Mission Australia

Hunter and Western Region New South Wales

There's a lot to think about ... the training has assisted me in looking beyond release and beyond offending, rather than the extremely monotonous programs, treatment, transition scenario we tend to face daily.

Mission Australia staff member

The Background

Mission Australia is a non-denominational Christian community service organisation that has been helping people to regain their independence for over 155 years and has a long history of working with government at all levels. During the year 2014 to 2015, it has supported approximately 307,320 of Australians on their journey to independence. This was achieved through 2,981 dedicated staff members and 3,450 volunteers. Mission Australia also provides 589 programs and services across the country to 41 government departments. Among these programs and services, Mission Australia has assisted 116,466 families & children through 172 services, 16,485 youth through 72 services, 47,483 homeless through 128 services and 126,886 employment & skills through 217 services.


The Challenge

Family violence is no stranger to Western and Hunter region of New South Wales. The table below shows the prevalence of family violence and the rankings through New South Wales districts reported in September 2015. Mission Australia services this area and has been providing access women’s safe house accommodation across these areas.


The Solution

Mission Australia approached HMA to support their development into providing intervention support for men in these areas. The project kicked off with a consultation road trip to Walgett, Brewarrina, and Lightning Ridge to meet with local stakeholders to talk about the program and what it was seeking to achieve.

HMA then developed a 16 session program for mission Australia staff to be able to deliver within these regions. In addition an extensive online training program was developed as a first step in upskilling facilitation staff in working with men who use violence within their families. A four-day intensive family violence training was also undertaken with 28 MA staff from the region. While not everyone will be running the program it was deemed important to nest the program (orientation, flavour and approach) within the wider group of practitioners who will have contact with various family members of the men attending.

HMA has also supported the required documentation for approval with the Attorney General’s Office, New South Wales Government as a program provider. Once approved HMA will provide intensive support and supervision of the program during its implementation phase.


The Return on Expectation

Providing services in remote regions and building capacity for long-term involvement is an ongoing challenge for many service providers.  The outcome from this project is anticipated to be an integrated case work model whereby partner support workers who are currently running safe houses will not just be picking up the pieces. By delivering intervention for the men who are engaging in family violence and working with them around behaviour change, family patterns of abusive practice can be interrupted.

A second outcome by nesting the program within an agency framework is building additional knowledge and competencies to address family violence as a significant issue. Other work within the agency can support behaviour change by addressing additional issues such as homeless, addiction issues, and parenting practices.

Take a look at what else people had to say:

I use the desistance model in my current practice. this workshop reaffirmed many ideas I had developed elsewhere.

Participant

The whole course is interesting and thought provoking, the strategies covered could be used in the community, with family and friends, colleagues too.

Participant