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Working with men who use violence towards women and children: a research collaboration DAN MOSS: UNITING COMMUNITIES DR SARAH WENDT & DR FIONA BUCHANAN:

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Presentation on theme: "Working with men who use violence towards women and children: a research collaboration DAN MOSS: UNITING COMMUNITIES DR SARAH WENDT & DR FIONA BUCHANAN:"— Presentation transcript:

1 Working with men who use violence towards women and children: a research collaboration DAN MOSS: UNITING COMMUNITIES DR SARAH WENDT & DR FIONA BUCHANAN: SCHOOL OF PSYCHOLOGY, SOCIAL WORK & SOCIAL POLICY, UNISA

2 Overview  Introduce the context of Uniting Communities work.  Raise the question and dilemmas of engaging men who use violence in a couple counselling context.  What does the literature/research say about engaging men?  Introduce the research project.

3 Uniting Communities  Have provided counselling since the 1970’s through what was ‘Marriage Guidance Counselling’  This coincided with the ‘Women’s Shelter Movement’ in Western Countries where gendered understandings of domestic and family violence became more acknowledged.  Our first counsellors noticed that much of the work that we were doing was around gendered violence,  Since 2001 UC has been funded to provide Specialised Family Violence Services, through the provision of individual and group work for men who perpetrate violence and women and children who are affected

4 Uniting Communities Since 2001  Through our client assessments and data evaluation we have seen that 70% of our clients who attend counselling cite domestic or family violence as a presenting issue.  Over 2,000 instances of clients attending sessions to discuss experiences of domestic and family violence.  Often domestic and family violence is not disclosed by clients who have come with their partner for ‘relationship’ or ‘communication’ advice. Many of our clients have never considered that they are experiencing or perpetrating domestic or family violence.

5 Engagement of Men in SFVS through Individual or Group Counselling -Safety of Women and Children Paramount -100% Responsibility for Use of Violence -Identity is not fixed, and people can change - All therapeutic interventions must be respectful

6 Couples Counselling and Popular Culture

7 Questions and dilemmas of engaging men who use violence in a couple counselling context.  How safe is couples counselling amidst pervasive violence, control or abuse?  Who makes the decision about couples counselling vs. family violence work? How is that negotiated?  How explicit should a counsellor be where violence or abuse is not being named?  How do counsellor's know when a male partner is ready to listen to the effects of their violence or abuse?  How do we tread that fine line between collusion and disengagement?

8 Literature Review Working with men Gender based CBT couples Multiple causes

9 Difficulty of engaging men in couple counselling?  Staff safety/fear  Men’s readiness and motivation  Coerced into believing perpetrators rationale for violence  Differing definitions of domestic violence.  Literature reviews show little research has explored the how practitioners experience trying to engage men in discussions of DV when they present as a couple for counselling.

10 Aims of the project  ¿examine the complexities of working with men who use violence in a counselling context;  ¿explore practitioner’s experiences in responding to men’s use of violence against women and their children in domestic violence contexts;  ¿explore practitioners frameworks that inform their decisions to name domestic violence in counselling contexts with men; and  ¿produce a framework that practitioners use in responding to men’s use of violence in domestic violence contexts.

11 Methodology  Qualitative methodological design, PAR (participatory action research)  Focus groups using open-ended questions and memory work activities to generate practitioner knowledge about the complexities of engaging and working with men who use violence in intimate relationships

12 Memory work ( Comes from Haug (1987, 2008) and developed from Crawford et al (1992 ).  1. Participants write a memory (1–2 pages) about a particular episode/event in the third person, using pseudonyms, about a good experience in engaging and working with a man who presented as a couple and who had used violence in his relationship.  Participants will be advised to write as specific as possible, including their memories about their feelings, thoughts, and views on why they perceived their memory as a good experience of practice

13  2. collective examination of the memories. This step is vital for it allows for the collective analyses - enabling practitioners to re- conceptualise their experiences in ways that are sensitive to their working lives.  In a critical step, the researchers will ask each participant to re-write their memory piece and bring it to the next focus group to show how their meanings may have changed or developed as a result of the collective analysis on their piece.  3. collective examination of the re-written memories happens again, with discussion focusing on how meanings have changed or developed as a result of re-conceptualising experiences.

14  The final focus group is devoted to the researchers sharing more of their insights about collective memories and the group will provide feedback on the researcher’s insights for the purpose of continuing to build a framework for practice. The final focus group will be used to clarify and finalise a framework for practice.  Much of the analysis in memory work occurring during the processes described and is done in collaboration between researchers and participants.

15 Concluding comments  Men often enter services voluntarily with their intimate partner seeking assistance with relationship counselling – how to talk about and name domestic violence when it is noticed in couple contexts requires exploration.  Little literature has explored this particular space, particularly experiences of practitioners who have worked in this field for long periods of time… or reported on the successes/frustrations or workers…  Memory work is a way to access this in-depth knowledge and experience, open up conversations, and to build towards sound frameworks for practice.

16 Expected benefits  The process of articulating this framework and exploring practice brings with it other expected outcomes such as: increasing awareness of how gender shapes and is implicated in domestic violence contexts; increasing practitioner confidence and competence in understanding signs of men’s use of violence; exploring disclosures, and responding effectively; and building a cohesive, safe, and open environment for practitioners to explore and share their practice in this highly demanding field. 

