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EXCLUSIVE: Chronic domestic abusers need more rehab, says offender

A man who was arrested for beating his wife numerous times says repeat offenders like him need more rehabilitation, and government cuts to domestic abuse programs are putting lives in peril.

The man, whose identity is being withheld to protect his children, told CityNews he was arrested five times and was facing a total of nine charges related to domestic violence.

He says he was able to avoid time behind bars because he had a good lawyer, but when he breached a court order, he was suddenly facing the prospect of incarceration.

That’s when he heard about the Partner Assault Response (PAR) program — a provincial program aimed at rehabilitating abusers.

But the program was recently cut by the province, from 16 weeks to 12, in order to ease the waiting list.

The chronic abuser says he was desperate to change his behaviour, but felt the abbreviated program merely scratched the surface.

“At the 12 week period I felt incomplete,” he said. “Like, wait a minute, we just opened this can of worms, we need to dig into it. I asked the staff if I could continue. I was told that I couldn’t.”

The man blames a “fear of abandonment” for his violent and controlling nature. He tracked his wife’s car and phone, monitored her bank statements, and timed how long it took for her to get home.

“I know it takes 15 minutes and I’m going to check in 15 minutes and if you’re not there, we have a problem,” he said, adding that his children witnessed the “ugly” attacks.

His wife eventually left him, but he says he came forward to “encourage men with abusive behaviours to seek help.”

Changing Ways provides a PAR program in the London area. The agency’s Tim Kelly says about 20 to 25 per cent of men who go through the program re-offend and he wants it lengthened and catered to fit individual needs.

“These are high risk men that we are engaged with in these programs,” he said. “They have the potential to kill.”