consequences for individuals, families and society. Being in a state of dependency or in a relationship with a person who is in a position of trust or authority may increase a person's vulnerability to exploitation and abuse and increase the risk of abuse.Footnote 1

The FVPP has its origin in the Family Violence Initiative (FVI) announced in June 1988. Thirteen departments, including AANDC (formerly known as Indian and Northern Affairs Canada / INAC) and Health Canada, took part in the Initiative. Beginning in 1988 with a federal contribution of $40 million in time-limited funding, the FVI provided shelters for abused women and their children across Canada and established a process for developing a long-term national approach to family violence. In 1991, the Initiative expanded to $136 million in time-limited funding for a comprehensive range of purposes. A component of the Family Violence Initiative was an allocation to AANDC of $12 million over four years to fund services dealing with family violence on reserve.

In 1996, the Initiative became an ongoing commitment with some activities funded under previous initiatives integrated into ongoing departmental programming and budgets, including AANDC's.Footnote 2 Since that time, the FVI's role transitioned from a comprehensive strategy to a federal coordination / information-sharing role, and AANDC and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) have worked in partnership to build and support a network of shelters on reserve.

In 1995-1996, CMHC introduced the Shelter Enhancement Program (SEP) to assist in repairing, rehabilitating and improving existing shelters for women and their children, youth and men who are victims of family violence; and to acquire or build new shelters and second-stage housing where needed.Footnote 3 Through additions to SEP funding, a number of additional new family violence emergency shelters on reserve were constructed from 1997 to 2000.

In 2007, AANDC secured its own contribution authority for an enhanced FVPP and new investments were made into the program.Footnote 4 The program is funded through a single authority: Contributions to support culturally appropriate family violence shelter and prevention services for Indian women, children, and families on reserve. This authority acts in combination with the SEP provided by CMHC that provides funding for the construction and enhancement of shelters in Canada, including those on reserve.

Enhanced funding was secured for the FVPP in 2007-2008 that increased annual funding for the program from approximately $18 million (base funding) to $27 million for 2008/09, and up to $30.4 million, thereafter. During this period, the Government of Canada also provided enhancement funding to CMHC, including $2.2 million to build up to five new shelters on reserve through CMHC's SEP.

1.3 FVPP Timeline

1978
National Clearinghouse on Family Violence was established
1982
National Clearinghouse on Family Violence was established
1988
Family Violence Initiative was launched. The initiative was a four-year $40 million comprehensive approach to family violence. To help First Nation communities, a budget of over $1 million was jointly administered by AANDC and Health Canada
1991
Second phase of the FVI was launched: AANDC received funds ($22 million) for community based prevention services on reserve, and used this to provide operational funding for 20 shelters on reserve

Statistics Canada began collecting data for the Transition Home Survey
1995
Phase II of the Family Violence Initiative expired, AANDC continued to fund Family Violence prevention activities
1997
FVI Working Group established, federal government announced a new FVI, of which AANDC's current shelter and prevention projects were a component.
1997
DescAANDC (operational funding) and CMHC (capital funding) built 10 new family violence emergency shelters on reserve.ription
1999
AANDC provided funding for the Best Practices Conference where First Nations shelter directors recommended the establishment of a national representative body to provide a coordinated approach to family violence prevention services.
2001
The National Aboriginal Circle Against Family Violence (NACAFV) was established to fill a need for a nationally representative body that would collect information, advocate, and provide resources and training support for those working in the area of Aboriginal family violence prevention, intervention and long-term care.
2003
AANDC funded approximately 335 family violence prevention projects and provided annual operational funding to 35 shelters across Canada, servicing approximately 4,500 First Nations people on reserve.
2005
Status of Women Canada and AANDC secured $5 million in funding over five years for Canada's response to the Native Women's Association of Canada's "Sisters in Spirit" initiative.
2007
New investments are announced for FVPP and services for First Nations on reserve, including funding up to six new shelters through CMHC's SEP and increased operational support for the existing network of 35 shelters and the six new shelters.

1.4 Program Profile

The FVPP is one of AANDC's social programs for on-reserve clients, which includes Child and Family Services, Income Assistance and funding of other social services that address individual and family well-being. It is managed by the Children and Families Directorate of the Social Policy and Programs Branch, Education and Social Development Program and Partnerships Sector.

The FVPP has an annual budget of approximately $30 million, and includes two main components: shelter services (approximately $23 million in 2010/11) and prevention projects (approximately $7 million in 2010/11).

  • Shelter operations support the operational, facility and administrative costs for 41 shelters on reserve; this includes staff salaries, training and direct client costs. Reimbursements are also provided to provincial/territorial shelters serving Aboriginal clients normally resident on reserve
  • Prevention projects are proposal driven, community-based family violence prevention projects that aim to reduce the incidence of family violence and support a more secure environment for families on reserve and can include:
    • public outreach and awareness campaigns
    • conferences and workshops
    • stress and anger management seminars
    • community needs assessments

The SEP managed by CMHC provides capital funding for the construction of family violence shelters across Canada, both on and off reserve. Operational funding for shelters on reserve is provided by AANDC FVPP, while funding for shelter (major) repairs is included within the mandate of the SEP (Renovations)Footnote 5.

1.5 Outcomes

Between 2006 and 2011, a number of activities, outputs and outcome statements were developed for the FVPP, including a performance measurement strategy implemented in 2008. For the purposes of this evaluation, the FVPP outcomes assessed were based on the 2008 Performance Measurement Strategy.

Immediate Outcomes

  • Increased capacity of First Nation service providers to deliver culturally relevant Family Violence programming
  • Funding
  • Increased awareness, cooperation, participation, and engagement of FVPP partners and stakeholders

Intermediate Outcomes

  • Protection services that ensure women, children and families are safe from violence
  • Prevention projects that ensure women, children and families are helped at an earlier stage of family violence

Ultimate Outcomes

  • First Nations communities act to prevent family violence and to protect women and children from family violence in ways that effectively respond to needs of women, children and the family as a whole

1.6 Key Stakeholders and Beneficiaries

AANDC provides operational funding to shelters that serve on-reserve clients or those 'ordinarily resident' on reserve; these shelters are managed at the regional/community level. Most of the 41 shelters funded are located on a reserve but some are located off reserve. AANDC has the authority to reimburse costs for off-reserve or provincially funded shelter services used by on-reserve residents in Alberta. In the Yukon, the FVPP also reimburses the territory with program funds as there are no reserves in the Yukon and all First Nations clients are considered' ordinarily resident' on reserve.

Funds for prevention projects are managed at a regional/community level. In some regions, family violence prevention activities are funded on a project basis, while in other regions, bands are provided with funding on a per capita basis. Since 2007, work has been under way to adjust the funding methodology away from a per capita basis to one based on need. In two regions, there exists a regional board in Manitoba and Alberta, which apply for and deliver the majority of prevention funds in their respective regions.

Key stakeholders include eligible recipients for FVPP funding; First Nations, tribal councils, other aggregations of First Nations approved by Chief and Council or an authority, board, committee or other entity authorized to act on behalf of the initial recipients to provide family violence protection and prevention services.Footnote 6 Another eligible recipient is the NACAFV, a national Aboriginal organization and a recipient group of FVPP, which provides support to shelter directors and training materials for front-line workers.

To be eligible to receive services under the FVPP, individuals must be 'ordinarily resident' on reserve (all First Nations residents in the Yukon are considered to be 'ordinarily resident' on reserve.) In some cases, where an individual who is 'ordinarily resident' on reserve but must access an off-reserve shelter, AANDC may opt to enter into agreements for service delivery or cost-sharing with recipients such as other federal, provincial or municipal agencies, private businesses or non-governmental organizations.

Further description of eligible clients for the FVPP is provided in the 2005 and 2011 program manuals. 'Ordinarily resident' on a reserve (individuals) clients of FVPP includes individuals, which:

  • live at a permanent address on a reserve more than 50 percent of the time;
  • in the case of children in joint custody, live at an address on reserve more than 50 percent of the time;
  • do not have a primary residence off the reserve; and
  • when an individual is considered 'ordinarily resident' on reserve immediately before leaving the reserve, for the purpose of obtaining and receiving services or care not available on reserve, the individual will continue to be considered 'ordinarily resident' on reserve.

Students, living off reserve more than 50 percent of the time, are eligible to be considered ordinarily resident on reserve when they are registered full-time in a post-secondary education program or a training program and receive program support funding from federal, band or Aboriginal organizations provided they meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • maintain a residence on reserve;
  • are a member of a family that maintains a residence on reserve; or
  • return to live on the reserve with parents, guardians, or caregivers during the year, even if they live elsewhere while attending school or working a temporary job.

Ordinarily Resident on a Reserve (specified communities) – Unique circumstances exist that support considering individuals living in some non-reserve communities or who are members of land-less Indian bands as being "ordinarily resident on reserve" for the purpose of being eligible to receive programs and services. Subject to annual review, AANDC maintains a list of land-less bands and non-reserve communities that are eligible to receive program funding.

1.7 Program Resources

Planned expenditures for the period 2007/2008 to 2011/2012 were estimated at $145,950,000. This included new funding for FVPP in the amount of $53,450,000 for operating expenditures and contributions to support culturally appropriate family violence shelter services for First Nations women, children, and families resident on reserve. An overview of expenditures from 2007/2008 to 2011/2012 (as estimated in 2007) is below:

Table 1: Cost and Source of Funds (based on 2007 estimates)
Costs (dollars) 2007-2008 2008-2009 2009-2010 2010-2011 2011-2012 Total
New Funding
Vote 1 operating expenditures 650,000 650,000 800,000 650,000 800,000 3,550,000
Vote 10- grants and contributions 8,300,000 8,300,000 11,100,000 11,100,000 11,100,000 49,900,000
Sub-total new funding 8,950,000 8,950,000 11,900,000 11,750,000 11,900,000 53,450,000
current funding 18,500,000 18,500,000 18,500,000 18,500,000 18,500,000 92,500,000
Total - DIAND 27,450,000 27,450,000 30,400,000 30,250,000 30,400,000 145,950,000

2. Evaluation Approach

2.1 Scope and Timing

The evaluation of the FVPP covers the fiscal periods 2007/2008 to 2011/2012. The scope of this evaluation includes activities and funding associated with FVPP since 2007, including new funding for contributions and operating expenditures identified to support FVPP activities. Information gathered for this evaluation covers from 2005/2006 (period since the last program evaluation) to 2011/2012.

