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Working with men who use violence towards family members: enhancing womens safety and mens accountability Making It Home – The real issues in homelessness.

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Presentation on theme: "Working with men who use violence towards family members: enhancing womens safety and mens accountability Making It Home – The real issues in homelessness."— Presentation transcript:

1 Working with men who use violence towards family members: enhancing womens safety and mens accountability Making It Home – The real issues in homelessness

2 The Case Jack 48 yrs Linda 40 yrs Bec 13 yrs old (Lindas child from a previous relationship) India (3 months) All living in a small rural community Casey 14 yrs and Lachlan 16 yrs (Jacks children residing with their mother)

3 Police Referral Jack is referred to the program when police seek an intervention order on behalf of Linda Recent incident where Jack threatened to punch Linda causing fear Linda leaves the family home, taking Bec and India with her and flees to a friends house Jack throws a can at the car and yells threats to shoot her and all her friends.

4 The Gendered Nature of Violence 1 in 3 women have experienced physical violence between the ages of 15 – 44 years. 1 in 5 women have experienced sexual violence between the ages of 15 – 44 years. Intimate Partner violence is the leading cause of death, disability & illness in Victorian women aged 15 - 44 yrs. Women are three times more likely to be injured as a result of the abuse Five times more likely to require medical attention or hospitalisation Five times more likely to report fearing for their lives Vic Health Report 2004

5 Initial Intake and Assessment Initial intake call from Jack Appointment made for a comprehensive risk assessment Jack attends the Centre for a comprehensive assessment

6 System response Police concerned for Lindas safety and assess incident as threats to kill and reckless conduct Concerns for the children who were both present at the incident and witnessed Jacks use of violence Jacks attitude towards referral to support services is considered by police as resistant 12 month Intervention order granted for Jack to continue to reside at the family home but not commit family violence

7 Summary of Jacks comprehensive assessment ratings Rarely threatened to do something to hurt her Occasionally made her afraid by using gestures or looks and rarely in front of the children Frequently screamed and yelled at her Occasionally said things to scare her Occasionally smashed and threw things Occasionally put Linda down, called her names and criticised her and rarely in front of the children Rarely checked up on her Rarely tried to make her feel guilty about the children and her parenting

8 Partner Contact with Linda Things have been pretty good since the last bad incident, I feel safer. We have been going to counselling and this has helped me to give Jack some space to allow him to calm down. I still feel like I am walking on egg shells though

9 System Response Limited Intervention order allows Jack to remain in the family home and not commit family violence Contact by women and childrens services for comprehensive assessment and safety plan implemented with Linda Jack commences Mens Behaviour Change Group

10 Indicators of family violence have recently separated or divorced suffer anxiety, panic attacks, stress and/or depression have a stress-related illness have a drug abuse problem including dependency on tranquillisers and alcohol have chronic headaches, asthma and/or vague aches and pains have abdominal pain and/or chronic diarrhoea have sleeping and/or eating disorders have attempted suicide and/or have a psychiatric illness

11 Week five Jack misses Mens Behaviour Change Group Program staff try to contact Jack and fail Linda flees the home with the children and is accommodated in crisis accommodation DHS Child Protection contact program staff and report there has been another incident of violence in the home

12 Partner Contact with Linda Im in safe accommodation and I cant tell you where I am. DHS told me that they will take the children away if I go back home. I dont want to charge him for the threats and Im worried that will make things worse. I want Bec to go back to school and I want to go home and I need to leave the accommodation Tuesday. I dont want him to get in any more trouble, but if you can report the breach to the police and help me to return home, I would support that

13 Impact of violence Impacts for women are broad ranging from homelessness, physical injuries, disability, miscarriage, sexually transmitted diseases and homicide. Physical health headaches, irritable bowel syndrome and self-harming behaviour such as substance abuse or unprotected sex. Mental health depression, fear, anxiety, and low self esteem, social isolation, financial debt, loss of freedom, degradation and loss of dignity and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Mothers who are traumatised may be unable to provide for their own or their childrens needs. Children Early childhood development, dependence and attachment, behavioural and learning problems, poor physical health, hypervigilance, hyperactivity. Community Absenteeism, expenditure on counselling, medical treatment, police services, child protection and social services.

14 Program Response Staff referred Linda for assessment to women and childrens services and safety planning and Safe at Home options Staff reported breach of Intervention Order to Police Staff accommodated Jack in transitional housing with ongoing case management support

15 System response New Interim Intervention Order granted excluding Jack from the family home DHS Child Protection investigate the case and close the case based on both parties engaging with services, against the advise of program staff due to the ongoing risk of violence and threats used Jack continues in the Mens Behaviour Change group

16 Week 20 Jack breaches the order Jack attends the family home and assaults Linda Jack comes into the office to talk about the incident with program staff Program staff notify police and DHS – Child Protection of the assault Staff contact Linda to assess her risk and safety and notify DHS of ongoing violence and risk Program staff assist Linda to remove her belongings from the home and store them securely Program staff support Linda to pursue a full Intervention Order against Jack

17 Lindas Evaluation I realise now hes never going to change. I had false hopes and I tried to be a good wife, I supported him no matter what. Now Ive had to move my children and leave my home. Ive had to leave everything behind that I have collected over twelve years. The children have lost their dad.

18 System response DHS – Child Protection identify Linda as at immediate risk and assess refuge as her only option for safety Jack completes 24 weeks of group and returns to live at the family home Staff report breaches to police and advocate for Lindas safety with DHS and other parts of the service system throughout Jacks contact

19 We are safe now and I thank you for getting my things from the house. Its sad not having our pets. I need a letter to give the housing service as they dont believe me when I say cant go home. Im sorry if I sound ungrateful for your support, but Im just so disappointed with the situation.

20 The Presenters Robyn Trainor Regional Integration Coordinator Centre for Non Violence Phone: 54 344112 Alan Thomson Programs for men who use violence against family members Centre for Non Violence Phone: 1800 884292

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