Men's behavioural change program extended to Hepburn

SAY NO: CAFS family violence program manager Toni Gillett at the announcement of funding at Daylesford on Thursday. Picture: Kate Healy.
SAY NO: CAFS family violence program manager Toni Gillett at the announcement of funding at Daylesford on Thursday. Picture: Kate Healy.

A program to combat family violence is expanding to the Central Highlands. 

Child and Family Services Ballarat (CAFS) will deliver a men’s behavioural change program in Hepburn and Daylesford with the help of recent state government funding. 

The program aims to combat the abuse of women and children by making men who have committed family violence accountable for their actions. 

A Men’s Behaviour Change program worker from CAFS will be based in Hepburn one day a week, delivering programs encouraging men to acknowledge the impact of their violence, and change their behaviour through group-based intervention.

Macedon MP Mary-Anne Thomas said the program was about breaking the cycle of family violence. 

“We are reminded weekly of the devastating impact that men who commit family violence have on their own families, as well as the wider community – this is about stamping out this behaviour,” Ms Thomas said. 

“We cannot break the cycle of family violence until men are held accountable for their actions and helped to address their behaviours.”

The announcement of $387,000 funding for CAFS will also support Men’s Referral Services in the area, to provide information and guidance on men’s family violence to perpetrators, front-line staff and the community.

The funding follows a Royal Commission into Family Violence recommendation that more men’s behavioural change programs be made available.

CAFS program manager family violence Toni Gillett said there was a demand on services in rural regions. 

“This additional funding means that CAFS is able to address the additional demand on services and in rural regions that are significantly affected by Family Violence.”

State-wide funding of $1.9 billion in the 2017/18 state budget will deliver a package of measures, including establishing 17 support and safety hubs across the state, delivering after-hours crisis support, counselling and therapy for victims of family violence.