The Family Violence Prevention Foundation of Australia


As Anzac Day is nearing, think about wearing a unique poppy brooch made by women from Gallipoli. This exquisite poppy brooch is made by hand using fine glass beads; it is very elegant and distinctive. It takes an artisan woman almost a whole day to make one of these beautifully presented poppies.

These women run workshops designed for men, influencing behaviour change about violence and holding events calling for love to replace hatred. These women also banded together to produce giftware to sell and fund their projects to assist victims of domestic violence.

Worried about increasing domestic violence, 64 women who live around Gallipoli formed an association to do something about it.

These women run workshops designed for men, influencing behaviour change about violence and holding events calling for love to replace hatred. These women also banded together to produce giftware to sell and fund their projects to assist victims of domestic violence.

Friends of Gallipoli Inc., a non-political, not-religious and not-for-profit organisation, decided to assist these women of Gallipoli by marketing the unique poppy brooches in Australia. If you purchase one of these brooches, you will help funds to be made available to the women of Gallipoli to fight against domestic violence.

Please complete the form at the Friends of Gallipoli web site to order your unique brooches

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A unique collection of life size painted horses for sale or hire to benefit Violence Free Families, a Rotary initiative in partnership with National storage. To see catalogue and contact details, click on the link below.

Download Catalogue

No To Violence, the “peak body” for Men’s Behaviour Change Programs in Victoria, has released a “Position Statement” on the Online Men’s Behaviour Change Program. Violence Free Families has analysed this Statement, and suggests that it is based on a lack of understanding of the program, that it shows complete disregard for the evidence, in particular the University of Melbourne’s report on the program trials, and contains insupportable speculation. The Position Statement conclusion that the online program can only be run in conjunction with a face to face program, if accepted, would deny help to the huge number of Australian families who have no other access to services of this kind, leaving them exposed to further abuse. Violence Free Family’s analysis may be viewed at the link below.

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Following the ABC article “Online family violence program wins praise from experts but “blocked” from accreditation” on 13 January 2018, No to Violence (NTV) posted a formal response on its website. This response reflects NTV’s consistent pattern of resistance to innovative ways to reduce domestic violence.

We think NTV may have lost sight of the end objective – to reduce domestic violence. We call on the directors, executives, staff and membership to support NTV’s stated vision of “Working together to end men’s family violence”[1].

NTV’s response to the ABC article says: “In line with the Victorian Government endorsed Minimum Standards, we hold the view that to ensure optimal safety and for practical reasons it is best practice to deliver MBCPs (Men’s Behaviour Change Programs) face-to-face”[2]

We ask the following simple questions:

  1. What evidence do you have to suggest that the Online MBCP (OMBCP) is any less safe than a face to face MBCP?
  2. On the basis of what comparative study do you assert that face to face MBCPs are best practice?

When answering these questions, we ask you to bear in mind that:

  • The OMBCP has been intensively evaluated over four trials by Melbourne University’s Centre for Program Evaluation, which concluded that it is at least as safe and effective as a face to face program.
  • The safety protocols used by the OMBCP are well in excess of the Minimum Standards.
  • The OMBCP was developed and trialled by acknowledged experts in face-to-face programs who were fully conversant with the program standards.
  • An independent audit concluded that the program fully meets the Standards.

We also ask you to bear in mind that, while you continue to use your influence as peak body to block this program:

  1. Women are dying at the rate of one every week due to family violence (2016)
  2. Many men are unable to attend existing programs, meaning that:
  • Women and children in rural and most regional areas are denied the benefits of this or any program.
  • Programs are not available for men on shift work or otherwise unable to attend face to face programs.
  • “There is a high (unmet) demand for men’s behaviour change programs which means there is often a waiting list for a place in the group” (NTV)[3].

Violence Free Families is a volunteer-based charity with the simple aim of trying to prevent family violence. What is to be gained by working against us when children’s and women’s lives and well-beings are at stake?

If you are unable to provide evidence in answer to our two questions to back up your assertions, then we respectfully ask that you reconsider your position and join us in a more collaborative approach to the online future

Working together, we can jointly achieve so much more for the community.


David Smyth, on behalf of the Board of Violence Free Families

19 February 2018




[2] (accessed 31 January 2018).


Violence Free Families has developed from scratch a world first group online program for male perpetrators of family violence. Comprehensively evaluated by Melbourne University’s Centre for Program Evaluation over four trials, it came out with top marks.

The ABC journalist Danny Tran spent over four months of investigation before publishing the article on 13 January, 2018. He interviewed a man who had done the program, the program’s designer and lead facilitator, Melbourne University’s Evaluator, Violence Free Families directors and the CEO of the peak council for such programs in Victoria.

Violence Free Families was established by the Rotary Club of Brighton in 2009 and it is a District Approved Program. The cost of the online program development was over $600,000 in cash and kind and all of this was raised by charitable donations or in-kind contributions of professional time. Rotary clubs were important donors.

Read the ABC’s article.

