Domestic violence perpetrator intervention programs exists within the logic of accountability. Regardless of the perpetrator program length, admission format or intervention methods, the overall aim of perpetrator intervention is for men to take responsibility for their abusive behaviour and to stop using tactics of power and control. For Australians to take seriously the safety of women and their children, interventions with perpetrators of domestic violence need to be included in the overall suite of domestic violence interventions, as do strategies aimed at stopping boys and men from becoming perpetrators. It is time to support effective interventions while also finding new ways to respond to domestic violence. This is consistent with the key commitments of Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety.

This research gained insights from interviews with 20 women who had experienced domestic violence, 20 men who had perpetrated domestic violence, and 4 specialist men’s workers on what they perceived could help stop men’s violence. Interviewees were from rural and metropolitan South Australia.

Key messages

Voices informing this research provided key messages on the need to increase supports for men, including over the longer-term, via a multidimensional approach. This includes supporting existing interventions with violent men, targeting at-risk groups of men for early intervention based on socio-demographic and multiple morbidity indicators, engaging men in early intervention by injecting specialist men’s violence initiatives into other organisations and service sectors, and increasing prevention strategies with children, young people and others.

Prevention and early intervention, alongside intervention responses with perpetrators, is essential for breaking the intergenerational cycle of domestic violence. This is supported by a growing evidence base on the benefits of maximising opportunities for social change, which is critical for building a stronger future for Australia’s next generations that is free from violence.

Women and men who shared their experiences and insights informing the findings of this study consistently advised that men need more help. This message was pervasive, but the service sector cannot currently respond as there are insufficient specialist interventions. While the findings from this research are not exhaustive, and nor are the recommendations, they are a starting place to commence conversations on increasing efforts towards reducing men’s violence and increasing women’s and their children’s safety.

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