An innovative domestic and family violence (DFV) program in Dubbo is succeeding in changing the behaviours of men who have committed domestic abuse in intimate partner relationships.

The ‘Manin’ Up’ Men’s Behaviour Change Program saw its first group of participants graduate in January, with several men requesting ongoing support to improve their parenting skills and another referring a friend to the program.

Manin’ Up involves 50 hours of face-to-face group sessions and is accredited under the NSW Department of Justice.

It is facilitated by both genders, with Mission Australia program managers Rob Hayward and Joella Dwyer delivering the program.

Manin’ Up focusses on core areas including identifying abuse and belief systems associated with abuse, managing beliefs and emotions, offence mapping, victim impact and sexual respect. The program is voluntarily attended by men who have perpetrated domestic and family violence.

It also provides integrated wrap-around support to women and children affected by family violence.

“Manin’ Up has come about in response to our other DFV programs in western NSW, which are generally targeted towards women and children. Keeping them safe is paramount and a significant part of that is working with men to stop their offending behaviours,” said Luke Butcher, Area Manager – Western NSW and Special Projects.

"The goal of this program is to break the cycle of violence by equipping men with the skills to manage situations that in the past would have seen them resort to violence and abuse.”

Mission Australia is one of just seven accredited providers of the program in NSW.

Among the program’s participants, one of the key motivating factors for wanting to change was the desire to have a better relationship with their children.

“Many of the men would say, ‘I never really had a father so I don’t know what it’s like to be one’. There were also some disclosures about traumatic childhood experiences. By offering wrap-around support we’re able to support our clients to be better men and better fathers,” Rob said.

Throughout the program the participants reflected on the impact of their abusive behaviours on their partners and children.

“In our experience, many women would like to keep their family together but they want the violence to stop. The Men’s Behaviour Change Program is an avenue to support families by working with men to take responsibility for their abusive behaviours,” Joella said.

The program is also having a positive impact on the local community, with the Manin’ Up group joining the Dubbo Domestic Violence Collective, a restorative justice group that helps men give back to the community through jobs such as gardening, rubbish disposal and working bees.

The second Manin’ Up group commenced early last month.

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