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Truro agency helping men make positive changes

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TRURO, N.S. —

Both the abuser and the abused have a voice in the work done through Bridges Institute.

Bridges offers counselling to men who have abused and to their partners/ex partners, with the abused person invited to talk about what they feel the abuser should do to make restitution.

“It’s about stopping abuse and repairing harm,” said Tod Augusta-Scott, executive director at Bridges. “We’re family focused, as opposed to criminal justice focused.

“A big part of what we’ve been able to do is because of the community. We’ve received support and it’s a fantastic community to work in.”

The formation of the institute dates back to 1990, when a group of volunteers who wanted to do something to stop abuse got together. Today, it offers individual, couple, family and group counselling, along with research and training. Augusta-Scott, who is also a civilian therapist with the Canadian Armed Forces. has published and presented his work around the world.

“Most of our work isn’t around physical abuse, it’s more often emotional,” he said. “It often involves put downs and yelling. I suspect a lot of people think if there’s no hitting it’s not abuse. Often, our templates for expressing anger involve yelling and screaming, but it’s important to consider the effects.”

Bridges encourages the abused person to talk about the effects abuse has had on them and discuss what steps they feel the abuser should take.

“People do relapse at times, but it’s usually not to the same extreme,” said Augusta-Scott.

People who have attended Bridges’ programs often recommend them to others. Those interested in counselling can call and arrange an appointment, with an average wait time of three to four weeks.

Augusta-Scott is the co-founder of the Canadian Domestic Violence Conference, and a member of the federal Minister of the Status of Women’s Advisory Council on the Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence.

More information can be found on the Bridges Institute website at http://www.bridgesinstitute.org/

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