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.
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