#ShiftTheBurden - No to Violence Federal Election Statement

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#ShiftTheBurden: 2022 Federal Election Statement


Acknowledgement of Country No to Violence acknowledges First Nations Peoples across these lands; the Traditional Custodians of the lands and waters. We pay respect to all Elders, past, present and emerging. We acknowledge a deep connection with country which has existed over 60,000 years. We acknowledge that sovereignty was never seeded, and this was and always will be First Nation’s land.

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#ShiftTheBurden: 2022 Federal Election Statement


Executive Summary Family and domestic violence is everyone’s problem. But it begins – and ends – with men. Every week in Australia, a man chooses to kill his current or former partner. Often, children are killed too. They die at the hands of the very people who say they love them. This simply cannot go on. At No to Violence, we know that ending family and domestic violence must be seen as core business for government. We have spent the past 30 years developing safe and effective interventions for men who use family violence. We are leading the change to end male family violence in Australia. And while we specialise in targeted interventions to support men to change their behaviour, our primary concern is the safety and wellbeing of women and children. Always. Terrorised women are fleeing their homes with their children because they are not safe. Others remain in high-risk situations with their children because they are too unsafe to leave. Women across Australia – and around the world – are leading marches because they are not safe. Women are taking a stand and saying enough is enough. For too long, the focus has been on helping women and children who are hurt by abuse – not on stopping the men from hurting them in the first place. For too long, victim-survivors have carried the burden of navigating a system that meets their cries for help with disbelief or bureaucracy; a system that requires women to relive their trauma by repeatedly sharing their stories; a system that puts women at risk because it focuses on what women should do to avoid violence, instead of what men should do to stop using violence. We need to shift the burden: to remove it from the victim-survivors and place it firmly on the men who use violence.

We must identify abusive men earlier. We must break the cycles of violence earlier, and with more consistency. We must hold men accountable. We must offer men alternatives. We must educate men, and their families, friends and employers, that there is another way. It is time to recognise that we cannot stop family and domestic violence until we stop men from using violence and abuse. Despite a decade of investment in crisis and support interventions, punitive court and corrections service systems, the incidence of men’s family and domestic violence in Australia remains unacceptable.

#ShiftTheBurden: 2022 Federal Election Statement

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Significant national leadership and federal government investment in prevention, early interventions and men’s behaviour change must happen if we are serious about reducing – and ending – the scourge of family and domestic violence in this country. If we do not address the root causes that enable men to use family violence, they will continue to be violent and abusive. We know that NTV’s work with men who use family violence is essential to breaking the cycles of violence. At No to Violence, we believe the next National Plan Ending Violence against women and children 2022-2032 must include five key initiatives which will keep more women and children safe by enabling us to work effectively with more men – and realise our vision of a world free from male violence. NTV is calling for: 1. Secure funding for the national Men’s Referral Service – a dedicated phone line for men who use violence to call and get help – and for the specialist programs that work with men to stop them using violence. 2. A fully resourced national evaluation framework to rigorously assess what programs work to stop men using violence. 3. A national partnership agreement between the Commonwealth, States and Territories to provide cooperation, funding, and accountability to end men’s family violence. 4. Funded training in risk assessment for all employees who work with people impacted by family, domestic and sexual violence to properly identify perpetrators. 5. Funding to support the families and children of those enrolled in perpetrator intervention programs. Working with perpetrators also means supporting victim survivors during these programs to keep them safe.

With an increased focus on earlier interventions, we have the potential to significantly reduce associated trauma for women and children and costly tertiary responses such as crisis services, health, and police and criminal justice responses. Our fundamental belief is that children are not born violent. Boys do not have to grow into violent men. Violence is a learnt behaviour. And violence is a choice. We believe that men who use violence can change – they can make a better choice. But they need the right tools to be able to make those better choices.

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#ShiftTheBurden: 2022 Federal Election Statement


Our sector is doing truly fantastic work by starting men on their journey to change. Chronic underfunding and the way services are commissioned leaves little room for evaluation, innovation, research, and a fit-for-purpose service system capable of supporting every man who needs it. The national family and domestic violence sector cannot administer and maintain social services to create significant social change on six and 12-month funding agreements. If the Government is serious about ending men’s family violence, it’s time to get serious about funding our sector. Family and domestic violence will stop when men stop using violence.

It is 2022. We can all do better. Together, we must.

