Councillors supportive of $70K ask for domestic violence plan

Pictured, from left, Cornwall Community Police Staff Sergeant Dave Michaud and Social Development Council of SD&G Executive Director Alex de Wit. The two made a presentation on behalf of Counselling and Support Services of SD&G to the city budget committee Feb. 27, 2015 to get $70,000 to set up a domestic violence intervention program. (Cornwall Newswatch/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – A number of councillors appear to support establishing a team of professionals to address domestic violence.

Counselling and Support Services of SD&G is asking for $70,890 to set up the program, which would be a hub model made up of a team of professionals from Cornwall Community Police, the Children’s Aid Society and other related agencies.

It was part of outside agencies making presentations to the budget committee Friday.

Under the Domestic Offender Action Plan, being pitched as a one year pilot project, it would focus on people – both men and women – who had a history of symptoms related to domestic violence.

A co-ed team would meet with suspected abusers to try and get them involved in the program but it would be strictly voluntary.

Those who refuse would go into a “control group” and would suggest resources to help, said spokesman Alex de Wit, who says the plan is based on a “widely successful” Prince Albert, Sask. model for crime reduction.

Acting budget chairman David Murphy suggested the program sounds like something the province should be funding but de Wit says he’s gone “full circle” through government agencies looking for funding.

“Let’s grow the pie,” said Coun. Elaine MacDonald, suggesting she supports the idea but didn’t want to see funding taken away from services for women. She wants to see an addition to taxpayer-funded services.

Coun. Carilyne Hebert is also in agreement with the plan saying it’s better to be pro-active than reactive.

De Wit says there are roughly 1,000 domestic violence cases in Cornwall a year – or roughly three a day.

The $70,000 question also came from Coun. Hebert who asked what would happen if they didn’t get the funding. “The short answer is – nothing,” de Wit said.

Murphy was sitting as budget chairman as budget chairwoman Bernadette Clement had declared a conflict of interest.

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