By Pamela Nathan
Re ‘Domestic violence perpetrators learn they are not the victim in unique Perth rehabilitation program‘, broadcast on ABC’s 7.30, 24/2/2016
Breaking the cycle of domestic violence is very difficult. Blame and shame are catalysts that can trigger a downward spiral of increasing hurt, anger and violence. Giving perpetrators of domestic violence a space to name and own their violent behaviour can be a healing process, and it is healing that is required if the cycle of violence is to be broken.
The ‘Breathing Space‘ initiative featured in 7.30’s report offers a welcome new approach to domestic violence that mirrors the approach taken by CASSE’s ‘Breakthrough Violence‘ program that has just commenced at Ingkintja in Alice Springs, in conjunction with the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress. Although Breakthrough Violence is not a residential program, it is a group treatment program that is run over 15 weekly sessions. As with Breathing Space, the success of Breakthrough Violence is driven by the commitment of the men to change. It provides a safe, facilitating environment where they can begin to face and own their behaviour and gain insight into the historical experiences that are triggers for their ongoing pain, shame and violence.
As Melissa Perry stated on 7.30, the financial cost of these programs compared to the cost of incarceration makes them a ‘no-brainer’. When you add on the flow on financial costs as well as the human costs associated with violent behaviour, the imperative for programs such as these is even stronger. They can change minds. They can save lives.
For more information about ‘Breakthrough Violence‘ group program for the prevention and treatment of violence please contact us.