Working Together For Safety With Men Who Have Perpetrated Violence and Abuse in the Family

Gail Telford

     Commonly, children’s protective services engage with the women and children who have been harmed by violence in their home in the work of safety.  Invariably, it is the victim’s so called ‘protective attributes’ regarding her children’s safety that are of primary consideration.  Conversely, the men who have perpetrated violence and abuse in the family become ‘invisible’.  Consequences of mutualising men’s acts of violence pursue women as responsible and men as lacking the ability to be accountable for their violent acts.

      A more effective, accountable and positive social response to reducing domestic and family violence is an integrated systems approach which prioritises a shared commitment to safety of women and children through collaborative partnerships with police, justice system, housing and community services, women’s services and child protection services.

     In the Ballarat region of Australia, the Family Violence Court Intervention Program (FVCIP) is an affiliate of this multi-system framework and uniquely positioned to provide therapeutic work and support for men who have perpetrated violence and abuse in the family as well as counselling and collaborative joint risk assessments for family members who have been harmed.  Utilising collaborative conversations incorporating response based practices women and children are offered an opportunity to be heard and their voices honoured in the work and men who have used abuse or violence in the family are encouraged to be involved in the solution to domestic and family violence. 

     Beyond risk assessment and safety planning this presentation is a story the collaborative work with women and children who are intimately connected to the business of hope and healing and men who can choose to be allies in the prevention of violence as well as supporters of social justice and gender equality.