2.2 Evaluation Issues

The main lines of inquiry and areas of findings for the evaluation are related to the relevance, performance, and efficiency of the FVPP. The following evaluation issues / questions are covered in this report.

Relevance

  • Is there a continued need for AANDC's FVPP?
  • Is the FVPP consistent with federal government priorities and AANDC's strategic objectives?
  • Is there a legitimate, appropriate and necessary role for the federal government in the delivery of the FVPP?

Performance

  • To what extent have intended outcomes been achieved?
  • What are the factors (internal and external) that have facilitated and hindered the achievement of outcomes?
  • Have there been unintended (positive or negative) outcomes?
  • To what extent has the design and delivery of the program contributed to the achievement of outcomes and overall success?

Efficiency and Economy

  • Is the FVPP the most economical and efficient means of achieving the intended objectives?
  • Are there alternative approaches within program design and deliveryFootnote 7?

2.3 Methodologies

All findings and conclusions are based on the analysis and triangulation of multiple lines of evidence. Triangulation is often used in research and evaluation to validate data through cross verification from multiple sources of information.

Document and project file review
The document and file review included the review and analysis of all available program documentation and documents concerning related AANDC programs, similar provincial programs, and of partner departments in the Family Violence Initiative. The operational data for projects were provided by regional staff and from roll-ups of data from the Corporate Information Management Directorate system. Examples of documents reviewed included: FVPP Terms and Conditions, program/project reports and national and/or regional program manuals/guidelines. The document review investigated questions of program relevance, achievement of outcomes, design and delivery, and efficiency/economy.

Financial Data Review
The financial data review included the review of all financial and related documentation from AANDC Headquarters and regions. The financial data review was conducted to answer questions surrounding efficiency and economy of the FVPP. Financial documents such as the Preliminary Survey for the Planned Audit of the Family Violence Prevention Program were reviewed and data from the First Nations and Inuit Transfer Payments System was also analyzed.

Literature Review
A literature review was conducted by an academic expert in the field of family violence research. The review was designed to answer questions around the need for the program, as well as best practices and alternative design and delivery models. The review included an analysis of external publications, academic journals and peer reviewed studies.

Key Informant Interviews
Over 30 key informant interviews were conducted with different groups of individuals to provide input on a large number of evaluation issues. Interviews were held with the following groups:

  • Fourteen individuals within Headquarters at AANDC were interviewed. Interviews were conducted with FVPP representatives, as well as AANDC representatives that have linkages to the FVPP, including from the Gender Issues Directorate, Urban Aboriginal Strategy, Sustainable Communities Directorate, and Inuit Relations Secretariat.
  • Eight interviews were held with regional AANDC staff across Canada. Regions interviewed included: Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, and the Yukon.
  • Eight interviews were held with FVI partner departments: Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), CMHC, Canadian Heritage, Statistics Canada, Status of Women Canada, Health Canada, Correctional Services Canada, Public Safety Canada, and AANDC. Almost 60 percent of the departments involved in the FVI were interviewed. Interview questions focused on questions related to partnerships, comparable programs, and best practices.
  • An interview was also held with representatives from the National Circle Against Family Violence, a national Aboriginal organization and a recipient group of FVPP, which provides support to shelter directors and training materials for front-line workers.

Case Studies
Six case studies were conducted in First Nations communities in the following regions: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, and the Atlantic. The case studies included three communities with new shelters built since enhancement funding was distributed in 2007. Careful consideration was made to avoid duplication of regions and shelters that were included in recent internal review (2010) conducted by the program. This is one of the reasons why Manitoba was not included in the six chosen case studies. Case studies included: six to seven interviews per case study with community members, partners, stakeholders and shelter directors, a review of relevant documents, and where available, regional statistics.

Statistical Analysis
Statistical analysis was completed of data surrounding the issue of family violence and crime on reserve. By looking at independent data, an unbiased view is presented of the socio-economic conditions, crime and violence in the community, and the use of transitional homes on reserve. Statistical analysis was scoped to answer questions related to the need for the program, and rates of abuse on reserve, reported and un-reported. Key sources of data reviewed for this evaluation included the 2010 General Social Survey conducted by Statistics Canada, 2010‑Transition Home Survey (THS) conducted by Statistics Canada, the 2008 and 2009 Uniform Crime Reporting Survey (UCR) conducted by the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, and Phase 2 (2008-10) of the Regional Health Survey conducted by the First Nations Information Governance Centre and program information collected between 2005-2010.

Surveys
Two surveys were created for this evaluation and distributed to recipients of FVPP funds. The surveys provided insight into issues surrounding performance, design and delivery, and the efficiency of the program. The two target groups for the survey were:

  • Community leaders – including Band Council members – were faxed to 617 bands across Canada
  • Shelter directors – faxed/emailed to 41 AANDC funded shelters across Canada

Follow-up was conducted on the surveys to increase overall response rate and answer any potential questions about the surveys from participants. The survey response rate was low for the community leaders category – only about 14 percent responded, while the survey for shelter directors had a response rate of 50 percent of the 41 funded shelters who receive funding from FVPP. Survey questionnaires were faxed and mailed out to communities with extra time provided for completion (approximately three month response time given). Follow-ups were conducted by telephone.

Proximity Analysis
In order to calculate how accessible the FVPP funded shelters are to on reserve or ordinarily resident on-reserve populations, a proximity analysis was conducted based on simple straight-line distances between approximate shelter locations (band council address was used as a way to not identify or reveal address of shelters) and the next nearest band or on-reserve communities. Distance was calculated as a straight-line (Euclidian) distance, regardless of roads or topography and were based on the Canada Lambert Conformal Conic map projection. Reserves with zero population were not included. First Nations with no road access (Zone 4) were analysed separately. Shelters were sorted by distance from band council office. A basic limitation to this analysis was its calculation based on straight-line distances, which therefore, did not consider the true distances needed to travel by roads or waterways available. The analysis also did not take into consideration the locations of other provincial/territorial and not-for-profit shelters potentially available to First Nations ordinarily resident on reserve.

2.4 Stakeholder Engagement

A group of stakeholders were invited to participate in meetings and provide feedback and advice on the design and approach of the evaluation. The Evaluation Advisory Group was comprised of program/departmental officials, including regional staff and external stakeholders such as the Assembly of First Nations, the National Circle Against Family Violence, and CMHC.

2.5 Limitations and Considerations

The following limitations and considerations exist in the methodologies and evidence collected for this evaluation:

  • Limitations in interviews included limited knowledge of FVPP by FVI partners in some instances and recent staff turnover in some regional interviews.
  • Statistical analysis of some national data sources was limited because many on-reserve communities do not participate in the national census. In some cases, statistics refer to a broader demographic of Aboriginal people that may or may not include First Nations on‑reserve populations. The Regional Health Survey does include on-reserve populations and crime statistics used in this report also have on-reserve specific data.
  • Crime related statistics on reserve may have some limitations due to underreporting of family violence incidents or lack of categories for capturing this information. Also, crime data can sometimes be influenced by the policing nature of communities. Based on anecdotal information, some communities may be more active in charging people for offenses while other community policing techniques may avoid laying official charges. This could lead to discrepancies in crime rates across the communities being surveyed.
  • The financial information used to inform this review was provided by the Chief Financial Officer. Financial information for shelters and provincial reimbursements were not distinguished in the analysis from 2005/06–2007/08 due to widespread coding errors. Coding errors are also a possibility for shelter and provincial reimbursement numbers from 2008/09-2010/11 and all of the prevention programming financial information from 2005/06-2010/11.
  • Operational information used to inform this review was provided by the FVPP program. The process by which operational data is collected and coded was revised in fiscal year 2009/2010 by the program due to data collection challenges. Therefore, operational information from 2009/2010 was reviewed separately from the 2005/2006-2008/2009 information.
  • The proximity analysis conducted for this evaluation was based on a calculation of straight-line distances, which therefore, did not consider the true distances needed to travel by roads or waterways available. The analysis also did not take into consideration the locations of other provincial/ territorial and not-for-profit shelters potentially available to clients ordinarily resident on reserve.
  • One of the two surveys conducted for the evaluation had a lower than expected response rate for the Community Members category, of approximately 14 percent. This is despite efforts of follow-up and direct contact by telephone and fax. Any information referenced from the community member surveys is therefore combined with results from the Shelter Director Survey conducted, which had a higher response rate of nearly 50 percent. Survey results are also combined with other lines of evidence such as document review, case studies or interviews.
  • A full comparative analysis with provincial/territorial shelter services and prevention programming was not undertaken for this evaluation. Review of some provincial programs were included in the document and literature reviews, and some interviews with provincial officials were conducted during case studies.

2.6 Roles, Responsibilities and Quality Assurance

The evaluation was conducted in-house by AANDC's EPMRB with additional support from AANDC's internal Strategic Analysis Directorate who provided statistical analysis, and external consultants, Alderson-Gill & Associates who provided document review, community based surveys, and case studies. Support for the literature review was also provided by an external academic source. The evaluation included the advice and support of an advisory group of program staff and stakeholders. EPRMB worked with designated personnel from AANDC's Social Development Branch throughout the evaluation process to verify the accuracy of information provided.

3. Evaluation Findings Relevance

3.1 Relevance – Is there a continued need for the Family Violence Prevention Program?

Overall Finding: There is a continued need for a family violence prevention program based on the statistical evidence of higher rates of crime and prevalent risk factors associated with family violence for on-reserve populations.

