When men realise the impact their violence is having on their kids, it can be a powerful catalyst for change.
And it’s a key principle behind the Caring Dads program, which we are delivering to men in Gippsland and Melbourne’s west as part of a three-year, Australia-first trial in partnership with Children’s Protection Society and the Victorian Government. Caring Dads is an internationally acclaimed Canadian model that teaches men about the impact of family violence on their kids and the importance of a respectful relationship with their children’s mother.
A 17-week early intervention program, Caring Dads targets men who have used violence, or are at high risk of doing so, through group work that encourages them to stop controlling, abusive and neglectful behaviour.
By connecting with other men, they learn how to cope with frustrating situations in healthy ways and to strengthen and repair relationships with their kids.
Anglicare was selected by the Victorian Government to run the three-year pilot program which aims to stop family violence.
Although early in the trial, our staff are already seeing promising signs. Some men are referring others into the program, or asking to continue after 17 weeks.
One man reported that he had told his daughter that he was attending the program to be a better dad, and she told him she was proud of him.
‘I used to think that kids just needed a good whack. Now I think they just need an adult to make an effort.’
A Caring Dad’s participant
Our involvement in Caring Dads is another example of Anglicare’s role implementing reforms recommended by the Royal Commission into Family Violence, which recognised the importance of intervening early to hold men to account for their violent behaviour.