Innovative response to family violence will lead to safer families, safer communities

The Hon. Gavin Jennings MLC, Special Minister of State, today officially launched the Bethany Men’s Family Violence Intervention Centre at a morning tea event attended by a number of dignitaries and community sector leaders.

The South Geelong centre provides a coordinated response to increase the accountability and visibility of men who choose to use violence in their relationships.

The innovative service is informed by cutting-edge research and emerging practice and provides a coordinated, cross-sector response to male perpetrators of family violence.

The service model for the Centre fills a current gap in the community’s response to family violence, in particular in services available for male perpetrators.

In planning for the services to be offered from the Centre, Bethany Community Support has addressed the complex array of factors that may re-enforce (not cause) men’s decision to use violence. In a response to this, the Centre will ultimately provide services including:

  • Individual assessment and treatment to male perpetrators of family violence
  • Men’s case management for male perpetrators of family violence
  • Men’s Behaviour Change programs
  • Fathering programs
  • Drug and alcohol counselling
  • Financial counselling
  • Housing and homelessness response

Additional treatment services will be provided as the model develops, including Primary Health Care, mental health assessment and treatment, and other counselling, thus providing a ‘wraparound’ service.

CEO of Bethany Community Support, Mr Grant Boyd, says that this comprehensive approach is core to the model.

“Bethany has been working with male perpetrators of family violence for many years, and we see first-hand the array of issues which can contribute to a man’s choice to use violence,” Mr Boyd said.

“In providing a range of specialist services to address these issues, including the use of violence, we are getting to the true crux of this pernicious social problem,” Mr Boyd says.

“Ultimately, Bethany Men’s Family Violence Intervention Centre will lead to perpetrators of family violence being more accountable and more visible,” Mr Boyd says. “This in turn will result in safer families and safer communities.”

This project is the first of its kind in Victoria and will provide ongoing benefits to the local community, beyond a response to family violence.

“This Centre has the capacity to bolster the reputation of the Geelong region as being a Centre for Excellence in perpetrator accountability work, and will become a beacon of innovation and community collaboration,” Mr Boyd says.

The service will complement and work in close partnership with other family violence services and resources offered in the region, including the Barwon Support & Safety Hub (due to open in Geelong soon).

The Centre also includes well-appointed training facility with the capacity to host 75 people, providing an incredible opportunity for local workers to build their capacity to work confidently with perpetrators of family violence.

Bethany received funding for the project from a capital grant received from Adroit Insurance Group (and administered by Geelong Community Foundation).

Managing Director of Adroit Insurance Group, Mr Andrew Locke, says he was thrilled to see the centre open its doors.

“Family violence is a prevalent issue in our community and one that needs to be addressed proactively, in conjunction with the continuation of ongoing support and rehabilitation to the victims,” Mr Locke says.

“Bethany identified a need to stop this destructive cycle through education and inclusion,” he says. “Addressing the underlying issues that lead to such negative behaviour will save lives.”

“Adroit were proud to be a part of this revolutionary approach and provide the funding through the Adroit Charity Golf Day Grant,” Mr Locke says.

Gail Rodgers, Chief Executive Officer of the Geelong Community Foundation, considers the new capital grant opportunity yet another demonstration of the strong leadership shown by Adroit in supporting our community.

“The proactive partnership between our organisations has delivered a great outcome that will provide significant benefits for our region,” Ms Rogers says.

“The $105,000 capital grant will add to the $6.8 million in grants that the Foundation has provided to community organisations since 2001,” she says.

Further funding for the service has been received from ex-Geelong Cats star Jimmy Bartel’s 2016 Face up to DV campaign, and a private bequest received by Bethany.