Finding: According to reports of spousal violence, Aboriginal women experience higher rates of spousal violence than non-Aboriginal women (including emotional and financial abuse)

According to the 2009 General Social Survey (GSS), the proportion of Aboriginal women reporting spousal violence was more than double that of non-Aboriginal women. In 2009, approximately 15 percent of Aboriginal women surveyed reported spousal violence by a current or former marital or common-law partner in the past five years, compared to six percent of non‑Aboriginal women surveyed. Thirty-four percent of Aboriginal women surveyed reported having experienced emotional or financial abuse compared to 17 percent of non-Aboriginal women surveyed.Footnote 8

Finding: Aboriginal women experience more serious forms of spousal violence than non-Aboriginal women.

GSS data suggest that Aboriginal women experience more serious forms of spousal violence than their non-Aboriginal women.Footnote 9 In 2009, 58 percent of Aboriginal women who experienced spousal violence reported that they had sustained an injury compared to 41 percent of non-Aboriginal women. Almost half (48 percent) of Aboriginal women who had experienced spousal violence reported that they had been sexually assaulted, beaten, choked, or threatened with a gun or knife. Fifty-two percent of Aboriginal women who had been victims of spousal violence reported that there were times when they feared for their life.Footnote 10

Finding: Crime rates in First Nations communities are usually over the Canadian average crime rate.

For the 50 First Nation reserve communities included in the UCR, 29 are over the Canadian 2008 average of 6,588.5 crimes (non-traffic) per 100,000 population.Footnote 11 First Nations communities appear to be over the Canadian average: 29 communities are over the average, including eight receiving FVPP funds. Five of the FVPP funded communities report below average crime statistics: four at a rate of zero per 100,000, one at 5,052.

When considering violent crimes, the situation is similar. Thirty of the 50 First Nations communities' investigated are over the Canadian average of 1,326.2 violent crimes per 100,000.Footnote 12 The highest violent crime rates being reported for the Blood Tribe in Alberta, an FVPP funded community, at a rate of 23,156 per 100,000. There are, in total, eight communities receiving FVPP funding that are over the Canadian violent crime rate average. There are 17 communities for which data exists that have a rate of 0 per 100,000, including four communities funded by FVPP.Footnote 13

Data collected by the Regional Health Survey 2008/10, conducted by the First Nations Information Governance Centre, indicate that almost half (48.7 percent) of First Nations adults have experienced some form of physical aggression in the past twelve months, while almost a third (31.4 percent) have experienced some form of verbal aggression. Of those that reported experiencing either form of aggression, a fifth (19.6 percent) indicated seeking help. Females were significantly more likely to seek help compared to males (26.7 percent vs. 14 percent).Footnote 14

Recent academic and published literature also point to the higher likelihood of Aboriginal women, including First Nations women residing on reserve, being victimized by their spouses or partners than non-Aboriginal women. This is in part due to higher rates of risk factors and 'root causes' of family violence in many First Nations communities on reserve.

Finding: A number of root causes and risk factors are identified in relation to family violence in on-reserve communities

There are many root causes and risk factors for family violence, which continue to be prevalent in First Nations communities on reserve and impact on the success and direction of AANDC's FVPP. These root causes and risk factors can also indicate the continued need for a family violence prevention and mitigation program. Issues such as overcrowded and a lack of appropriate housing, alcohol and drug addictions, gang activity, low education levels, poor parenting skills, and legacies of colonialism and residential schools have all contributed to a high incidence of family violence in First Nations communities on reserve.

The residential school system was established in order to further the assimilation of First Nations peoples by removing children from their homes and cultures, and instil in them values of the colonial society. The removal of Aboriginal children (including First Nations on reserve) from their families has, broadly speaking, created a generation of men and women who never learnt parenting skillsFootnote 15. Over time, violence has become widespread in some communities, and many community members have become desensitized to the violence around them. Certain aspects of violence, such as verbal and emotional violence are often ignored completely, and 'normalized' or no longer seen as violent behaviour. Women are sometimes seen as "invisible", cultural norms and community sanctions prohibit them from talking about beatings and rapes.Footnote 16

Key informant interviews noted the high incidence of family violence on reserve, linking it to multiple issues present in Aboriginal and First Nations communities. One key informant stated that "needs will keep growing until governments deal with major underlying problems connected to crime in Aboriginal communities; namely their poor social and economic conditions." Interviewees also mentioned other causal factors, including: residential schools, housing issues, alcohol abuse, social assistance dependency, gangs and lack of employment, all of which limits the contribution of individuals to the community. Concerns were raised about the "normalization" of family violence in on-reserve communities.

Many reserves have high rates of alcohol and substance abuse, which have been linked to family violence. The literature often identifies drug and alcohol abuse as common characteristics of women who have been victims of family violence. A 2006 Ipsos Reid research study also pointed out that drug and alcohol consumption are a contributing factor.Footnote 17

Finding: Continuing demand and gaps in services demonstrate the ongoing need for FVPP

According to program data, shelter usage rates have remained somewhat steady since 2005/06 to 2009/10, serving on average approximately 4,900 – 5,000 clients per year. There was a temporary spike in usage during 2006 to 2008 where there is an increase of 200-600 clients, then it goes back to 2005/06 levels of between 4,900 and 5,000 clients. In 2009/10, the program revised its tracking criteria for clients and recorded approximately 4,600 women users of shelters in this period, 2,750 children and 2,685 families. These usage rates demonstrate continued need especially when considering incidents that go unreported or those who are not unable to seek help.

In the one region where FVPP reimburses the province for off-reserve shelter services, Alberta, there has been an increase in demand and usage of off-reserve services, which are reflected in growing reimbursements made from the program to the province for FVPP clients using provincial services. There was an increase of 56 percent between 2005/06 and 2009/10 for off‑reserve shelter services for people normally living on reserve. Program documents stated that Alberta reported a 27 percent increase in shelter use by Aboriginal women and children in this period, as compared to a 10 percent decrease in use by non-Aboriginal women and children.

Another indication of continued need for family violence prevention and mitigation activities is the continued gaps in shelter services in some FVPP funded shelters. Some FVPP funded shelters have been unable to provide a number of services they would like to offer that are needed by clients in the community. Some of these gaps include services for men (both as victims and victimizers); mentally or physically disabled clients; and children, including those who witness abuse and follow-up and outreach services, including the need for transitional housing.

Key informant interviews with FVPP staff (Headquarters and regional) identified similar gaps mentioned above, including the need for more programming for men and boys (perpetrators and victims) and to engage them in the prevention of violence against women. A recent internal program review (2010) also mentioned gaps in FVPP, finding:

  • That while the program emphasizes the funding of shelters, there is a need for greater attention to prevention programs for men and women child therapy and overall family violence awareness;
  • That with the shelters providing only short-term respite, there is a need for second-stage housing to help some victims of family violence re-establish themselves independently; and
  • Limited resources for staff training and specialized services means that mothers under 18, youth, children who have witnessed abuse, elders, and people with mental and physical challenges are underserved.

Conclusion

A number of root causes and risk factors remain in on-reserve communities that contribute to overall higher rates of family violence incidents based on statistics that are available and other lines of evidence collected for this evaluation. Gaps in shelter services also demonstrate a demand for greater services and further outreach to the community, which indicates continued need.

3.2 Relevance – Alignment of FVPP with Federal Government, Departmental and Aboriginal Priorities

Finding: FVVP activities are aligned with the priorities of the federal government, the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada and with the priorities of National Aboriginal Organizations.

A review of government documentation demonstrated that the prevention program and shelter operating funds provided by the FVPP were consistent with the priorities of the federal government from 2005-2010 as well as with the federal government's current priorities. According to the 2011 Speech from the Throne, crime prevention, including the prevention of violence against women and girls, is a major priority for the federal government:

"The Government of Canada has no more fundamental duty than to protect the personal safety of our citizens and defend against threats to our national security….Our Government will continue to protect the most vulnerable in society and work to prevent crime… It will address the problem of violence against women and girls."Footnote 18

Similarly, addressing the social barriers faced by Aboriginal peoples is a current priority:

"Concerted action is needed to address the barriers to social and economic participation that many Aboriginal Canadians face. Our Government will work with Aboriginal communities, provinces and territories to meet this challenge."Footnote 19

The 2010 Speech from the Throne also established a clear government priority to support safe and secure communities, and that the Government was taking action to promote the security of women and children by raising the age at which children are protected from adult sexual predators from 14 to 16.Footnote 20 Overall, ministerial speeches and announcements presented over the last five years reinforce that the prevention of family violence in Aboriginal communities is a priority for the federal government.

Similarly, additional federal government activities include the FVI, which involves 15 federal departments with initiatives related to preventing family violence. Some of the roles and responsibilities of the FVI include; coordination among partners; development and implementation of policy; collection; presentation and dissemination of knowledge and educational resources; and support for communities and services to combat family violence.Footnote 21

Departmental Priorities
The FVPP supports the departmental strategic outcome of "The People" as the programs work to support individual, family and community well-being for First Nations, Inuit and Northerners.Footnote 22 A recent performance measurement strategy for social development programs under "The People" strategic outcome, aligns FVPP with other related AANDC social programs, including: First Nations Child and Family Services, Income Assistance and Assisted Living Program.

The prevention of family violence on reserve remains a priority for the Department. In 2006, the Report on Plans and Priorities identified priorities for the Social Development cluster of departmental programs, including: enhancing prevention programming, expanding the reach of the shelter network, and increasing operational funding.Footnote 23 For 2008/2009, the Department's Social Development priorities included protecting and empowering vulnerable Aboriginal people.Footnote 24 In 2009/2010, the Social Development priorities included providing safe, secure and nurturing family environments, including the construction of new shelters.Footnote 25

Aboriginal Priorities
A review of National Aboriginal Organizations' media releases and reports reveal that addressing violence against Aboriginal women, as well as family violence in general, is a priority for Aboriginal peoples across Canada. Family violence is a key issue for Aboriginal women's organizations such as the Native Women's Association of Canada and Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada, both of whom pressure the Government of Canada for more concerted action on violence against women. Additionally, the 2011 Federal Election Principles laid out by the Assembly of First Nations included a government that would work with First Nation governments to establish a National Action Plan to end violence against First Nations women.Footnote 26

In June of 2011, a forum was held by the Native Women's Association of Canada, Collaboration to End Violence: National Aboriginal Women's Forum. Delegates from multiple national Aboriginal organizations attended the forum, including the Assembly of First Nations, Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, Métis National Council, and Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada. The forum included workshops and panel presentations focusing on the need for further collaboration in order to overcome the social and economic challenges that contribute to vulnerability and violence in the lives of First Nations, Métis and Inuit women and girls. As stated by the President of the Native Women's Association of Canada, "our deep concern is for the safety and well‑being of our women, our girls, our families, and our communities."Footnote 27

3.3 Relevance – What is the role of the federal government in the provision of family violence prevention programming on reserve

Finding: There is an appropriate and necessary role for the federal government, and specifically for AANDC, in the delivery of on-reserve family violence prevention services

Legal authority for the Minister to act in the area of programming serving on-reserve populations is derived from the Minister's authority over Indian Affairs, as set out in the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development Act (1985). Specific family violence prevention program and spending authority has been obtained through government policy approval processes over several decades.

