A new domestic violence therapy program launching next week in Minneapolis will be the first in the state to focus on military veterans.
Change Step is an 18-week group-therapy program for veterans who have committed violence in their personal relationships. The group was formed because military veterans often do better working with other veterans, social worker Hector Matascastillo said.
"We do believe that the behavior is learned and that the individual is not the behavior.," Matascastillo said. "You may have committed an act of abuse, but I don't believe that you are an abuser. I believe that you want to live a healthy lifestyle with healthy relationships and I want to be able to show you ways that you can get to that goal."
Matascastillo said the group will include men required by the court system to attend a domestic violence course, and men who choose to attend voluntarily.
"The model of a veteran providing services to another veteran, caring for another veteran, mentoring another veteran is still the best model, peer-to-peer works the best and we are applying it within our own agency," Matascastillo said.
The program begins Sept. 10 at the Domestic Abuse Project building in Minneapolis.