#ShiftTheBurden: 2022 Federal Election Statement

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Federal Election Asks At No to Violence, we believe the next National Plan Ending Violence against women and children 2022-2032 must include five key initiatives which will keep more women and children safe by enabling us to work effectively with more men. Initiative 1: Secure funding for the national Men’s Referral Service – a dedicated phone line for men who use violence to call and get help – and for the specialist programs that work with men to stop them using violence. Ask: $12 million over four years

For almost 30 years, No to Violence has successfully worked to develop safe and effective interventions for men using domestic and family violence. The Men’s Referral Service1 (MRS) was established in 1993 and, until 2020, operated in Victoria, New South Wales, and Tasmania. In 2020, in response to the COVID pandemic, No to Violence received funding from the Australian and South Australian Governments to provide a national service. The past five years has seen a huge surge in demand for the MRS. the number of police referrals of violent men to No to Violence has more than trebled from 17,929 in 2016-17, to 58,065 in 2020-21. Our MRS team is dedicated to assessing and monitoring the risk of every one of those cases. In the past 12 months alone, more than 7500 men called the MRS seeking help. In that same period, federal funding for the MRS totalled $2.1 million. And that funding arrangement ends on June 30 this year. While we are heartened by the increasing numbers of men seeking and receiving help, the incidence of men’s family and domestic violence in Australia remains unacceptable. There is much more work to do so that men understand there is a service they can use to help them understand there is another way. The MRS is the counterpoint to 1800RESPECT. Where 1800RESPECT is the national counselling service for women and victim-survivors, the MRS is the support and referral service for men who use violence and abuse. Under the Fourth Action Plan, the Commonwealth Government provided $64 million between 2019–20 and 2020–21 to fund 1800RESPECT. The MRS received $4.5 million over the same period. These two services should attract similar levels of government funding.

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#ShiftTheBurden: 2022 Federal Election Statement


NTV also coordinates the Brief Intervention Service2 (BIS), a multi-sessional telephone support program for men across Australia who use family violence. BIS started in 2020 and filled gaps in services caused in part by COVID. It played an important role in keeping men engaged with the family violence service system through iterative counselling and wrap-around referral support. No to Violence is asking for $12 million over four years to fund important perpetrator interventions including the MRS and BIS. This funding will ensure we can effectively meet demand and start more men on their change journeys.

Initiative 2: A fully resourced national evaluation framework to rigorously assess what programs work to stop men using violence. Ask: $1.5 million

Men’s Behaviour Change Programs are one intervention tool to stop men using abusive and controlling behaviours, take accountability and become better partners and fathers. However, Australia does not have an evaluation framework for MBCPs and other perpetrator interventions. Those evaluations that do exist are one-off program evaluations that track behaviour change during a specific program. No to Violence has 30 years’ experience delivering programs to men who use violence. We know that one-size-fits-all programs in response to perpetrators of family violence are less effective than interventions that target specific needs and risks of perpetrators. Men who choose to use violence have different trauma, different backgrounds, different upbringings, and different cultural heritage – and they pose different levels of risk. We need evidence-based programs that address the individual variables that lead men to choose to use abuse and violence. This includes specialised programs for First Nations people, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, people with mental illness, adolescents and people of diverse sexuality and gender. We must understand when, how and for whom these programs work. To support men’s decisions to stop using violence and start their healing journey, we need a solid evidence base that can answer these questions.

#ShiftTheBurden: 2022 Federal Election Statement

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A recent ANROWS report3 into the effectiveness of perpetrator interventions found there are significant evidence gaps and further research is required. A fully resourced national evaluation framework would mean: i. An evaluation framework developed by the family violence sector to track in-program and long-term behaviour change with participants. This framework must be commensurate with the amount of resourcing provided by the Federal Government to conduct monitoring and evaluation activities. ii. Federal funding to support the implementation of the evaluation framework, including the upskilling of existing staff, allocation of specific funding for monitoring and evaluation officers within services providers and/or in state-based family violence agencies such as peak bodies or FSV; and resourcing to enable service providers to implement recommendations from evaluations. iii. Federal support for on-going monitoring and evaluation of services and the sector at scale. This means providing funding for service providers and evaluators to collect, collate, analyse, and report on data, as well as supporting service providers and policy makers to dedicate time and resources to embedding evaluation recommendations into existing and innovative programming. Initiative 3: A national partnership agreement between the Commonwealth, States and Territories to provide cooperation, funding, and accountability to end men’s family violence. Ask: $500 million over four years

The 2021-22 Federal Budget included $261.4 million over two years to fund a new National Partnership Agreement between Commonwealth and the states and territories. As we have seen with National Partnership Agreements on issues such as housing, education, infrastructure, homelessness and COVID response, these agreements can be a mechanism for transformative change. The $65 million already has been provided to states and territories4, with the Federal Government giving each jurisdiction flexibility to determine where the money is needed most. For too long, Australia’s states and territories have operated in an environment that fosters competition rather than collaboration when it comes to family and domestic violence. The National Partnership Agreement is an opportunity to change this. It is an opportunity to bring together all Australian governments as partners to collaborate, develop, implement, and deliver services and policies that end men’s family violence. States and Territories will continue to bear the primary responsibility for the delivery of frontline services and will therefore be required to contribute to the National Partnership.