The federal government works with provincial/territorial partners to deliver elements of its social programming. For example, AANDC has a payment agreement with the Province of Ontario known as the '1965 Memorandum of Agreement Respecting Welfare Programs for Indians', which allows for joint funding of many social programs for clients on reserve in Ontario. Ontario has contributed additional funds to some on-reserve FVPP shelters.

An agreement with Alberta since 1992, known as the "Arrangement for the Funding and Administration of Social Services" (1992 Admin Reform Agreement) allows for billing and reimbursements of services provided by provincial shelters in Alberta to individuals ordinarily resident on reserve.

The provision of family violence prevention services to on-reserve clients contributes to AANDC's mandate to improve social well-being, develop healthier communities, and support individuals in participating more fully in Canada's political, social and economic development – to the benefit of all Canadians.Footnote 28

Family Violence Initiative
AANDC's Family Violence Prevention Program is part of the long-term commitment of the Government of Canada "to address violence within relationships of kinship, intimacy, dependency or trust" as part of the FVI. The FVI, which is lead by the PHAC, includes 15 partner departments, agencies and Crown corporations, with the long-term goal of reducing the occurrence of family violence in Canada. The FVI has annual funding that supports and complements activities across eight member departments: PHAC, CMHC, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Department of Justice Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Statistics Canada, and Status of Women Canada. In addition, AANDC, Health Canada, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, Correctional Service of Canada, Public Safety Canada, Service Canada, and the Department of National Defence address family violence issues through existing departmental programs and activities.Footnote 29

The FVI promotes public awareness of the risk and protective factors associated with family violence; works with government, research and community partners to strengthen the capacity of criminal justice, housing and health systems to respond; and supports data collection, research and evaluation efforts to identify innovative/promising practices and a range of effective interventions. Literature and studies have suggested such a coordinated public health approach to the prevention of family violence is integral to building healthy communities.Footnote 30 The mandate of the FVI is currently "continuing to enhance awareness, build knowledge base and contribute to a strengthened ability of systems (justice, housing, health) and communities to prevent and respond to family violence."Footnote 31

The efforts of FVI partner departments, including AANDC, were re-enforced in 2002 when more than three quarters of Canadians indicated that family violence should be an urgent priority for the federal government.Footnote 32 In June 2007, the federal government announced it would help First Nations communities address the need for further programming through additional financial investments.Footnote 33 This additional source of funding contributed to enhancements of FVPP and CMHC's Shelter Enhancement Program.

4. Evaluation Findings: Performance

4.1 Question 4: To what extent have intended outcomes been achieved?

In assessing the extent to which the FVPP is achieving its outcomes, evaluators would expect to see substantial success in achieving immediate outcomes, evidence of meaningful progress in meeting intermediate outcomes, and at least some indications of progress toward the FVPP's envisioned longer term outcomes. For the purposes of this evaluation, the FVPP outcomes assessed were based on the 2008 Performance Measurement Strategy. The following section is sub-divided by immediate outcomes (4.1.1), intermediate outcomes (4.1.2), and longer term and ultimate outcomes (4.1.3).

Immediate Outcomes

  • Increased capacity of First Nation service providers to deliver culturally relevant family violence programming
  • Funding
  • Increased awareness, cooperation, participation, and engagement of FVPP partners and stakeholders

Intermediate Outcomes

  • Protection services that ensure women, children and families are safe from violence
  • Prevention projects that ensure women, children and families are helped at an earlier stage of family violence

Ultimate Outcomes

  • First Nations communities act to prevent family violence and to protect women and children from family violence in ways that effectively respond to needs of women, children and the family as a whole

4.1.1 Immediate Outcomes

Increased capacity of First Nation service providers to deliver culturally relevant family violence programming

Funding

Increased awareness, cooperation, participation and engagement of FVPP partners and stakeholders.

The evaluation took the following elements into consideration when considering these immediate outcomes:

  • Whether participating communities had an organization and a holistic plan in place to address family violence and its root causes;
  • Impact of off-reserve services and funding of reimbursements to provinces;
  • Efforts to address family violence were supported by community leaders through local partnerships, including the police, social services, educators, health professionals, elders and liaison persons in nearby communities; and
  • Active linkages were in place with existing provincial/territorial and/or regional family violence organizations.

Finding: Few participating communities have strategic or community level plans in place to address family violence and its root causes

Planning was considered by many stakeholders and partners of FVPP to be an important aspect in achieving success. The evaluation looked for three types or levels of planning that could help to increase awareness, cooperation, participation and engagement of FVPP partners and stakeholders.

The following three levels of planning were considered:

  • Broad, high-level community plans with longer-term visions for the community that included aspects related to family violence;
  • Strategic plans with specific objectives, actions and timelines focused on addressing family violence; and
  • Operational plans such as crisis protocols or case management protocols.

The evaluation did not find any evidence of planning documents with reference to FVPP for the first two categories listed above. The case studies indicated some evidence of the third level, operational planning, and there were a great deal of day to day interactions among the various on and off-reserve service agencies. Shelters, health and social service agencies on and off reserve, schools and police cross-refer clients on a daily basis, and this kind of collaboration at the service delivery level is considered critical to their work and to making a difference in addressing the many social problems in the communities. In two of the case study communities, there was a systematic, coordinated process for dealing with family and individual cases across the full range of social issues. Band staff members met regularly as committees to share information, discuss the active cases, and identify opportunities for collaboration. This can be considered more or less operational planning in relation to broader strategic or community level planning.

While efforts to coordinate services on a case by case basis are considered valuable, community leaders and service providers, including shelter directors believe that services and activities to address family violence are still too ad hoc in nature, and that governance on the issue is lacking. Several communities have tried to address the gap in community level planning, recognizing the depth and complexity of root causes of family violence and that planning and coordinated efforts are the best approach.

In one case study, the First Nation addressed the gap in community or strategic planning by establishing a Task Force to examine violence in their community and develop a strategy. A long-term strategy is being developed with an executive director reporting directly to Chief and Council. One of the findings of the Task Force was that activities to address violence were disparate throughout the governance structure on the reserve, and uncoordinated to the extent that departments and agencies were not aware of the efforts of parallel agencies, and in some cases, were actively ignoring the work of others due to personality issues and a tendency to protect resources and control within the bureaucracy. The current strategy is to break down these structural barriers, establish a single steering committee, encourage communities within the reserve to establish their own planning committees, and work collectively to set priorities and take action.

Another case study identified similar recognition of dispersed and ad hoc planning, and governance has been revamped to place responsibility for community wellness under a single organization within the band administration. The intention of the Director of this new wellness department, is to turn an ad hoc approach into a collaborative, strategically guided process that will ensure that family violence related activities, along with those of other key social initiatives, are coordinated closely among band service agencies, and that the different departments and service areas are working together toward common short and longer-term objectives.

The program's internal review also found that there is recognition of the need for a planned, holistic approach and a desire on the part of community participants to do so, but that current funding levels do not enable this to take place. It reports that there are few resources available for coordination and partnership development, no funds for training, a considerable problem of staff burn-out at shelters, few community or regional workshops, and little networking among service providers in different communities. The report identifies a few examples of linkages with provincial organizations such as in Saskatchewan, where the Provincial Association of Transition Houses provides workshops and meeting, and in Quebec where the Native Women's Association has provided some similar supports. It also points to local supports from agencies such as the RCMP, health centres, band social services, addictions services, mental health services and churches.

Finding: Availability of off-reserve services has an impact on FVPP's funding model

The reliance on services off reserve was an issue that was frequently raised in case studies and interviews. Funding of off-reserve or provincial services is increasing in one province, Alberta, which poses significant risks to the funding model of FVPP as it is currently designed. Reimbursements to other provinces, if requested, would be a drain on program resources that take away from on-reserve or locally based services for clients.

The ability of shelters to deliver a full range of needed services is often impeded by training and lack of resources, including staff turnover and limited availability of community based resources such as trained counselors and professionals. In a research document on funding models for FVPP, funded by the program in 2006, it was noted that shelter staff may be enticed to work for provincial run facilities in the long run as wages are higher and cut backs or temporary lay-offs in FVPP shelter staff can have a negative impact on service delivery. Training and knowledge capacity were also noted in the case studies and interviews as lacking and inconsistent. Shelter staff indicated that they would like to see a more consistent strategy (one that is national or regional based) for training and knowledge building that is not currently in place.

Finding: Community-based leadership on family violence prevention and engagement exists in many communities

Several key informant interviews noted the importance of community leadership in addressing family violence. Many indicated that shelter directors often play a leadership role in their community and that shelters provide opportunities for development of capacities and skills in the community that might not otherwise exist. The case studies also found that chiefs and band councils provide leadership on the issue of family violence or broader issue of preventing violence in the community.

Case studies and document review found that leadership on family violence can sometimes come indirectly through leadership on broader issues such as violence against women or violence in the community in general. Prevention and awareness activities sometimes lead to development of networks and organizations, such as the Sisters in Spirit organization, that contribute to awareness and leadership on issues related to family violence. Community-based leadership on family violence also came from many volunteers and partners that collaborate on prevention and awareness activities.

