Thursday, 27 August 2020
Domestic violence services expanded
The Family Violence & Children's Committee recently met with Eve Ball, who is the Team Leader, Legal Advocacy & Crisis Intervention at the Domestic Violence Crisis Service (DVCS). The meeting was very informative, particularly because this organisation continues to evolve to provide additional services, not only to victims of domestic violence.
DVCS now provides the Room4Change program, which is a voluntary program for men who want to stop using violence and controlling behaviours and wish to change their responses to their families. This program currently has about 25 participants and is taking new expressions of interest from potential new clients.
The Room4Change program also includes assistance for partners and children of participants. The program comprises an 8 week introductory group followed by a 20 week behavior change group. Those who complete the behaviour change group also have the option to then take part in a 17-week group for fathers called Caring Dads. Caring Dads helps fathers to recognise and prioritise their children’s needs and use healthy parenting strategies. Enquiries can be made to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is encouraging to know that this expanding service is available to assist our clients. It may not only provide a way through for men who use violence and controlling behaviors – participation in the program may ultimately assist the Courts in determining whether a bona fide attempt to engage in and complete significant behaviour change has been made. The program is currently being independently assessed.
Eve also provided information about DVCS’s memorandum of understanding with ACT policing, and ongoing advocacy for their clients. She spoke about the impact of ‘family violence fatigue’ on all service providers, and appropriate ways to address those events. She is happy to accept calls from solicitors who wish to discuss any concerns they might have, and to propose appropriate responses.
It was encouraging to discuss the realities of practice in the family violence jurisdiction with a representative of an organisation such as DVCS, which recognises and supports the additional responsibilities carried by the profession.
The Committee recommends members explore the DVCS website – it is particularly useful for practitioners with clients who have either been the victims of and/or perpetrators of family violence.