A social worker has joined forces with the Richelieu–Saint-Laurent police and will accompany men arrested for domestic violence in order to prevent recidivism and fateful acts, a unique project in Quebec .
“I was marked by the wave of feminicides [in 2021]. Most of the time, the neighbors knew the man, there had already been an arrest or conditions such as a contact ban. The judiciary alone cannot curb the phenomenon,” observes Geneviève Landry, director of Entraide pour hommes.
She is behind this pilot project alongside Captain Francis Lepage in the Richelieu–Saint-Laurent intermunicipal police board.
Director Geneviève Landry and Captain Francis Lepage
Last May, worker Audrey Lincourt joined the offices of the Montérégie police force. Every morning, she digs through the reports on domestic violence interventions made in the last few days on the territory.
From 24 to 48 hours after an arrest, she makes a phone call to the men to ensure psychosocial follow-up. To her surprise, more than half accept her help, says the outreach worker.
“At first, I thought I would be kicked out a lot, but not at all. I am like a doorway so that they can explain themselves, give their version of the facts,” explains Ms. Lincourt.
Her role is then to guide those who want to take hand to the right organization, according to their problem.
For Captain Lepage, responsible for the socio-community component, the project started from a simple observation: “During a police intervention, we take great care of the victims, we guide them to resources, but we forgot a little man,” he said during an interview with Le Journal in the offices of the service.
“ During an intervention, the police officers asked him if he wanted to be joined by a worker, we were told: “I don’t need that”. At the time, it's not the right time to ask that, they are still in a state of shock at having been arrested, “he continues.
Too many recidivism
In 2021, Richelieu-Saint-Laurent police officers intervened in no less than 670 situations of domestic violence, or almost two a day. And it is not uncommon for the police to see the same men again, underlines Captain Francis Lepage.
“ We have to make [the perpetrators of violence] responsible and install a safety net. This allows problems to be defused upstream. And our ultimate goal is to significantly reduce the number of repeat offences,” explains Geneviève Landry.
She now hopes that the innovative project will spread to other services in the province.
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Katrine Johns has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Gal Post, Katrine Johns worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my firstname.lastname@example.org 1-800-268-7128