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Our research

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.


News and events

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



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.



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.


The client–worker relationship in men’s behaviour change programs: Key findings and future directions

This is an edited summary of key findings from ANROWS research Exploring the client-worker relationship in men’s behaviour change programs.

This study explored perceptions of the client–worker relationship in men’s behaviour change programs (MBCPs), including the purpose, value and meaning of the relationship, and factors that were perceived to affect its development.

Key findings
  • Facilitators of MBCPs can build personalised client–worker relationships, using self-disclosure to forge an emotional bond and build trust with participants.
  • These personalised client–worker relationships can create an environment conducive to behavioural and attitudinal change.
  • There is a risk of collusion when facilitators have a strong emotional investment in participants.
  • Collusion can be prevented if facilitators regularly:
    • make clear statements about the professional purpose of the relationship
    • challenge participants’ attempts to collude
    • maintain good relationships with supervisors, where the challenges of the client–worker relationship can be openly discussed.
  • Maintaining personalised client–worker relationships can heighten the emotional load on facilitators and this can manifest in gendered ways.
  • The value of the client–worker relationship in facilitating behaviour change should be recognised by organisations and steps should be taken to help facilitators maintain personalised relationships.
  • The emotional load experienced by facilitators and the gendered way this can manifest should be recognised at management and organisational levels.
  • Flexibility in funding models is needed to allow participants to return to programs once they have completed the modules, to enable behaviour change to be sustained in the long term.



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). The client–worker relationship in men’s behaviour change programs: Key findings and future directions (Research to policy and practice, 15/2020). Sydney: ANROWS.

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