On Saturday 13 January, the ABC published an article titled, Online family violence program wins praise from experts, but ‘blocked’ from accreditation. While we support and encourage public discussion about how we can encourage men to take accountability for their violent behaviour, we want to take this opportunity to explore some of the points raised in the article.
No to Violence (NTV) does not accredit Men’s Behaviour Change Programs (MBCPs). Anyone/organisation can apply to become a full or associate member of NTV. Once an application form has been completed and submitted, NTV’s Board of Governance consider the applicant’s eligibility for membership. In Victoria, NTV has held the Minimum Standards for approximately 25 years*. The objective of the Minimum Standards for MBCPs is to ensure that all programs reflect good practice and are safe and effective in working with men who use family violence to change their behaviour.
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 face-to-face and in a group dynamic.
While there is room for variation in the methods and approaches adopted by individual program providers, the Minimum Standards set benchmarks that apply to all programs and ensure that women and children are not at increased risk as a result of men’s participation in MBCPs. Versions of these have been adopted in New South Wales, the Northern Territory and Queensland. Our Minimum Standards have also supported the work of South Australian based Kornar Winmil Yunti (KWY) and Cross Borders Training. To read more about Quality Assurance of the Minimum Standards, please click here.
As the peak body in Victoria for men’s services, we are actively looking at how we can harness technology to engage with men who use family violence. For instance, we are currently researching online interventions for men’s behaviour change.
It is paramount to the safety of women and children that we distinguish the difference between online interventions and Online Men’s Behaviour Change Programs (OMBCPs). Online interventions are not to be confused with OMBCPs.
We are actively collaborating with the following online interventions:
- Live Chat; an alternative way for men to engage with Men’s Referral Service (currently housed on the NTV website www.ntv.org.au);
- e-Mate; a website and application-based program (currently in development with the University of Melbourne’s Melbourne Research Alliance to End Violence against women); and
- Hello Cass SMS functionality; men (and women) can text concerns about their own behaviour, and of their partners, and be connected to Men’s Referral Service (soon to be launched).
For safety and practical reasons it is best-practice to deliver MBCPs face-to-face and in a group dynamic. To highlight a few safety and practical reasons:
- Real time risk and safety monitoring;
- Real time group observation; and
- Clear partner contact boundaries.
Lastly, we advise all research and evaluations of men’s behaviour change work to adhere to the following research standards.
Got an idea about how to engage with men using technology? Please feel free to get in touch with us. We’re actively working on diverse approaches to men’s behaviour change, and we’d really like to hear from you.
If you have any questions or concerns please contact me for a discussion (firstname.lastname@example.org)
No to Violence
*The Minimum Standards are currently under review in Victoria, following recommendation 91 of the Royal Commission into Family Violence.