YFS helps men take responsibility for domestic and family violence

A specialist YFS team is helping more men than ever before to realise their violent behaviour is harmful, and must be stopped.

Each week, the team of seven behaviour change facilitators at Logan works with about 75 men—from the homeless to men of wealth—helping them relearn their beliefs about power and control, and change their attitudes and behaviours to reduce their chances of reoffending.

It’s part of an integrated effort that sees YFS working with the courts, Queensland Police, probation officers and child safety officials.

Dr Brian Sullivan PhD is the practice manager of the YFS team. He and his colleagues facilitate five groups a week for 16 weeks through a program called Responsible Men.

“We’d like our program to be longer because evidence shows longer programs are more effective,” Brian said.

“Unfortunately we are only funded for 16 weeks at the moment.”

Brian, whose PhD from the USA was on the effectiveness of court-mandated programs for domestic violence offenders, joined the organisation in late 2016.

Since the start of that year, he and his team have worked with about 360 men. Almost 200 have completed the workshops.

The team’s work has encouraged Queensland Police to enlist Brian as a speaker at the Domestic, Family Violence and Vulnerable Persons Conference in Brisbane on 23 May.

“All the men we work with were once boys with violent fathers or step-fathers,” he said.

“Respectful male role models when they were growing up were not part of these men’s experience generally.

“Back then, they learned to use violence as a power and control tactic, they witnessed their fathers or step-fathers oppressing and controlling their mothers to keep their partners oppressed and under the thumb.

“We reach out to these men so they realise that rather than being a problem solver, violence hurts and hurts for the long term.

“The hurting ones are their partners, kids and themselves.”

YFS also reaches out to the men’s partners, offering them a confidential service that focuses on their needs and safety.

“It’s imperative to hold offenders accountable and to keep the vulnerable safe, away from violent relationships.”

According to Brian, many men are provoking the type of acts they most fear themselves.

“We try to break through their self-focus so they begin to see how their violence impacts on others,” he added.

YFS attends Beenleigh Court weekly to provide information to men attending for domestic violence matters.

Who is YFS?

YFS is a not for profit community organisation delivering a range of services to the people of Logan and surrounds. We cater to people who are disadvantaged, vulnerable or want to improve their circumstance. Started in 1983 to provide support to at risk young people and families, YFS has evolved into a very diverse organisation with a multitude of services delivered in Logan and surrounding areas, including Redlands and the Gold Coast.

For more information contact

Phone: 3826 1500

Judith Hunter
Email: judithh@yfs.org.au

Nathan Francis
Email: nathan@yfs.org.au