Finding: Partnerships and linkages exist but are often ad hoc and not planned in a consistent or coordinated approach

Surveys, interviews, cases studies and document review all found partnerships and linkages to be essential to delivery and success of FVPP. Partnerships and linkages were mostly found at the community and regional level in this evaluation. Survey respondents identified a number of partners and key organizations they worked with, including provincial services and departments such as: Yukon Territorial Government Women's Directorate, PEI Family Violence Prevention Services, Provincial Associations of Transition Houses and Services of Saskatchewan program in Saskatchewan. Federal departments such as Health Canada, RCMP and Public Safety were also identified. Surveys of shelter directors and community members also identified service organizations such as: Kamloops Elizabeth Fry Society, RESOLVE Research Network in Manitoba, Alberta Council of Women Shelters, Quebec Native Women's Association, and Three Eagle Wellness Society. These external linkages and organizations were viewed as valuable in a variety of ways, from operationally linking the communities with emergency shelter spaces in other locations, to providing tools for community awareness activities and support for advocacy on family violence issues.

Shelters in all six case study communities interacted with shelter organizations in their regions, and most had affiliations with provincial or national organizations of shelter directors. Interactions with shelters in nearby communities were frequent. The most common type of interaction was at the operational level such as placement services of shelter clients. When a community member required shelter services at a shelter outside the First Nation community for safety reasons or because the client prefers the greater anonymity of an off-reserve shelter, arrangements would be made. Because the shelters in the case studies were often the only First Nation-based shelter in the immediate area (and serving other neighbouring First Nations communities as well), the interactions were mostly with shelters in nearby urban communities, which operated as Aboriginal shelters or shelters serving a significant number of Aboriginal people as part of their clientele.

Interaction with associations of shelter directors and other family violence related organizations, either provincial or national, have occurred mostly in an ad hoc fashion and inconsistently across the regions. The interactions generally involved participating in conferences to share information and exchange ideas with other shelter directors, and take advantage of materials and other supports provided by the associations. Shelter directors in the six case studies appreciated the opportunity to learn about how other shelters were dealing with issues they face themselves, and felt that this kind of exchange was valuable.

According to interviews, regional gatherings organized by FVPP program staff have been infrequent, which has limited the opportunities for shelter staff and community workers to share best practices and lessons learned and for possibilities of coordinated services and projects in the future. Several documents and interviews also noted that FVPP program staff were not sufficiently resourced to engage and coordinate shelter support in their region.

Since 2001, the NACAFV has existed and is funded by FVPP to provide support and training tools to FVPP shelter directors and staff but its reach and operations have been severely limited in recent years. While tools and training materials have been developed, most interviews, surveys and case studies indicated that shelter directors and community members had very little awareness or coordination with NACAFV. The association, which received a grant and contribution for $454,759 in 2010/11, seems to have limited outreach to other organizations and stakeholders that shelters sometimes partner or link with such as provincial associations. In comparison, in some regions, shelter networks exist that mix FVPP shelter staff/directors and provincial shelters (such as in Alberta and Ontario), which broaden outreach.

At the federal level, the FVI remains one of the primary vehicles for coordination of FVPP partners and stakeholders. Interviews with FVI partners revealed little involvement with FVPP in recent years though, and in some cases, limited knowledge of the FVPP from partners in the FVI.

Conclusion

First Nations communities and program staff recognized the importance of strategic and community-based planning to address family violence, particularly given the complexity of the problem and its relationship to broader issues and risk factors. Strategic or community-level planning was also found to be critical for strengthening the cooperation, participation and engagement of FVPP partners and stakeholders.

Most communities do not have a strategic or community plan in place, although there are examples of communities who are working towards a strategic plan that coordinates partners and stakeholders efforts and indicates roles and responsibilities. Many First Nations communities have established linkages with external organizations such as family violence associations or regional Aboriginal organizations, but these linkages are often ad hoc and uncoordinated. Communities and shelter directors indicated the value of sharing experiences with colleagues from other communities and learning about new approaches to service delivery as a result of those external linkages. FVPP has been ill equipped or unable to provide opportunities for this collaboration and linkages in recent years.

Community leadership and involvement exist in many of the FVPP funded communities, with shelter staff and directors playing a leadership role. Community involvement is also shown through linkages and partnerships that exist on the ground or through regional organizations. This leadership and community involvement could be strengthened though and extended with a more coordinated and planned approach.

4.1.2 Intermediate Outcomes

Protection services that ensure women, children and families are safe from violence (Shelter Services)

Finding: A majority of on-reserve and 'ordinarily resident' on-reserve clients have access to FVPP funded shelter services based on a proximity analysis. Still, some gaps in services remain, and some reserves are beyond the reach of FVPP funded shelters based on a distance that is greater than the average found in the proximity analysis.

FVPP provides funding for services of 41 shelters that serve clients who reside on reserve or 'ordinarily resident' on reserve. FVPP funded shelters exist in each province, and the Territory of Yukon. After securing funding for FVPP in 2007 and enhancement funds, the number of shelters funded was expanded from 36 to 41 with the addition of five new shelters. While the number of shelters funded by FVPP might seem small compared to over 600 reserves and bands in Canada, the actual access to shelter services funded by FVPP is larger.

A proximity analysis conducted for the evaluation found that the potential number of bands that are near a FVPP funded shelter (based on a distance of 150 km or less by a straight line distance) is 528 bands or approximately 87 percent of the registered population. It's important to note that the FVPP serves more than just registered or 'status' First Nations, so the actual number may be higher than 751,146. Within that number, approximately 207, 458 registered persons have access to FVPP funded shelter services based on a 50 km distance to the closest shelter.Footnote 34 Both figures (751,146 and 207,458) are calculated based on reserve clients that have road access to these shelters. There are, however, a number of reserves and communities that are more than 151 km away from any FVPP shelter service and have no road access. Countrywide, there are at least 90 bands or reserves that have no shelter and no road access to FVPP funded shelters nearby.

The table below shows the number of shelters per region and funding levels for 2010-2011. Also included in the table is the number of bands that have access to FVPP funded shelters in their area. The average distance to a shelter from a band is indicated in the table.

Table 2: Number of bands with shelter access by region
Region Number of Bands, (Total Registered Population)* # of AANDC Funded Shelters AANDC Total Funding for Shelter Operations in 10/11 Average Straight Line Distance to an AANDC Funded Shelter # of bands with no shelter and no road access
* Total number of registered population is demonstrated in this table as a reference number only and may include both on- and off-reserve band members. The FVPP serves any population that lives on reserve or 'ordinarily resident' on reserve and is not just for registered or 'status' clients.
Yukon 16 (8,118) 1 $40,000
(or $390,000
with reimbursements)
244 km 1
Saskatchewan 65 (126,954) 4 $1,734,736 126 km 3
Quebec 33 (69,503) 6 $2,251,142 158 km 5
Atlantic 34 (56,550) 5 $2,335,450 98 km 0
Ontario 105 (147,164) 9 $4,369,802 137 km 31
Manitoba 44 (105,023) 4 $1,893,083 133 km 17
British Columbia 167 (105,497) 6 $2,876,299 153 km 31
Alberta 44 (102,234) 6 $2,8333,143
(or $8,732,900
with reimbursements)
109 km 2

Of those reserves or communities with FVPP funded shelter services, a number of gaps may also exist. The FVPP does not identify a specific set or priority list of services that shelters are expected to provide—it is left to shelters to set their own priorities for services. However, the program's manual does specify as a guiding principle for social programming that services should have "reasonable comparability with programs and services offered by provinces or territories in similar geographical contexts."Footnote 35

FVPP's program manual from 2005, and updated in 2010, lists a number of potential services that shelters should include, which are eligible for expense. A review of internal program documents has shown in select cases that because this list is not prioritized, spending by shelters and communities is not always directed at the most important or critical services. Often, funding was directed towards 'less essential' aspects such as building upkeep or furniture, rather than actual client services or salaries. Interviews, case studies and surveys have all indicated that gaps in client services remain and that services are not always consistent across the country. Differences also exist in salary levels and training between provincial funded shelter staff and FVPP shelter staff. The case studies and document review found that FVPP shelter staff often have only a 'basic' level of training for referrals and intake and cannot offer professional level of counseling needed by clients.

Shelter funding is intended to support core shelter services that may include:

  • a warm and respectful residential environment, with appropriate space for children;
  • physical protection and security (both inside and outside the shelter);
  • individual case planning, referral and advocacy with regard to access to other supports/systems/resources (social, legal, medical, etc.);
  • nutritious meals and safe food preparation;
  • transportation;
  • crisis intervention (including a 24-hour crisis telephone line);
  • child care and children's programming/counselling;
  • follow-up and other post-residence supports;
  • education and counselling for men (perpetrators and victims);
  • data collection/tracking for administrative and evaluative purposes
  • protection of privacy and confidentiality;
  • community education and awareness raising (service providers and general public awareness);
  • development of networks, collaborations and protocols with other agencies/organizations (shelters, police, healing and health promotion, medical agencies, child and family services, legal aid, social assistance agencies, social housing, etc.); and
  • culturally appropriate or culturally based education and crisis counselling (group and individual) in the areas of: Family Violence, Parenting Skills, Life Skills, Traditional Healing, Addictions, Mental Health.Footnote 36

Interviews, including with shelter directors, as well as document reviews indicated that at least four of the above items were not offered or difficult to provide either because of limited funds or limited staffing and training. Crisis intervention (including a 24 hour crisis telephone line); child care and children's programming/counselling; follow-up and other post-residence supports; education and counselling for men (perpetrators and victims) have all been identified as lacking in many FVPP funded shelters. The case studies also found these areas to be limited in the shelter services of the communities reviewed.

All the case studies indicated shelters would like to conduct more outreach to the communities and provide follow-up or post residence support. The program's internal review also suggested that shelters should provide more prevention and awareness programming. Finally, a lack of transition housing and adequate and suitable housing in general were identified as 'program gaps' in many interviews and case studies. For many of those interviewed, including shelter staff and community members, transition housing was considered essential. However, some program staff considered transitional housing and follow-up services to be outside of the scope of FVPP.

