This publication provides basic information on the Mandatory Counselling Programme.
What is the Mandatory Counselling Programme?
The Mandatory Counselling Programme is a court ordered counselling programme to help persons who have experienced or used domestic violence. This programme is administered by the Ministry of Social and Family Development and aims to keep families safe through:
- Helping family members to learn more respectful behaviours to resolve conflict; and
- Providing family members with the necessary support and skills to ensure everyone’s safety.
What is a Counselling Order?
A Counselling Order is a court order issued by the Family Justice Courts that can accompany a Protection Order issued under Section 65 of the Women’s Charter. If you are named in the Counselling Order, you must attend a counselling programme at a designated Social Service Agency.
Who can be Ordered to Attend Counselling?
The person who applies for a Protection Order (called the “Complainant”), the person against whom the Protection Order is issued (called the “Respondent”) and family members can be ordered to attend the Mandatory Counselling Programme.
According to the Women’s Charter, a family member could include:
- A spouse or ex-spouse;
- A child, including an adopted child or step-child;
- A parent or parent-in-law;
- A sibling; or
- Any other relative or incapacitated person whom the Court regards as a member of the family.
What Happens if you Fail to Attend Counselling?
Failure to attend counselling is considered a breach of the Counselling Order and deemed a contempt of Court punishable by law.