Caring Dads program teaches men to be better partners and fathers

The 17-week Caring Dads program gives men how to discipline their children without using violence, and how to work in partnership with their partners, instead of controlling them. 

In the first six months of 2015, Greater Sudbury Police responded to 1,091 domestic disputes. While not all cases had sufficient evidence for police the lay charges, the issue of domestic abuse has proven to be a big enough issue for five local organizations to team up and launch a new program to address the problem.

Thanks to $10,000 in funding from the United Way Sudbury and Nipissing Districts the John Howard Society of Sudbury, the Sudbury Counselling Centre, the Sudbury Women's Centre, Sudbury and Area Victim Services and the Greater Sudbury Police Services are launching a new program called Caring Dads.  

“The whole sense of this program is to give men the skills and the tools they need to become men who do not use issues of control, power and violence to get their way,” said John Rimore, executive director of the John Howard Society in Sudbury. “It teaches men essentially how to be caring dads.”

Rimore said the 17-week program teaches men to be better fathers and partners. Participants will learn how to discipline their children without using violence, and how to work in partnership with their partners, instead of controlling them.

The Sudbury Women's Centre and the Sudbury and Area Victim Services will also reach out to the participants' partners and former partners, if they have had children together, to see how they are progressing.

Rimore said domestic abuse can be isolating for the victim, and by reaching out to the men's partners, they can take agency over their improvement.

In 2014, 323,600 people across Canada were victims of a violent crime. Twenty-six per cent of them were victimized by a family member, and 68 per cent of those victims were women and girls.

But Statistics Canada's Uniform Crime Reporting Survey in 2014 estimated 70 per cent of spousal violence cases go unreported. 

Rimore said the program was developed in London, Ont., to specifically help men who have care of children where there has been domestic violence in the household.

More than 85 per cent of reported abuses in the household are perpetrated by men against women.

“We're not saying it doesn't happen the other way, but the vast majority is men abusing women,” Rimore said.

He added there are programs in the community, such as the Child and Family Centre's Positive Parenting Program, that teach men and women to become better parents.

Jean-Paul Mouton