Successes seen in breaking domestic violence cycle

The holiday season has come to an end, and, unfortunately, in some instances at least, has left a bitter aftermath of conflict and drama

The holiday season has come to an end, and, unfortunately, in some instances at least, has left a bitter aftermath of conflict and drama caused by domestic violence.

Glenn Woollard, probation officer with Red Deer Community Corrections, plays a pivotal role in helping individuals break the cycle of domestic violence.

Woolard is the person who comes after the arrest, the court appearance and the sentencing.

“The judge decides on an appropriate sentence which is determined by how severe the crime is. The offender could be put in jail, but it will depend on the severity.”

While domestic violence doesn’t always result in a jail term, sometimes, being behind bars is the punishment of choice when other methods have failed.

“Repeated breeches usually result in a jail term. You can’t keep (just) warning people,” said Woollard.

He added more leniency is often shown to first-time offenders who may be required to go to counselling to gain some understanding about domestic violence.

“A lot of what goes on is learned behavior. “

Offenders may also be required to restrain from taking alcohol or other drugs.

Woollard explained alcohol often plays a role in abuse, but it does not cause the assault.

One of the conditions imposed by the judge may be to have no contact with the victim directly or indirectly and to remain a certain distance from their place of residence or work.

“That means no phone calls or texting,” he said.

Woollard believes education and counselling, not fines and jail terms, is the best way to break the cycle of domestic abuse.

“Counseling and education are long-term solutions.”

Woollard said domestic violence programs provide tools to help stop the cycle.

“It (violence) is a control and power thing and often is a result of the way someone was raised.”

During his years as a probation officer, Woollard has seen repeat offenders and cases where the cycle continues in a maddening downward spiral. But he has also seen successes where individuals have managed to break the cycle and violence is no longer a threat.

“It’s refreshing to see that; to see people make positive choices.”