News / Halifax

Men's violence against women subject of poster launch and panel discussion

New Start Counselling and Halifax Regional Police discuss issue of domestic violence and initiatives to help

Wendy Keen, executive director of New Start Counselling, unveils the group's new poster campaign at Halifax Regional Police headquarters on Tuesday.

Jeff Harper/Metro

Wendy Keen, executive director of New Start Counselling, unveils the group's new poster campaign at Halifax Regional Police headquarters on Tuesday.

Three stark black and white posters with powerful messages were unveiled Tuesday at Halifax Regional Police headquarters ahead of a panel discussion about men’s violence against women.

“My wife makes me angry so I push her. My son makes me angry so I push him. I’m angry that I can’t be a better man,” states one of the posters.

The launch of New Start Counselling’s ‘On being a better man’ campaign raised questions about funding for the organization that provides counselling for men who abuse their intimate partners.

The posters can be downloaded from the New Start website and will be posted in public waiting rooms, libraries, doctors’ offices and workplaces.

The group received funding to create the impactful posters, but has no advertising budget.

Wendy Keen, executive director of New Start Counselling, said her program is struggling due to a lack of resources.  Funded through a provincial operating grant of $235,000 a year, she said they’ve been forced to prioritize clients because they only have 2.8 full time counsellors.

“This work is so important because it’s not just about men, it’s about families,” Keen said, noting they could triple their staff next week and still be busy.

As part of the panel discussion on men’s violence against women, Halifax Regional Police Staff Sgt. Scott MacDonald announced they’d recently expanded their crime prevention unit to include a constable who will focus on domestic violence crime prevention.

“We know…that in many domestic abuse situations the victim will go back to the abuser for a variety of reasons,” he said.

“The addition of a domestic violence prevention officer improves our ability to hold the abusers accountable as well as assist them in getting the help they need to change their behaviour and stop the violence.”

Alice Housing’s executive director Heather Byrne was one of many representatives who attended the event. Her organization provides housing and supportive counselling to women and children leaving domestic abuse.

She applauded New Start Counselling’s poster initiative.

“I would just like to commend New Start for continuing their focus on serving men who are the other half of this equation,” she said.

“If we are not focusing the time and attention on these men, we are not going to actually reduce incidents of intimate partner violence.”

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