17 References  Akoensi, T. D., Koehler, J. A., Lösel, F., & Humphreys, D. K. (2013). Domestic Violence Perpetrator Programs in Europe, Part II A Systematic Review of the State of Evidence.  Alderson, S., Westmarland, N., & Kelly, L. (2013), The Need for Accountability to, and Support for, Children of Men on Domestic Violence Perpetrator Programmes, Child Abuse Review, 22, pp:  Babcock, JC Green, CE and Robie, C. (2004) Does batterers’ treatment work? A meta-analytic review of domestic violence treatment. Clinical Psychology Review –1053  Bennett, L. (2001). Controversies and recent studies of batterer intervention program effectiveness. VAWnet: National Resource Center on Domestic Violence.Controversies and Recent Studies of Batterer Intervention Program Effectiveness. Applied Research Forum: National Electronic Network on Violence Against Women 1-13  Berkowitz, AD (2004) Working with Men to Prevent Violence Against Women: An Overview (Part One). Applied Research Forum: National Electronic Network on Violence Against Women 1-7  Bolen RM (2000) Validity of Attachment Theory. Trauma Violence Abuse : 128. DOI: /  Crawford, J. Kippax, S. Onyx, J. Gault, U. & Benton, P. 1992, Emotion and Gender: Constructing meaning from memory, SAGE Publications, London.

18  Corvo K, Dutton D and Chen, W (2008) Towards Evidence based practice with domestic violence perpetrators. Journal of aggression, maltreatment & trauma  Dobash, R P, and Dobash, R E (2004). Women's violence to men in intimate relationships: Working on a puzzle. The British Journal of Criminology, 44,  Dutton DG (2007). The abusive personality: Violence and control in intimate relationships (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Gilford.  Ehrensaft, MK (2008). Intimate partner violence: Persistence of myths and implications for intervention. Children and Youth Services Review, 30(2),  Fenton, B and Rathus, JH (2010) Men’s Self-Reported Descriptions and Precipitants of Domestic Violence Perpetration as Reported in Intake Evaluations. Journal of Family Violence  Flood, M. (2006) Changing Men: Best practice in sexual violence education. Women Against Violence: 18,  Flood, M. (2006b). The debate over men's versus women's family violence. Family Violence Conference. Adelaide, AU: Australian Institute of Judicial Administration. Retreived from  Gondolf, EW (2011) The weak evidence for batterer program alternatives. Aggression and Violent Behavior: –353  Haug, F. 1987, Female Sexualization: A collective work of memory, Verso Classics, London.  Haug, F. 2008, Memory-work: a detailed rendering of the method for social science research, in Hyle, A. (ed), Dissecting the Mundane: international perspectives on memory-work, University Press of America, Lanham, pp:21-41.

19  Hunnicutt, G. (2009), Varieties of patriarchy and violence against women: Resurrecting “patriarchy” as a theoretical tool. Violence against Women, 15(5),  Johnson, MP. (2010). A typology of domestic violence: Intimate terrorism, violent resistance, and situational couple violence. Upne.  Leung, LC (2011). Gender sensitivity among social workers handling cases of domestic violence: A Hong Kong case. Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work, 26(3),  Loseke, D. R. (2005). Through a sociological lens: The complexities of family violence. In D. R. Loseke, R. J. Gelles, & M. M. Cavanaugh (Eds.). Current controversies on family violence (pp.35-48). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.  McCollum, EE and Stith, S. (2008). Couples treatment for interpersonal violence: A review of outcome research literature and current clinical practices. Violence and Victims, 23, 2,  McDonald, J. (2005). Neo-liberalism and pathologizing of public issues: The displacement of feminist service models in domestic violence support services. Australian Social Work, 58(3),

20  Murphy CM & Baxter VA (1997) Motivating batterers to change in the treatment context Journal of Interpersonal Violence,12,  Pence e & Paymar M (1993) Education groups for men who batter: The Duluth model. New York: Springer-Verlag  Phillips, R and Kelly, L.and Westmarland, N (2013) 'Domestic violence perpetrator programmes : an historical overview.', Discussion Paper. London Metropolitan University and Durham University, London and Durham.  Respect UK domestic violence standards 2012  Slith SM and McCollum EE (2011) Conjoint treatment of couples who have experienced intimate partner violence. Aggression and Violent Behavior 16, 312–318  Straus, M A (1979). Measuring intrafamily conflict and violence: The conflict tactics (CT) scales. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 41,  Straus, MA, Hamby, S., Boney-McCoy, S & Sugarman, DB. (1996). The revised conflict tactics scale. Journal of Family Issues, 17(3),  Westmarland, N, Kelly, L and Chalder-Mills, J (2010) 'Domestic violence perpetrator programmes : what counts as success ?', London Metropolitan University and Durham University, London and Durham.  Westmarland, N and Kelly, L (2012). Why Extending Measurements of ‘Success’ in Domestic Violence Perpetrator Programmes Matters for Social Work. British Journal of Social Work 1–19 


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