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Violence against women and their children affects everybody. It impacts on the health, wellbeing and safety of a significant proportion of Australians throughout all states and territories and places an enormous burden on the nation’s economy across family and community services, health and hospitals, income-support and criminal justice systems.

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Knowledge transfer and exchange

ANROWS host activities as part of its knowledge transfer and exchange (KTE) work, including public lectures, workshops and research launches. Details of upcoming ANROWS activities and news are available from the list on the right.

ANROWS

About ANROWS

ANROWS was established by the Commonwealth and all state and territory governments of Australia to produce, disseminate and assist in applying evidence for policy and practice addressing violence against women and their children.

KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER

Knowledge translation resources

To support the take-up of evidence, ANROWS offers a range of resources developed from research to support practitioners and policy-makers in delivering evidence-based interventions.


RESEARCH SUMMARY

Prioritising women’s safety in Australian perpetrator interventions: Mapping the purpose and practices of partner contact. Key findings and future directions

The findings of this study underscore the importance of partner contact as central component of successful men’s behaviour change programs.

Partner contact involves working with the current or ex-partners of a program participant to provide them with support, information and safety planning. This evidence suggests that every woman with a current or former partner involved with such a program should be offered this kind of support from the program or a partner organisation.

The research shows that when MBCPs do not support victims/survivors of domestic violence and involve them in the process of change through partner contact, perpetrators may use their participation in the program as an opportunity to further their abuse. Similarly, if a man stops attending his behaviour change program, the risk to his partner or ex-partners is likely to increase.

In many cases, partner contact is also the first interaction that women and their children have had with formal services. As such, it is a crucial first pathway to support.

For victims/survivors to be safe from violence, they will need ongoing access to these services, regardless of whether their perpetrator is attending a men’s behaviour change program.

However, the study found that in practice partner contact is often not prioritised, as it is labour-intensive and resources are limited.

The findings also show that across the various kinds of Australian perpetrator interventions, there is no consistent approach to involving partners in this process.

This paper provides recommendations for policy and practice, including:

  • National minimum-practice standards should be developed for partner support as a component of all men’s behaviour change programs, ensuring a shared understanding among services about the importance of their partner contact work, and the goals, processes and ethics that underpin it.
  • Funding and resourcing of partner contact services should be provided in a way that allows these shared minimum standards to be met.
  • Funding bodies should coordinate their criteria to ensure that effective partner contact is prioritised when granting funds.

A Practice Guide has been developed to help frontline workers apply the new evidence and prioritise victim/survivor safety when working with perpetrators of domestic and family violence.

 

Publication details

ANROWS Research to policy and practice papers are concise papers that summarise key findings of research on violence against women and their children, including research produced under ANROWS’s research program, and provide advice on the implications for policy and practice.


Suggested citation

Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety. (2020). Prioritising women’s safety in Australian perpetrator interventions: Mapping the purpose and practices of partner contact (Research to policy and practice, 08/2020). Sydney: ANROWS.

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