By Pamela Nathan
Re: ‘The violent men who do change’, by Cosima Marriner, published in ‘The Age, 27 May, 2016.
Strong Evidence supporting the efficacy of group programs to help violent offenders rehabilitate has come out of a Monash university study. According to the findings published, “Two thirds of violent men who attend behaviour change programs completely stop abusing their families within two years”. The study, the first long-term study of its kind in Australia, found that “court-ordered participants in behaviour change programs were the most likely to stop being violent”.
The findings support the approach adopted by CASSE’s 12 week group program for the prevention of violence, ‘Breakthrough Violence‘. The first group to engage in this program at Ingkintja, the male health unit of the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress Aboriginal Corporation, is nearing completion and the feedback to date has been very positive.
There have been high levels of engagement, with many bilingual conversations occurring. Facilitated by senior Aboriginal men and a therapist, there is considerable talk around masculinity and men’s behaviour issues – for Aboriginal men coming out of jail and Aboriginal men struggling with substance misuse and violence. According to CAAC clinician/facilitator, Gerard Waterford, one of the main benefits of the program “will be growing up a more thoughtful Aboriginal leadership and a mature conversation”.
The strengthening of cultural identity and connections between the generations offers an alternative to ‘drinking circles’, and the group strongly shares the value of becoming more humane.
We look forward to tracking the ongoing progress of this group and engaging more men in future ‘Breakthrough Violence’ Programs.
For more information about the Breakthrough Violence Program, please contact us.