Finding: Culturally appropriate services are not measured or assessed by the program in a consistent manner

It is not clear how much traditional cultural programming is provided by FVPP funded shelter services. It is assumed by program officials that cultural programming is offered based on the fact that the program is community delivered. Reports submitted by shelters list some cultural programming but no specific criteria or measurement tools exist in FVPP reporting or the program manual to assess or measure success. Since regional and national gatherings and meetings are limited, opportunities to promote and share these approaches across regions and shelters are not common. Access to culturally appropriate services for First Nations may be further limited by the fact that many shelter clients are using off-reserve shelters (as indicated by increasing reimbursements to the Province of Alberta for off-reserve shelters), which may not provide these types of services.

Finding: Funding for use of off-reserve shelter services continues to increase in many regions and poses some challenges to the delivery of FVPP

In some cases, clients may either by choice or circumstance access provincially funded shelter services. For example, in some cases a client may not want to reside at a shelter in the same community as they were victimized. Often as an informal network, shelters will provide space for those from another shelter. Sometimes a client may also choose to be transferred to a provincial shelter. In cases where an on-reserve client uses a provincial service, the province or shelter can charge AANDC with the cost of providing those services. Shelter clients resent having to provide identification of their status to some provincial shelters when non-Aboriginal clients do not have to do the same thing and anonymity can be provided. Also, some shelters have noted that this cost to the program can take money away from FVPP funded services for on-reserve services, while reciprocal payments for off-reserve clients who use FVPP funded services does not always exist or can be difficult to obtain from the provinces.

Finding: Shelter services for men and children are limited

Most shelter services funded by FVPP are directed towards women but several gaps exist for men (both as victims and potential victimizers), elders who suffer abuse and children (who witness abuse). The case studies, document review and interviews with shelters and program staff have all indicated these would be 'extra' services that they cannot afford to provide, but are the types of services that are needed to reduce the impact of family violence. These services for men, children and elders are indicated in the list of potential shelter services to provide in the program manual. They are also referenced in the 2010 Social Policy and Programs National Manual and in the 2006 Johnston Report, which was conducted by the program to identify an appropriate funding formula for FVPP shelters. The report lists the following 'core services that a well functioning shelter should provide'.

List of core services from 2006 Johnston ReportFootnote 37

  • A warm and respectful residential environment, with appropriate space for children;
  • Physical protection and security (both inside and outside the shelter);
  • Nutritious meals and safe food preparation;
  • Data collection/tracking for administrative and evaluative purposes;
  • Protection of privacy and confidentiality;
  • Transportation;
  • Crisis intervention (including a 24-hour crisis telephone line);
  • Individual case planning, referral and advocacy with regard to access to other supports/systems/resources (social, legal, medical, etc.);
  • Culturally-appropriate or culturally based education and crisis counselling (group and individual) in the areas of:
    • Family Violence
    • Parenting Skills
    • Life Skills
    • Traditional Healing
    • Addictions
    • Mental Health
  • Follow-up and other post-residence supports;
  • Age appropriate child care and children's programming/counselling;
  • Education and counselling for men (perpetrators and victims);
  • Community education and awareness raising; and
  • Development of networks, collaborations and protocols with other agencies/organizations (shelters, police, healing and health promotion, medical agencies, child and family services, social assistance agencies, social housing, etc.).

Prevention projects that ensure women, children and families are helped at an earlier stage of family violence

Finding: Overall effectiveness of prevention programming is limited based on the size and ad hoc nature of most projects

FVPP funding for prevention projects is available to all First Nations communities who put forward a proposal for a project, subject to available funding. "The FVPP provides First Nations with funding for community based projects to address social and health problems related to family violence. These projects include, for example, public awareness and education campaigns, conferences and workshops, stress and anger management seminars, support groups and community needs assessments."Footnote 38 From 2006/07 to 2010/11, between approximately 340 and 375 bands or organizations received funding per year. Funding was widely dispersed and distributed evenly across regions based mostly on a per capita funding formula. This funding formula is in the process of being changed, however, since 2007 and still under implementation. Prevention projects were small on average, with the average amount of $8,310 per community and a range of $77 to $85,000 per project. In some cases, communities have not applied for prevention projects, while others apply through a regional board that represents multiple communities. It is not known why the remaining communities did not apply for funding. The table below shows the funding levels and number of projects per region for the past five years.

Table 3: Number of Recipients and Total Funding Per Year
  # of bands or organizations that received funding-
2006/2007
# of bands or organizations that received funding-
2007/2008
# of bands or organizations that received funding-
2008/2009
# of bands or organizations that received funding-
2009/2010
# of bands or organizations that received funding-
2010/2011
NWT 2 4 2 2 1
Nunavut 0 0 0 0 1
Atlantic 13 8 10 16 19
Quebec 35 33 33 35 35
Ontario 20 19 19 19 19
Manitoba 39 42 41 61 62
Saskatchewan 69 66 65 71 67
Alberta 1 1 2 1 1
Yukon 7 6 6 6 6
B.C. 161 163 163 154 164
Total # of Recipients
Per Year
347 342 341 365 375
Total $ Amount Disseminated 7,066,603.71 6,560,481.51 6,515,606.34 6,893,298.88 7,198,079.62

A review of sample project reports shows a wide variety of prevention projects that are funded, including: anger management, inner healing, effects on children, family healing, bullying, social skill development, and others. Key target groups for prevention projects are most often women and children but some are targeted towards other family members, elders and men as well. Project reports also identified schools as a main target audience and linkages with education and other AANDC programs such as Child and Family Services do occur. Prevention projects are community driven and, therefore, assumed culturally relevant in most cases. Tracking or assessment of cultural and traditional based prevention and healing methods is not included in current reporting templates or measured over time.

The case studies in all six communities found a variety of family violence prevention activities that take place periodically throughout the year. Many communities have activities centered on Family Violence Prevention WeeksFootnote 39, including information booths at public events, workshops and conferences for the general public or for specific groups such as youth and women. As well, many communities hold walks with community leaders and service providers, including the police giving out information and talking to community members to raise awareness. In many cases, these activities are organized with FVPP prevention project funding.

Finding: Lack of strategic and planned approach to prevention projects and activities.

A strategic approach to prevention funding was not found in this evaluation. In some of the case studies, there were instances where communities may combine their prevention efforts and funding with larger provincial or regional initiatives (such as Family Violence Awareness Week). However, strategies are not in place to prioritize the types of prevention projects needed, nor to target specific at risk groups, nor to deliver longer-term projects that could have more of an impact. The program's internal review also noted the limited effectiveness of the current delivery model for FVPP's prevention projects: "while several communities offer family violence education and awareness and build partnerships, prevention projects are seen as short‑term responses to long‑term problems – funded annually at a minimal level."Footnote 40

The ad hoc and limited nature of FVPP's prevention project funding means that there are occasional gaps in the range and consistency of projects offered, with outreach lacking in some communities and to some key stakeholders. Multiple lines of evidence pointed to gaps, including: need for training, having professionals available or capacity in communities to offer seminars or workshops on family violence prevention. Interviews indicated that projects and community groups could also benefit from greater linkages and partnerships and sharing of best practices across communities, regions and nationally.

Surveys and interviews noted the important role that prevention and awareness can play in reducing rates of family violence. Project reports show that prevention activities are taking place in many communities, although they are sometimes small in size and ad hoc in nature. Raising community awareness of family violence is often a focus of prevention programming, and the case study results suggested that there have been improvements in awareness in the last five years, resulting in many cases from targeted awareness programming and also from word of mouth within the communities. While the subject of family violence is still controversial for many, some communities have shown leadership and strong support for FVPP and there is reportedly a greater recognition of family violence as a community problem that needs to be addressed, as opposed to a private family matter.

Finding: Outcomes based reporting and performance measurement are lacking for prevention projects

The reporting template for prevention projects collects basic information about the type of projects delivered, target audience and linkages and partnerships but it does not capture the actual results of activities. Participation rates for prevention projects were not available and are not compared across regions or over time. Key informant interviews indicate reporting results are not monitored or used in decision making.

Effectiveness of prevention projects can be difficult to measure, especially when funding amounts are small and short term in duration. In some cases, projects have been jointly funded with other initiatives making attribution difficult. There can be many factors influencing the behavior of community residents beyond the funded projects from FVPP. While the effects stemming from prevention activities are often long term in nature and require measurement of success over time, short-term assessments, surveys and measurements could be taken by projects and regions that would give early indications of effectiveness.

Conclusion

While access to FVPP funded shelter services by First Nations on reserve or ordinarily resident on reserve is nearly 80 percent (that have access within a straight line distance of 150 km or less), there are still many communities, especially those that are northern or in remote areas that are without basic emergency shelter services. Evidence shows that FVPP funded shelters provide a wide range of activities but there remain many gaps and inconsistencies across regions. These gaps include services that are required if the program is to have a significant impact on reducing family violence. In some instances, on-reserve clients are using off-reserve or provincially funded shelters or services due to gaps in services provided by FVPP. In addition, many shelter directors and staff have indicated the need for greater training to provide professional counseling and necessary client services.

Prevention projects remain important, yet were found to be somewhat limited, inconsistent and small in average size. Coordination of prevention projects occurs occasionally at the community level but is rarely at a strategic level of planning and prioritization. Since prevention projects are based on a short-term, one year funding model and population based funding levels, larger, more strategically planned projects that could have a significant impact are difficult to initiate. Performance measurement data related to outcomes of prevention projects is not collected or analysed, and participation rates are not verified or measured over time. Despite a lack of results‑based reporting, evidence indicates that community driven, culturally relevant projects are funded and accessible in most First Nations communities. Many of the prevention projects focus on awareness building, which can lead to positive changes in families and communities. However, the general size and scope of prevention projects indicates a limited impact in communities.

