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MEDIA RELEASE: Couples counselling is not the answer to stopping family violence

No to Violence, the peak body representing individuals and organisations working with men who use family violence is deeply concerned about the significant risk that new Specialised Family Violence Services funding poses to victim-survivors, and calls on the Morrison Government to immediately reconsider this grant program.

Domestic and family violence (DFV) requires a highly specialised response, which at a minimum, upholds the safety of victim-survivors, manages risk and encourages perpetrators to take responsibility for their behaviour while being held accountable for their use of violence.

In many cases of DFV, relationship counselling can pose a safety risk if a person experiencing family violence has to talk about this while the person using it against them is present.

The assessment criteria within the grant guidelines do not adequately require programs demonstrate:

  • their specialist expertise in delivering DFV interventions for victim-survivors or perpetrators,
  • their understanding and compliance with state or territory standards of practice
  • their capacity to meet state or territory-based legislation and policy frameworks

States and territories have long worked collaboratively with DFV experts and victim-survivors to develop a sophisticated understanding of the issues surrounding the gendered nature of violence, track service system gaps, and design and embed critical legislation, policy and practice frameworks to create robust prevention and response systems. It is vital that the Federal Government does not set about to ‘re-invent the wheel’ or invest in ways that undermine or contradict the efforts of each jurisdiction.

The Federal Government must work collaboratively with each respective state and territory to invest in programs and services that are highly specialised, can meet the needs of victim-survivors and adhere to best practice approaches to responding to perpetrators.

No to Violence cannot stress enough the real danger this type of funding creates for women and children who are experiencing domestic and family violence and urge the Morrison Government to immediately reconsider this grant program.

“We can only end DFV if we confront it at its source” says No to Violence CEO, Jacqui Watt. “This properly allocated and substantial funding for targeted services that support perpetrators to change their behaviour, while keeping women, children and families safe” says Ms Watt.

“For 25 years, No to Violence has been working at the frontline with men who use violence and power to control others, and with families to address their safety” says Ms Watt.


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