Invisible practices: Intervention with fathers who use violence

Project Summary - PI.17.06

This project aimed to provide an evidence base for intervening with fathers who use domestic and family violence (DFV), in order to enhance support for women and children living with DFV. The project is a part of ANROWS’s Perpetrator Interventions Research Stream.

The project delivered an evidence-informed Practice Guide for workers and highlights the need for organisations to undertake systemic change to embed new practice approaches.

Structured interventions with men who use violence mostly occur through the criminal justice system and specialist men’s behaviour change programs. While other services, such as child protection and family support services, work with fathers who use violence, this work has never been documented or formalised. In other words, to date, this work has been largely “invisible”.

The project’s findings are structured around four themes:

  • key skills identified for working with fathers who use violence and control;
  • key factors identified in partnering with women;
  • key skills in ensuring a focus on children and young people; and
  • the role of organisations and practitioner capacity building.

The project built upon earlier ANROWS research, including the PATRICIA (PAThways and Research Into Collaborative Inter-Agency practice) project, which investigated fostering collaboration between child protection and specialist DFV services.

The Invisible Practices project also draws on evidence from other existing research, the expertise of practitioners in four states and the technical skills and knowledge of the US-based Safe & Together Institute’s consultants David Mandel and Kyle Pinto.

Reports and resources

Research report: in-depth research report.

Research to policy and practice paper: a resource to support policy-makers and practitioners applying the research findings.

Practice guide: detailed evidence-informed guidance for practitioners.


Project Lead

Professor Cathy Humphreys, University of Melbourne

Research expertise

  1. Professor Marie Connolly, University of Melbourne
  2. Dr Lucy Healey, University of Melbourne
  3. Professor Donna Chung, Curtin University 
  4. Mr Damian Green, Curtin University
  5. Professor Patrick O'Leary, Griffith University
  6. Dr Menka Tsantefski, Griffith University
  7. Dr Lesley Laing, The University of Sydney 
  8. Dr Susan Heward-Belle, The University of Sydney

Policy expertises / Government partners

  1. Ms Sherilee Mitchell, WA Department for Child Protection and Family Support
  2. Ms Jan Snell, Department of Health & Human Services, VIC
  3. Ms Deb Tsorbaris, The Centre for Excellence in Child & Family Welfare
  4. Ms Kate Alexander, NSW Department of Family and Community Services
  5. Professor Muriel Bamblett, VIC Aboriginal Child Care Agency
  6. Ms Kate Cherry, QLD Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services

Research partners

  1. Australian Child Safety Alliance (ACSA)

Project length

1.5 years