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Aboriginal Men’s Programs Tackling Family Violence: A Scoping Review

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Abstract

Academic and community research identifies that Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are at a greater risk of being exposed to family violence than non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. While much of the literature has had a clear focus on the protection of Aboriginal women and children, there is a dearth of research that has examined the nature and efficacy of Aboriginal programs that seek to address men’s use of violence. In recent times, governments, policy makers, and community organisations have all sought to gain a greater understanding of how men’s group programs, that are specifically aimed at tackling family violence, are addressing these issues. Utilising a scoping review methodology, this paper examined and summarised the available Australian and international literature available pertaining to these programs. Furthermore, from the findings of the scoping review the authors present a conceptual model for the purpose of discussing the complexities of tackling family violence issues in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men’s group programs.
... What is available is a scoping review by Gallant et al. (2017) that examines existing Australian and international Indigenous men's programs addressing family violence, which are developed and run by community controlled organisations. The authors identified that holistic approaches to programs in an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander context must be multidimensional in their approach and involve work with men, women and children (Brown & Languedoc, 2004;Gallant et al., 2017). ...
... What is available is a scoping review by Gallant et al. (2017) that examines existing Australian and international Indigenous men's programs addressing family violence, which are developed and run by community controlled organisations. The authors identified that holistic approaches to programs in an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander context must be multidimensional in their approach and involve work with men, women and children (Brown & Languedoc, 2004;Gallant et al., 2017). To demonstrate this holistic approach to addressing the complexities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait the program by social services and family courts. ...
Technical Report
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Partner contact involves working with the current or ex-partners of a program participant to provide them with support, information and safety planning. This evidence suggests that every woman with a current or former partner involved with such a program should be offered this kind of support from the program or a partner organisation. This research report provides a deeper understanding of how men’s behaviour change programs (MBCPs) support women and children through contact with them throughout the process. The research shows that when MBCPs do not support victims/survivors of domestic violence and involve them in the process of change through partner contact, perpetrators may use their participation in the program as an opportunity to further their abuse. Similarly, if a man stops attending his behaviour change program, the risk to his partner or ex-partners is likely to increase. It is important that victims/survivors have contact with support services that is not dependent on the behaviour of their abusers. In many cases, partner contact is also the first interaction that women and their children have had with formal services. As such, it is a crucial first pathway to support. However, the findings show that across the various kinds of Australian perpetrator interventions, there is no consistent approach to involving partners in this process. The study also found that in practice partner contact is often not prioritised, as it is labour-intensive and resources are limited. Implications for policy and practice can be found in the Key Findings and Future Directions paper accompanying this report. A Practice Guide has also been developed to help frontline workers apply the new evidence and prioritise victim/survivor safety when working with perpetrators of domestic and family violence.
... The family violence discourse in Australian Aboriginal communities is often polarised and framed as gendered versus healing interventions; our argument is that both are required for men and for women. As we have discussed previously in (Gallant et al., 2017), the literature clearly establishes that Aboriginal men's violence against women needs to be located in the context of ongoing colonisation and intergenerational trauma, while privileging and centrally placing women's experiences at the forefront of the approach (Cunneen, 2002;Gregory, 2008;Zellerer, 2003). ...
... Within the available literature on individual programmes, there is consistency in the perceived programme elements required to appropriately engage Aboriginal men to address their use of violence. These elements include community ownership of programmes, a focus on men's healing, the need for holistic approaches, and fulfilling the cultural needs of participants to facilitate healing (Gallant et al., 2017). In some programmes, there is also acknowledgement of the value of addressing men's and women's business separately and confidentially. ...
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Family violence significantly impacts upon Aboriginal women and children globally. Despite this fact, there is a scarcity of published knowledge regarding the nature and efficacy of Aboriginal programs for men who use violence against women. This article reports the findings from interviews with 15 facilitators of Australian Aboriginal men’s healing, fathering and family violence programs. From these interviews, we have developed a conceptual model of working with Aboriginal men. It accommodates the collective, generational and individual trauma of both perpetrator and victim whilst privileging gendered accountability for violence as a central tenet to the work.
... FV includes interpersonal violence, also commonly called domestic violence and abuse (World Health Organization, 2014a). Indigenous people in some countries prefer the term FV because it broadens the notion that violence can occur in the home and within the community (Gallant et al., 2017;Yates, 2020). FV has increasingly been recognized as a health issue (García-Moreno et al., 2015). ...
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... The health and social inequities experienced within and between these populations are diverse, but can include high rates of risky health practices all of which have been shown to be more important in the development of severe illness in this COVID-19 pandemic -including those relating to smoking; 95,96 unsafe sex; 97-99 alcohol and substance misuse; 95,100 and violence. [100][101][102] Poor mental health and wellbeing 103,104 and high rates of suicide ideation and suicide 105,106 have also been noted, and with the economic impact of COVID-19 are likely to get worse. Barriers associated with health service access, which impinge on help-seeking practices and health service use, are also common. ...
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