Men seeking assistance in regards to their past or current abusive behaviours are benefiting from the Men Engaging New Strategies (MENS) Program, run by Relationships Australia Tasmania (RA Tas). The Tasmanian Government has provided funding for the MENS Program since 2016. The program is the first funded family violence perpetrator program in the community sector, in Tasmania.
Heavily informed by the No to Violence Training, received from Victoria and the RANSW Taking Responsibility program, MENS is designed for men who are perpetrators of low-to-medium risk family violence and ready to take responsibility for their abusive behaviour.
MENS is designed for men who are perpetrators of low-to-medium risk family violence and ready to take responsibility for their abusive behaviour.
The program engages men in four pre-group one-on-one counselling sessions, 10 weeks of closed group sessions and four post group one-on-one counselling sessions, followed by a reunion. This enables perpetrators to work towards changing their behaviours and to receive support in gaining an understanding of ideas that may be restricting the possibility of change. One man described the program as being “a supportive environment” where he could talk about current issues and “receive thoughtful and informed suggestions and strategies to help support change“.
The program is delivered by one male and one female facilitator, who work together to provide men with new strategies and understandings that assist them to behave safely and respectfully. This behaviour is modelled by the co-facilitators to the men.
The safety of partners, women and children is central to this program, with practitioners ensuring women and children are safe from harm and abuse. Current or former partners of the participants are provided with information regarding the MENS Program, put in contact with family violence support services and are given the opportunity to provide feedback about their ex-partner or partner’s progress. The Department of Justice also provides information about the perpetrator’s family violence convictions.
The MENS Program is about helping men do things differently. It is about making it possible to be closer to those they normally push away; about being a man who can be trusted, and not simply feared. – MENS Program Counsellor
I receive thoughtful and informed suggestions and strategies to help support change. – MENS Program Participant