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Stopping family violence on the Peninsula

Mari Barry and her team have had great success in helping men stop their violent behaviour. 

In the last year around 5,000 male perpetrators of family violence from the Bayside Peninsula catchment were referred to Peninsula Health’s family violence service. 

“Demand continues to grow and it is expected to continue to grow as the profile of family violence is raised,” explains Mari Barry, Program Manager, Counselling and Family Violence at Peninsula Health.

Through the Men’s Behaviour Change Program, the Family Violence team at Peninsula Health have had success in assisting men to take responsibility for their abusive behaviours, and build more positive relationships.

“Research done by Monash University across the state, showed that 60% of men who had completed Men’s Behaviour Change Programs had not reoffended for up to two years post the programs,” explains Mari.

The programs are research and evidence based and focus on assisting men to take responsibility for their behaviours, as well as the impact that these behaviours have on their families, most often their partners and children.

“The myths and expectations of ‘happy ever after’ don’t really fit with healthy relationships,” explains Glenda Johns, Team Leader of Peninsula Health’s Family Violence Program.

“Most men want to have a good relationship but their choice of behaviour may not necessarily match their intention.”

“Their use of abusive behaviour sets up a situation where they are able to exert a greater level of power and control over their partner and children. This often happens when men do not want to take time to really fully understand the complexities involved in family relationships and the importance of being respectful of the on-going needs of others.”

Men’s behaviour change group work provides the opportunity to consider different perspectives and options of how to be consistently respectful to provide a safe and healthy environment for the people in their lives.

As well as the men’s behaviour change program, Peninsula Health also runs the ‘Keeping Families Safe’ program, for adolescents who are violent in the home. The program works with both the adolescent and family members in a non-blaming, non-shaming way to enhance safety and wellbeing and improve family relationships. The program includes the opportunity for parents and adolescents to participate in group work along with other families.

Call 1300 665 781 to access Peninsula Health’s family violence program.  

If you or someone you know is experiencing family violence you can call the National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800 737 732. If you are in danger, call 000.