MENS Program (Men Engaging New Strategies)
The MENS behaviour change program is aimed at perpetrators of mild to moderate family violence. It assists men to recognise the impact of their behaviour, to take responsibility for their behaviour, and to learn new ways of relating to their loved ones. The main aim of this program is to ensure women and children are safe from harm and abuse.
Importantly, it provides an opportunity for men to make ongoing changes in their everyday responses and actions.
Men are prompted to think about the kind of behaviour they want to change, that is, the behaviour that impacts the most on theirs and their family’s day-to-day lives (such as abusive, violent and controlling behaviours).
In a recent opportunity to gain feedback about the influence the program was having, participants were encouraged to reflect on their experience in the program and to consider how it had impacted their lives.
One of our participants acknowledged that the program has helped him see “that I was engaged in and responsible for the cycle of abuse; that I was more verbally abusive than I accepted, and that it is more damaging and unacceptable than what I believed. I was minimising my role and impact.“
When asked to reflect on what changes the program had personally prompted in him:
“Accepting being in a cycle of abuse, accepting my actions are solely up to me to control, and that no one else is responsible for my behaviour. I understand the repercussions of not changing positively.“
We asked this participant about what they’ve learned in the program that has made the biggest impact on their life. Their response was:
“Learning that my pattern of behaviour was damaging emotionally. That just as there are patterns common to all abuse, there are also patterns of being loving and helpful and responsible for family without engaging in any abusive actions.“
Accepting being in a cycle of abuse, accepting my actions are solely up to me to control, and that no one else is responsible for my behaviour.
Another participant reported that the program “has helped me realise that I’m responsible for my actions and that I need to work on my communication with my partner“. Additionally, “I wanted to learn how to control my emotions and responses to my loved ones in a positive way instead of negative.“
A third stated that the biggest impact on his life had been “to own my feelings and the responsibility for my behaviour and the effect it has on others.“
Relationships Australia Tasmania is funded to deliver this service through the Tasmanian Government’s Safe Home, Safe Families: Tasmania’s Family Violence Action Plan 2015-2020.