Horses for Causes

Opportunity of a lifetime

This exciting collection of life-size fibre glass horses have come together for the first and last time as they are up for sale.  Yes, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to own one of these unique art horses.  They can be previewed in Brunswick, Melbourne every Saturday until the 11th November, on Wednesday the 15th November or by private appointment.

For all enquiries, event sales and preview appointment times

Auction Details

A wine and cheese event hosted by Rotary to facilitate the sale of the Art Horse Collection.

The aim is to raise funds for the Online Men’s Behaviour Change Program.


Saturday 14, 21, 28 Oct, 04, 11 Nov
10am – 2pm
FREE entry viewing of exhibition

By appointment Monday – Friday.
Call Robyn Lichter on 0418 548 486  or Barry Hickman 0416 088 851

Wednesday 15 Nov, 2017, 6.30pm
RSVP: 10 November 2017
Wine & cheese
Book your free ticket here


10 November 2017


National Storage
60 Dawson St, Brunswick, VIC 3026


James Clark
Anthony & Belinda Dowell
Ivan Durrant
John Evans
Penelope Gibson
Declan Hallinan
Eleanor Hart
Franciscus Henri
Allen Hicks
Pamela Irving
Ellen Jose
Phoebe Kalaitzis
Alison Lester
Fleur McArthur
Bridget McCormack

Jenny McCracken
Daniel Moynihan
Ian Napier
Mark Ogge
Eric Quah
Alex Rowland
Victor Rubin
Jo Slattery
Jo Jo Spook
Ulla Taylor
Wayne Tindall
Susan Wardrop
Daniel Woodman
Phillip Woodman
Joseph Zbukvic

The cost of family violence in Victoria

The Department of Social Services in Canberra has released a 2016 report by KPMG that estimates the national cost of violence against women and children as $22 bn each year.

Download the summary report here

KPMG also believes that a further $4 bn in costs may be incurred for vulnerable groups such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, but it does not yet have adequate data for such groups to be confident of the figure. This is a significant increase from a 2009 KPMG report, which estimated $13.6 bn.

KPMG says that part of the increase is due to widening the definition of emotional abuse and stalking as forms of violence, in line with changes by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The definition of violence used includes both domestic and non domestic violence, such as street and workplace violence. Violence Free Families estimates from the KPMG reports that the probable cost of family and domestic violence was about $16.5 bn pa in 2016, up from its previous estimate of $9.3 bn.

KPMG has also prepared a more detailed report for the Victorian Government that can be accessed here.

The programs work, they work well and they work in the long term.

Families affected by violence received good news on Monday 1 May, 2017, when the report a long-running study by Monash University into the outcomes of men’s behaviour change programs was launched by the Hon Marcia Neave, AO at University House, Melbourne. The study showed that the programs work, they work well and they continue to work in the long term.

Ms Neave, Judge in Residence at the Melbourne Law School and former Chairperson of the Royal Commission into Family Violence, related the research to the recommendations of the Royal Commission enquiry and formally launched the report at a function at University House, Melbourne University.

On Monday night Dr David Smyth, Chairperson of Violence Free Families, hosted a launch of the report of this very significant research. Professor Emeritus Thea Brown & Dr Catherine Flynn with assistants from the Monash University Department of Social Work carried out the study on behalf of Violence Free Families.

The Hon Marcia Neave, AO, launching the report with Professor Thea Brown and Dr David Smyth

The study collected data from 270 men over 2 or more years, with 71 remaining in the study at the end – a significant result in a study of this kind.

The men showed a sharp reduction in the nature and severity of violence over the duration of the programs and this reduction is maintained and improved upon in subsequent months and years. Most of the men become violence free or almost violence free two years after their program.

This continued reduction in violence is not without effort. Men fear relapsing and often seek further help. This does not negate the value of the programs, which set them on this path.

There is no evidence that one type of violence is transferred to another, eg, physical to psychological. All types reduce together.

In acknowledging the many supporters of this, the first major study of its kind in Australia, Dr David Smyth, chairperson of Violence Free Families, made special mention of the role of Rotary in supporting the creation of Violence Free Families in 2009 and the early stages of the research and of the generous philanthropists who contributed, The study costs in excess of $500,000 in cash and kind and was entirely funded from charitable sources.

It is a study of international significance. A summary and the full report may be found at

Do Men’s Behaviour Change Programs work in the long term? This, and many other questions about these programs, has vexed professionals, participants and their families for many years.

So, it is with great pleasure that we can now post the research report on our Longitudinal Study into the Effectiveness of Men’s Behaviour Change Programs.

The research was conducted by Professor Emeritus Thea Brown, Professor of Social Work at Monash University and co-author of “Child Abuse and Family Law” Allen and Unwin, 2007, with her associate, Dr Catherine Flynn, and others.

The findings of the study are very optimistic. The men’s behaviour change programs work, they work well and they work in the long term.

Violence Free Families is proud of its role in sponsoring and funding this research and will continue to work hard towards the prevention of family violence in our society.

To view a summary of the report, please click here.

To view the full research report, please fill out the form below to obtain your copy.


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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.