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#ShiftTheBurden: 2022 Federal Election Statement


However, the National Partnership Agreement should bring our sector together to agree on priorities for emergency funding, to pool our collective expertise and experience and to work together to support the design and implementation of a national evaluation framework. Under the National Partnership Agreement, the Commonwealth should work with states and territories to ensure funding is prioritised for those who need it most and for key services including accommodation, helplines, sexualised violence and legal support services and perpetrator interventions. No to Violence is asking that the initial $261.4 million funding over two years be doubled to become $500 million over four years. No to Violence is seeking detail on how the $261.4 million allocated in last year’s Budget will be used to establish the National Partnership Agreement and implement activities.

Initiative 4: Funded training in risk assessment for all employees and workplaces who need a better understanding of family, domestic and sexual violence to properly identify perpetrators. Ask: $50 million over four years

One woman per week is murdered by her partner or ex-partner in Australia. Often, the men responsible for these deaths are already known within the family violence system. Far too often we hear the reason these men were able to murder their partners is because of failures in the system. Whether it is the decades of documented domestic violence by Sydney man John Edwards’ being overlooked by police and firearms registry staff before he killed his two children, or the 270-plus text messages to mother of three Hannah Clarke being written off as ‘harmless’ by a police officer just hours before she and her children were brutally murdered – our systems are continuing to fail in their responsibility to protect victim-survivors. Training is essential for the workforces that prevent and respond to family violence – including statutory agencies like the police, court staff and Magistrates, public sector employees and ancillary services that frequently encounter people using family violence. No to Violence provides training to various industries and sectors – training that develops skills in identifying, interrupting, and responding to men’s use of domestic and family violence. We also support our members – more than 150 organisations and professionals – to deliver this training.

#ShiftTheBurden: 2022 Federal Election Statement

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Examples of training provided include: •

Introduction to working with men using family violence: For professionals to learn the ways in which men’s family violence is defined and understood, aimed at early career practitioners and new arrivals to men’s services sector.

The Five Essential Discussion Tools: Training for practitioners on strategies for de-escalation and safety and accountability planning.

Advanced Practice Series: For the human service workforce to provide pragmatically focused learning, helping reduce harm to women and children impacted by high-risk family violence.

Public Facing Employees: This a training program for any public servant to learn about active bystanders and refer concerns to the relevant authorities.

The demand for training is increasing. In 2019-20, our team delivered training to 546 participants. In 2020-21 we delivered training to 1707 participants from 318 agencies across Australia. The recent ANROWS report3 (p37) identified the need for workforce development training in the mainstream drug, alcohol and mental health services to address practitioner reluctance to jeopardise the “therapeutic relationship” by screening for DFV. Stopping family violence is everyone’s responsibility. Training empowers employees to recognise and call out attitudes and behaviours that support family and domestic violence. It enables them to identify the warning signs, be confident in their response to these signs and ensure there are referral processes in place when working with victims and perpetrators of violence. No to Violence is asking for $50 million over four years to facilitate, conduct and evaluate workplace training.

Initiative 5: Funding to support the families and children of those enrolled in perpetrator intervention programs. Working with perpetrators also means supporting victim survivors and children during these programs to keep them safe. Ask: $7 million over four years

Men’s family violence interventions aim to keep perpetrators in view of the system and hold them accountable – all with the end goal of keeping women and children safe. When men enter a behaviour change program or other interventions, they receive on-going support through one-on-one counselling and referrals to ancillary services.

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#ShiftTheBurden: 2022 Federal Election Statement


At No to Violence, we know that adequate and consistent funding is needed so the people directly affected by men’s violence – overwhelmingly women and children – receive the support they need. Partner and Affected Family Member Safety work (AFM Safety work) is a fundamental foundation of our practice standards. It is intended to ensure the women and children affected by a man’s use of violence are safe and that safety and risk is always considered. Currently, AFM Safety work is conducted on an ad hoc basis by service providers when they are able. Unfortunately, too many victim-survivors are falling fall through the cracks. AFM Safety work can take many forms but in its most effective form it is a comparable support system to case management. In this system, a woman who is identified as an AFM of a man enrolled in an MBCP is assigned to a case manager. The case manager maintains regular contact with the AFM (fortnightly or weekly) for the duration of the program. This contact includes providing updates on the MBCP program and curricula, conducting on-going risk assessments to ensure the AFM is safe and probing to ascertain the extent to which the information being provided by the perpetrator to his case manager is true (i.e., whether his behaviour is really changing). No to Violence is asking for $7 million over four years to: I.

Establish a baseline of family safety contact practice across Australia in services working with men, including pre- and post-COVID-19 periods

II. Use this baseline as a measure to inform the national evaluation framework III. Identify and implement practice improvements using state-based risk assessment guidance and tools

1. https://ntv.org.au/get-help 2. https://ntv.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/BIS-brochure_July27.pdf 3. https://20ian81kynqg38bl3l3eh8bf-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/ANROWS-OofR-Perpetrator-Interventions.pdf 4. https://ministers.dss.gov.au/media-releases/7911

#ShiftTheBurden: 2022 Federal Election Statement

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#ShiftTheBurden: 2022 Federal Election Statement


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