The SERVICE D'AIDE AUX CONJOINTS (SAC) was established upon the completion of a pilot project sponsored and supervised by La Dauphinelle, a women’s shelter.
In May 1986, a non-profit corporation was established to encourage men to undergo spousal abuse therapy. Its services were intended for the spouses of the female residents of the shelter and for the men living in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve district in general. In this way, the organization hoped to respond to various requests from men, including some who were experiencing spousal abuse and wished to move to the shelter along with their children.
In February 1988, the organization became independent of La Dauphinelle. It provided individual counselling for men experiencing relationship problems and concerned itself with tracking and raising awareness of spousal abuse. It maintained its crisis referral and intervention services.
In the spring of 1989, a review of activities, intervention methods and services was carried out in order to restructure the organization. As a result, since September 1989, the SAC has been involved in the prevention of spousal abuse, irrespective of sexual orientation. The services it provides to men experiencing conflicts, breakups or spousal abuse are intended to prevent the escalation of violence and what can be sometimes tragic outcomes.
In 1995, a planning process allowed SAC to conduct an organizational review and promote a framework in line with the evolution in clients’ needs. Several goals were identified, and later achieved. They were:
- Improvement of physical facilities
- Improvement of human resources management
- Increase in the continuum of services and establishment of a legal information service
- Increase in visibility by prioritizing areas for joint action and partnership
- Review of the operating structure through the establishment of working committees
A number of initiatives were realized, including the creation of Concertation Hommes Montréal, the conceptualization of a 24/7 telephone intervention project, the preparation of various publications, the training of interns and partnerships with several regional and provincial bodies.
In 1997, services for men with relationship problems were increased. A code of ethics, standards and procedures governed interventions, while clinical supervision was encouraged to ensure their professionalism. Conferences and awareness-raising activities were held in order to document the development of the services required to meet the needs of the male population.
In June 2004, financial support from the Ministère de la santé et des services sociaux enabled services to be consolidated and skills enhanced so as to better respond to the diversity of needs and specific situations (multiethnic population, men experiencing spousal abuse and homosexuals.)
In 2006, the organization celebrates its 20th anniversary. It benefits from the research work of an École nationale d’administration publique (ÉNAP) student, who establishes performance indicators. The organization reports a 33% increase in all of its services and develops offerings in English.
In 2007, a Communications Agent position is created. This paves the way to the construction of a website, a new logo and new communication tools. Increased supervisory hours contracted to caregivers, along with more types of training, enhances the team’s core competencies. The Needs and Services Adequacy Chart is updated, facilitating a review of crucial coherence between the organization’s mission, its intervention services, and the prevention of domestic violence.
In 2008, an ambitious media campaign targets all Montreal residents. Several initiatives foster a closer working relationship between partners, including the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM). As a result, the year 2008-2009 reports an impressive 34% increase in services.
In 2011, in the context of eventssurrounding the organization’s 25th anniversary, we held 3 study days on the following themes: “Intimatepartner violence in same sex relationships”, “Men subjected to intimate partnerviolence” and “Masculine realities and psychosocial intervention”. Thesestudies were done in collaboration with actors from different horizons (CLSC, SPVM, S.O.S. Domestic Violence, organizations intervening with men, etc.). Foreach day, a summary was produced and distributed to resources in the community.
In 2016, the organization celebrated its 30 years by organizing an eventbringing together different partners in the field of intimate partner violenceand by offering a conference on “The challenges of intervention with mensubjected to intimate partner violence”.
Our ever-changing society continually requires new projects and partnerships. The evolution of services to keep pace with these changes allows us to provide better intervention for children dealing with domestic violence and to improve the services available for preventing family violence.