4.1.3 Ultimate outcomes

First Nations communities act to prevent family violence and to protect women and children from family violence in ways that effectively respond to needs of women, children and the family as a whole

The following elements were considered when evaluating this outcome level:

  • A continuum of coordinated services before, during and after shelter is available to all community residents
  • Reduced incidence of family violence in participating communities
  • Increased awareness, identification and reporting of family violence in participating communities
  • Enhanced safety and security from family violence for all First Nations ordinarily resident on reserve

Finding: Continuum of coordinated services before, and after shelter use is limited and inconsistent for most clients

A 'continuum' of coordinated shelter services was considered by multiple stakeholders as an important means of achieving a holistic and effective response to the needs of women, children and families who face family violence. Offering a 'continuum' of pre and post-shelter services was found to be limited in most communities or usually only offered when off–reserve or provincial services are nearby. Communities that are remote or who do not have easy access to off-reserve services do not have the same level of continuum or coordination of services as communities that are closer to off-reserve shelter services. Many gaps exist in on-reserve shelter services that were reported earlier, such as: men's service, youth services, mental health and addictions counseling, and post-shelter and follow-up. Shelter staff have basic training but are not usually trained as counselors and have to rely on provincially funded counsellors, elders, mental health professionals and institutions such as detoxification and addictions programs outside the community. Access to services for men (abusers and victims) is rarely available on reserve, but is often available in nearby urban centers through a Native Friendship Centre or another organization. As well, in some communities, certain services are available only '9 to 5', and this can be a barrier, particularly if the services are located some distance from the reserve. Transition housing after shelter use is often unavailable in most communities, many of which face a housing shortage. This forces clients to return to an abusive partner or family member.

Finding: Reduction of incidences is difficult to gauge due to limited availability of data

In the 2008 Performance Measurement Strategy for FVPP, it is expected that the outputs and outcomes of the program will contribute to the overall federal government objective of 'reducing the severity and incidents of family violence in First Nations communities"Footnote 41 Specific reduction rates of family violence in FVPP funded communities was not found in this evaluation. The reduction of incidences of family violence in funded communities would require tracking of consistent community specific data over longer periods of time (such as: five to ten years) to indicate trends in reduction of family violence and domestic abuse in FVPP funded communities. Furthermore, specific categories for family violence can be difficult to track since sometimes the categories do not exist in national statistics and family violence incidents are often underreported. Still, current statistics available related to crime and violence in on-reserve communities can give some indication of rate levels, especially when combined with other statistical sources or program data.

National statistical evidence shows that family violence remains an issue in First Nations communities and is at a higher rate than non-Aboriginal communities, based on THS and other statistics related to crime or violence on reserve. Demand for shelter services remains steady as program data on shelter usage indicates a relatively stable number of clients using the service over the past five years. From 2005 to 2009, the numbers are approximately between 4,500 and 5,000 women clients served per year.Footnote 42 Data on usage by men, children, and families is not as consistently tracked and, therefore, not comparable.

Finding: Awareness of family violence seems to be increasing in participating communities

Case study participants found it difficult to measure the level of community awareness about family violence as compared to several years ago. There was a clear demonstration in all six communities that family violence is the subject of frequent community events where the shelters and other agencies provide information about family violence and try to engage community members in discussion on the topic. Many of these activities were funded in part, or completely with FVPP prevention project funding.

Service providers, political, and administrative leadership in the communities believe that awareness about family violence has increased as a result of FVPP activities, and that the issue is more openly discussed now than it was in the past. However, despite the frequency of FVPP funded activities in communities, and the raised awareness, service providers believe there is still a considerable amount of abusive behaviour that goes unreported due to the stigma attached for the family. In addition, abuse may go unreported because in situations where there is a lack of housing and overcrowding in some residences, people may fear losing their housing arrangements.

Statistical evidence of recent awareness levels from the THS found that 60 percent of women residing at an on-reserve shelter on the date of the survey (April 2010) were self-referred. THS data also indicated that six in ten women residing in shelters on the date of the survey did not report the incident to the police, indicating that there is still a reluctance to report incidences of family violence. For shelters on reserve, 28 percent of the incidents were reported to the police with 20 percent of those reports resulting in charges being laid.

Finding: FVPP shelter services have contributed to enhanced safety for First Nations on reserve or 'ordinarily resident' on reserve

Based on multiple lines of evidence, there is little doubt that the existence of emergency shelters in FVPP funded communities contributes to the enhanced security and safety of the individuals involved by providing a safe place to stay. Without FVPP funding, most of the on-reserve shelters would not be in operation, and they would not have the level of staffing, security, programming and other features they have now. The shelters cannot prevent violence from occurring in homes in the community but when it is reported, there is now a clear process that exists, and victims are brought to the shelter or medical facilities and referred to appropriate services. In communities where a shelter is available, the shelters have never turned away clients for lack of space.

Crime rates for First Nations communities continue to be over the Canadian average. Recent statistical data from UCR by Statistics Canada (2008/2009) showed that 29 of 50 First Nations reserve communities surveyed were over the Canadian 2008 average of 6,588.5 crimes (non-traffic) per 100,000 population.Footnote 43 Out of the 29 communities included in the survey that were over the national average, eight communities received FVPP funds. Since family violence incidents are often unreported or specific categories of domestic incidents do not get recorded, the effect of FVPP funding on overall crime rates in First Nations communities is inconclusive and would be part of a larger contribution with other programs and services delivered on reserve.

Conclusion

Conclusive data on the incidence rate and prevalence of family violence in First Nations communities were unavailable for this evaluation and will require longer term study. There exists evidence that in communities where FVPP funded shelters exist or are nearby, they are providing safety and security for victims of family violence, and that this contributes to improving the overall safety of those communities. However, many First Nations communities do not have access to FVPP shelters and may not have the full range or 'continuum' of shelter services that are required to have a significant impact on reducing family violence. A continuum of services exists mostly in cases where there are off-reserve or partner services nearby, which is not the case for all First Nations communities. FVPP funded shelters have indicated that they would like to provide more outreach and follow-up, and more training would be required to provide a continuum of support beyond the basic shelter services currently provided. Awareness of family violence is believed to be greater than it was several years ago due to the prevention activities undertaken in the communities, funded in part by the FVPP. However, a considerable amount of family violence still goes unreported due to the stigma attached to it, and because of beliefs about family privacy and the roles of women and men in the community.

4.2 Question 5: What are the factors (internal and external) that have facilitated and hindered the achievement of outcomes?

Finding: Root causes and risk factors remain high in First Nations communities

Root causes of family violence remain high in many First Nations communities and a significant factor impacting the effectiveness of FVPP. Many of these causes and risk factors go beyond the scope of the FVPP but nevertheless have an impact. The most prominent finding about the factors influencing family violence is that it is viewed as symptomatic of the high levels of unemployment and poverty, widespread drug and alcohol abuse, and the historical wrongs committed against First Nations communities and their members' subsequent loss of cultural identity. These "root causes" have created families and large segments of the communities that are unhealthy, and family violence arises easily in such situations. Addressing family violence means addressing these root causes, and until that happens, shelters and other services are mainly there as mitigation measures, and to try to start a process of healing with those individuals who choose to, and are able to, make a change in their lives.

Finding: Housing needs and lack of transition housing has had an impact on FVPP

Availability of housing and transition housing in many communities has impacted family violence and the effectiveness of FVPP. The need for 'transition housing' was brought up by several sources, and reinforced by the program's internal review, which noted the need for second stage housing after shelter use was high among clients and shelter staff priorities. Transition housing is necessary because it provides a medium-term solution for many clients who may not be able to locate a permanent residence after staying at a shelter, and do not want to return back to the residence where the abuse may still exist.

A lack of housing on reserve and serious overcrowding in existing housing were also identified in many cases, as both a cause of family violence and a deterrent to addressing the problem. Family violence is not just between male and female partners, but often other family members are involved, and interviews pointed to multiple generations of families sharing small houses as a frequent cause of arguments that can lead to violence. Shelter clients, and clients of other FVPP services, typically have few options for housing on reserve, and in the view of shelter directors and others, this can result in victims returning to abusive situations, who might otherwise be ready to change their living arrangements.

Conclusion

Root causes of family violence such as high unemployment, loss of cultural identity or the effects of colonization and residential schools can have long lasting impacts that FVPP is not equipped to address. Housing shortages and overcrowding as well as a lack of transition housing for post-shelter clients also have a significant impact on FVPP's overall effectiveness.

4.3 Question 6: Have there been unintended (positive or negative) outcomes?

Finding: FVPP shelters are sometimes used as a stop gap to help deal with housing shortages

Most of the documented results from the evaluation were expected. One major unintended outcome of the FVPP was that shelters are sometimes used for other purposes such as temporary housing for those in need when there are spaces available in the shelter. A lack of housing and serious overcrowding is a major issue in many First Nations communities, including in all six case study communities. Sometimes, when space is available at a shelter, and most shelters usually have some space available, the shelters provide living space for homeless residents in the community, allowing them some time to locate alternative accommodation. Often in these situations, a conversation will reveal that the person taking temporary housing at the shelter is also a victim of family violence. Allowing FVPP funded shelters to take in homeless individuals, when spaces are available, has helped people in the community who are in abusive situations at home, and who might not have otherwise sought help.

4.4 Question 7: To what extent has design and delivery impacted on the program and contributed to the achievement of outcomes and overall success?

Finding: Governance and delivery models have an impact on the effectiveness of FVPP

Interviews and document review indicated that in most regions, FVPP was seen as a lower priority relative to other AANDC social programs, and regional staff often dedicate the majority of their time to those other programs. Regional program staff, who are closest to recipients and communities, have less time to develop contacts with communities and to help in identifying strategies, planning and integration of available services that could improve the effectiveness of FVPP.

For FVPP funded shelters, there is a wide variety of governance and delivery models across the country. Some shelters have autonomous boards of directors, some have semi-autonomous boards, and others have board members that are all band council staff. In at least one case, there is a shelter, which is treated as a program of the local reserve's Community and Social Services. Document review and interviews have indicated that a more autonomous and direct funding model for shelters could be more efficient, and would lead to greater empowerment of shelters. Current funding models that provide money to shelters through band councils can lead to mistrust and redirection of funds towards priorities other than shelter operations. Since most FVPP funded shelters are non-incorporated entities, they lack independence and can have difficulties accessing other sources of funding.

