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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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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.

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RESEARCH REPORT

Prioritising women’s safety in Australian perpetrator interventions: The purpose and practices of partner contact

This research report provides a deeper understanding of how men’s behaviour change programs (MBCPs) support women and children through contact with them throughout the process.

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.

It is important that victims/survivors have contact with support services that is not dependent on the behaviour of their abusers. 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.

However, the findings show that across the various kinds of Australian perpetrator interventions, there is no consistent approach to involving partners in this process. The study also found that in practice partner contact is often not prioritised, as it is labour-intensive and resources are limited.

Implications for policy and practice can be found in the Key Findings and Future Directions paper accompanying this report. A Practice Guide has also 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

This work is part of the ANROWS Research reports series. ANROWS Research reports (Horizons) are in-depth reports on empirical research produced under ANROWS’s research program.


Authors

PROFESSOR DONNA CHUNG
Curtin University

MS SARAH ANDERSON
Curtin University

MR DAMIAN GREEN
Stopping Family Violence

MR RODNEY VLAIS
Consultant


ISBN: 978-1-925925-21-0 (print) | 978-1-925925-22-7 (online)

174 pp.

 

 

Suggested citation

Chung, D., Anderson, S., Green, D., & Vlais, R. (2020). Prioritising women’s safety in Australian perpetrator interventions: The purpose and practices of partner contact (Research report, 08/2020). Sydney: ANROWS.

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