The Family Violence Prevention Foundation of Australia

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An Open Letter to NTV and its Members

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

 

References:

[1] http://www.ntv.org.au/about-us/our-vision/

[2] http://www.ntv.org.au/update-ntvs-response-to-abcs-article-online-family-violence-program-wins-praise-from-experts-but-blocked-from-accreditation (accessed 31 January 2018).

[3] http://www.ntv.org.au/about-family-violence/what-men-can-do/

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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.