Violence Free Families continued its focus on developing new and better men’s behaviour change programs. These are small-group programs that run for a minimum of 26 contact hours under the guidance of trained facilitators. They are considered to be the most effective way of helping families by improving men’s behaviour.
Significant progress was made this year in developing a world-first online/multi-media behaviour change program for violent men. In addition, our established research program with Monash University into the long term results of conventional men’s behaviour change programs continued with data collection and early analysis.
The Online Behavior Change Program
This project progressed from contract awards in August through development of materials to the completion of the first 14-week field trial in June. The project consortium including Gippsland TAFE (for e-learning expertise and experience in online suicide prevention programs) and Trusted Impact Pty Ltd (for information security services) worked with dedication and enthusiasm. The University of Melbourne is evaluating it on an ongoing basis. The first field trail was completed in June and a second trial will commence in August. The initial results, while too early to be statistically significant, have been most encouraging and the concept shows considerable potential.
Agencies in three States are participating in this research, giving us an opportunity to compare the different types of program used in different States. The study will continue for several more years, as we follow up men who have completed programs to see whether the impact is durable. While the numbers are a little below expectations, information from the early analysis, if confirmed, indicate a need for significant changes to established programs.
Funding and Community Support
Once again, we record our grateful thanks to the Rotary movement for its support and high-level endorsement of our programs. Representatives of Violence Free Families addressed numerous Rotary Clubs and conferences throughout the year. We also shared a promotional stand with Women in Rotary at the 25,000-delegate Rotary International Convention in Sydney, attracting a high degree of interest from both Australian and foreign delegates.
Funding from Rotary, philanthropic institutions and concerned individuals has made our work possible and we are most grateful for their contributions.
Dr David Smyth