5. Efficiency, Economy and Alternatives

5.1 Question 8: Is the FVPP program the most economical and efficient means of achieving the intended objectives?

Finding: Studies indicate the high cost of family violence in Canada

Family violence poses a high cost to individuals, communities, and local and national economies. A recently published study on Cost of intimate partner violence (Canadian Public Policy, October 2011)Footnote 44 indicated a national annual cost of $6.9 billion for women aged 19–65 who have left abusive partners; and $3.1 billion for those experiencing violence within the past three years. (A 2003 study from the United States (U.S.) argues that the cost of intimate partner violence in the United States could be as costly as $8.3 billion).Footnote 45 The study included women living in Ontario, New Brunswick and British Columbia (with 7.4 percent of the sample Aboriginal population) and looked at costs related to: preventing or dealing with violence (such as police costs), and those incurred by the effects of violence (such as health costs). According to the study, the overall annual per woman cost attributable to violence was $13,162.39.

While the economic and personal costs related to family violence is high, AANDC's direct contribution through FVPP is relatively small compared to the level and complexity of the problem in First Nations communities. FVPP's annual budget of approximately $30 million represents less than 0.4 percent of the Department's overall spending and is a small amount compared to other social program spending from AANDC.Footnote 46 AANDC's FVPP resources are not alone on this issue though, the program is one of many other programs from the 15 departments and agencies in the Family Violence Initiative. Other programs exist at provincial and community levels as well that can impact on reducing and addressing family violence.

In 2010/2011, AANDC spent a total of $8,234,900,000.Footnote 47 Ten percent of AANDC's total spending was dedicated to Social Development programming, which includes the following programs: Income Assistance, National Child Benefit Reinvestment, Assisted Living, First Nations Child and Family Services, and Family Violence Prevention. The FVPP has the smallest budget under Social Development Programming representing two percent of the funding spent under this Program Activity. Overall, FVPP represents 0.4 percent of AANDC's total spending. The table below shows the proportion of spending on FVPP relative to the other programs in the Social Development Sector of AANDC.

Diagram 1: Proportion of FVPP Spending (Millions)

Proportion of FVPP Spending (Millions)
Proportion of FVPP Spending (Millions)
Text description of Diagram 1 - Proportion of FVPP Spending (Millions)

The following chart illustrates the proportion of FVPP spending in relation to other AANDC Social Development Programming.

  • The People Strategic Outcome: $3,953,500, 000.00
  • Social Development: $1,610,900,000.00
  • Income Assistance: $823,500,000.00
  • First Nations Child and Family Services: $585,100,000.00
  • Assisted Living: $92,000,900.00
  • Family Violence: $32,000,300.00
  • Child Benefit Reinvestment: $48,000,900.00
  • Family Capacity Initiatives: $28,000,200.00

Finding: Program resources (financial and human) are not able to meet objectives as currently stated

A lack of targeted internal human resources (at both Headquarters and regional offices) poses program design and delivery challenges that puts at risk the alignment of FVPP objectives and priorities with actual activities and expenditures for both shelter services and prevention projects. Program objectives, such as: reduce the likelihood of future occurrences of family violence by providing a system of ongoing support after participants leave the shelters, and increase access to family violence programs for First Nation, are unlikely to be achieved without significant support for strategic planning and identification of areas for integration of services.Footnote 48

Document review also noted other factors and challenges related to the delivery of shelter services, which impact the efficiency of FVPP:

  • There are instances in which FVPP funds are moved to Child and Family Services in some regions because the FVPP is viewed as a lower priority; and
  • The FVPP funding of shelters has no cost of living allowance provisions and, therefore, may not be keeping pace with cost increases and with First Nations population growth and needs.

Finding: Partnerships and linkages can increase efficiency and are necessary to achieve program objectives

There are a number of other federal departments and agencies active in addressing family violence, as well as provincial and territorial governments that fund programs and services that can assist or impact the FVPP. The current Family Violence Initiative, lead by Public Health Agency provides a forum for exploring the linkages and potential collaborations between federal department programs. However, in most cases found in this evaluation, partnerships and collaborations were happening only at the ground level in First Nations communities for both prevention projects and shelter services.

Some linkages with other AANDC programs such as Income Assistance and Child and Family Services currently exist and could be strengthened to achieve broader efficiencies in prevention projects for example. In Nova Scotia, where prevention funding is delivered through a regional organization that also delivers child and family services, possibilities exist for joint prevention projects. Opportunities and pilot projects also exist from AANDC to build on comprehensive community planning and holistic service delivery, which can lead to identifying and strengthening integrated services and reporting, which can help the efficiency of FVPP.

Conclusions

Investment in prevention and emergency shelter services to address family violence can be a cost saving compared to the high costs to the individual, family, community and overall economy. FVPP's current financial contribution is relatively small compared to the size and complexity of this issue. However, when FVPP's resources and efforts are combined with partners and stakeholders such as provinces/territories, or other federal departments, a larger impact can be made on the long-term objectives of reducing incidences of family violence and contributing to building healthy, safe and sustainable First Nations communities. Comprehensive community planning, strategic use of resources, and opportunities for building stronger linkages and integration of services could help FVPP to meet its larger objectives.

5.2 Question 9: What are some alternative approaches to consider for program design and delivery?

Several alternatives to the current emergency shelter and prevention project funding model could be considered for FVPP, including considering a pilot project based on a model similar to that found in Hollow Water, Manitoba, known as the Community Holistic Circle Healing (CHCH) processFootnote 49.

CHCH is a process centered healing method for the entire community. The process is based on the seven Midewin teachings of the Anishnabe people (courage, knowledge, respect, honesty, humility, love, and truth), which are the foundation for the 13 step healing process. The process is holistic because it involves victims, victimizers, their respective families, and other community members who wish to get involved. A spiritual sense of community surrounds and pervades the work being done, recognizing that everything is independent and interacting. The process allows members of the communities the necessary skills to address the full spectrum of violence, using a healing approach. The Circle always respects the uniqueness of individual's need, and trusts the individual's capacity to determine his/her own healing and to proceed at his/her own speed. CHCH has established Hollow Water as a leader in Manitoba and Canada in terms of alternative justice, and has allowed the community to create a better relationship with courts, judges, and the RCMP in terms of trust, belief in traditional healing, and staff capabilities. The justice system is a key stakeholder in the process as are child protection workers, police and mental health workers.

Significant benefits of the CHCH have been noted. In 1986, community members rated the health of their community as zero, in the year 2000 most members felt they have moved slightly more than half way on the scale toward health and wellness. Benefits seen in the community include: improved holistic health of children; more people completing their education; better parenting skills; the empowerment of community individuals; broadening of community resources; an increase in community responsibility for issues; increased sense of safety; a return to traditional ceremony; and, a decrease in overall violence. Working together with a focus on early childhood intervention and parenting, CHCH, Child and Family Services, band members, the school, and community members are intent on continuing to build, strengthen and sustain community healing of their young. Programs such as Parents of Early Education Resources, Head Start and day care are used.Footnote 50 There is an increase in calls for CHCH to begin youth treatment of sexual offenders, which may be a trend in the future.

With respect to cost-effectiveness, significant financial savings can be realized through the Hollow Water approach. The cost in 2000 for the CHCH was approximately $270,300, the majority of which was staff costs. The provincial and federal governments each contribute $120,000 per year. Volunteers are trained and assist counsellors in their duties, representing around $35,000 a year of volunteer hours. Therefore, a three way partnership occurs; federal government, provincial government, and band council/community. If the offenders treated through CHCH had been placed in the justice system instead, costs would have been at least $2,460,300. As well, offenders treated through CHCH have a lower rate of recidivism than those in the regular justice system, resulting in greater savings for governments. There are challenges associated with the CHCH process as well. The work load for staff involved is very heavy, and the work can be quite draining. In order for the process to work, members of the community must be trained to ensure adequate staff numbers are available.

The CHCH approach taken by Hollow Water is very different than the current design and delivery of FVPP shelter services. CHCH is mostly a process of restorative justice, something that currently is not addressed by FVPP operations, and is broader than the current FVPP mandate and scope. The CHCH process focuses on the justice aspects and replaces the court system in terms of sentencing and treatment, attempting to heal the entire community. The FVPP could be part of a holistic community healing practice, such as the CHCH model, however, new or enhanced partnerships with other departments and levels of government would be needed.

There are other issues that would also need to be considered when implementing a new pilot project. The 13 step process used in Hollow Water is tailored to their spiritual beliefs, and another community may have different beliefs. Therefore, before the approach was used, the steps might need to be revised to ensure they meet the cultural beliefs of another community. Additionally, community participation in the CHCH process is instrumental to its success, and FVPP and their partners would need to ensure that any pilot community chosen was fully invested in the process taking place. As well, the CHCH process would need to ensure it covers all types of abuse and family violence issues such as physical, emotional or financial abuse.

Conclusion

Alternative approaches to program design and delivery such as the Hollow Water model show that an integrated, community driven and holistic approach can produce positive results in a First Nations community facing numerous social issues, many of which relate to family violence. While the Hollow Water approach is mostly a restorative justice process, it has the potential to be examined in the context of FVPP, especially in communities that currently have no emergency shelter or minimal prevention activities.

6. Recommendation

Recommendations

  1. The FVPP should ensure that its priorities for shelter services and prevention activities are aligned with program objectives. Following the example of Alberta and Manitoba, which have regional boards and a more targeted approach to prevention funding, the FVPP should develop strategic approaches to funding prevention activities, including projects that serve multiple communities.
  2. The FVPP should enhance the capacity of shelter services where feasible.
  3. The FVPP should establish clear performance measures and targets for prevention activities and the continuum of services. Performance measures and targets should include measures such as proxies that can be used to measure incidents and rates of family violence on reserve.
  4. The FVPP should strengthen linkages with other departments, levels of government and communities to ensure that shelter services and prevention projects are delivered in a coordinated manner to improve access.
  5. The FVPP should explore opportunities to build family violence objectives into community planning process and integrate service delivery with other prevention programs.
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