The Family Violence Prevention Foundation of Australia

Blog

Colleen Hewett has joined Violence Free Families as an Ambassador. Her new CD – “Black & White” featuring the song “Let Me Breathe” – is available now and $5 from every sale will be donated to Violence Free Families. To order your copy, click here.

Overview

This year has seen the near-completion of our longitudinal study into the outcomes of men’s behaviour change programs by Monash University and preparation for delivering our new online men’s behaviour change program on a large scale.

Research

Data collection for the research study was completed in October and Professor Emeritus Thea Brown, our lead researcher, has presented preliminary findings to numerous organisations, including the Royal Commission into Family Violence, the Australian Institute of Family Studies, the Department of Health and Human Service (Vic) and other interested organisations.

The key finding is that the programs work, they work well and they work in the long term. This is the largest study ever conducted in Australia, one of very few in the world and contributes substantially to removing past doubts about the outcomes of programs. In addition to the headline findings, there is a great deal of detail that will assist in developing future programs, especially in the area of parenting.

The Online Behavior Change Program

The fourth online men’s behaviour change program ran from February to May and was very successful. We confidently expect that the University of Melbourne’s evaluation report will be as positive as the reports on previous programs.

Clients from three States, regional and urban, and from indigenous and ethnically diverse communities participated. This confirmed the universal need for the program and the reasons that drove this initiative in the first place. We aim to start regular program provision in 2017.

Rotary Exchange Ambassadorships

In February, Rotary District 9800, the Rotary Club of Balwyn and Violence Free Families awarded the first annual Rotary Exchange Ambassadorship for family violence prevention professionals. The Australian awardee, Superintendent Matthew Ryan, deputy head of Victoria Police’s Family Violence prevention unit, travelled to New Orleans and other parts of the USA for eight weeks, gathering information that will benefit the Victorian and Australian community. The incoming exchange ambassador, Marie-Claire Landry from New Orleans, visited Victorian organisations and addressed the District 9800 Annual Conference in Bendigo.

Funding and Community Support

Our Ambassador, Colleen Hewett and her manager, Danny Finley, continued to support us and publicise our cause. They presented to a sold-out concert in Bendigo and Colleen did radio and TV interviews and continued to air her anti-violence anthem, ‘Let me Breathe’.

We welcomed the continuing official recognition of our programs by Rotary. Generous donations were received from Women in Rotary and clubs, as well as philanthropic trusts and individual donors. Many family violence prevention presentations were made to community organisations, spreading awareness of family violence and our contributions to prevention.

Dr David Smyth
Chairman

In the past six months, significant milestones were passed on our two major projects and we enjoyed the continued warm and enthusiastic support of our Ambassador Colleen Hewett and her manager, Danny Finley, as well as that of several major donors and many smaller ones.

The Online Men’s Behavior Change Program

Following the excellent evaluation report by the University of Melbourne, we signed a contract with On the Line Australia for the provision of the first regular online men’s behaviour change program, to commence in February, 2016.

This has required a revision of program documentation, assisting OTL with systems for implementation and OTL staff training.

At the same time, we are seeking registration of the program in NSW and the extensive documentation required for this process is well advanced.

Research

Data collection for our research study into the long term results of conventional men’s behaviour change programs was completed and analysis and documentation is in progress. Publication of results and two seminars for professionals are planned for the next half year.

Fund Raising and Community Relations

Colleen Hewett and some outstanding performers gave a concert in October to a near-capacity audience in the new Bendigo Ulumbarra Theatre and generously donated part of the proceeds to VFF.

Our programs could not have continued without the generous support of several philanthropic trusts and we are most grateful to them.

We welcomed the continuing official recognition of our program by Rotary, and our information stand at the annual Australia-New Zealand Rotary Zone Institute Meeting in Sydney was very well-patronised. Members of Violence Free Families addressed many clubs and organisations in the half-year period, spreading awareness of family violence and our contribution to prevention.

Governance

The Board was delighted to welcome new Director Gabe Hau in November and his contributions have already been of great value.

Dr David Smyth

Chairman

Overview

Our focus on family violence prevention through innovation and development of men’s behaviour change programs continued and significant further progress was made.

The Online Behavior Change Program

The third and final field trial of this world-first concept was completed in May, and the University of Melbourne evaluators confirmed the excellent results obtained from the first two trials. One partner said: “The program has given me the man I believed he could be when we married nine years ago.”

On the Line, specialists in telephone counselling and the provider of MensLine Australia was selected for the provision of the first regular program and preparations for induction training of their staff by VFF were finalised.

Research

Our research study with Monash University into the long term results of conventional men’s behaviour change programs will continue for another nine months as we follow up men who have “graduated” from the programs. The results will be disseminated through publications and a seminar early in 2016.

Funding and Community Support

We welcome the continuing official recognition of our programs by Rotary. Generous donations were received from Women in Rotary and clubs, as well as philanthropic trusts and individual donors. Sixteen family violence prevention presentations were made to a total of over 1,000 people, spreading awareness of family violence and our contribution to prevention.

In March, our new Ambassador, Colleen Hewett, entertained delegates at a Rotary conference in Hobart with her new song about the experience of family violence, along with other well known songs. For many delegates, it was the highlight of the conference. An anti-violence video clip, featuring Colleen and numerous public identities, including the Prime Minister, premiered at the conference.

Governance

We accepted with regret the resignation of Norm Thomas from our Board with effect from 31 December. Norm’s wise advice and many contributions over his five years of service will be very much missed.

In May, we welcomed Helen Bird to the Board. She brings to our work her great enthusiasm and a wealth of experience in business development and public relations.

We made a submission to the Senate Inquiry into domestic violence in July, 2014, testified at a hearing later in the year and followed up with supplementary material requested on notice. We also made a submission to the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence.

 

Dr David Smyth

Chairman

Violence Free Families Ambassador, Colleen Hewett, is donating $5 from every sale of her new CD, Black and White, to Violence Free Families.

There’s a wonderful feeling of freedom and security in being able to breathe normally, without fear and without anguish. Sadly, three in ten Australian women have felt suffocated by physical, emotional or sexual abuse at the hands their partner. Colleen Hewett’s powerful anthem “Let me Breathe” has been generously donated to Violence Free Families to help raise awareness and much needed funds.

 

 

Violence Free Families works for the elimination of all forms of family violence. We believe that Research, Innovation and Education can help improve the lives of vulnerable children and women, and help curb the incidence of family violence.