Blog Archives

Archive for the ‘Family violence’ Category

Being careful how we see others

‘Me against my brother; my brother and I against my cousin; myself, my brother and my cousin against others’, so goes this old Arab Bedouin saying. It is however problematic and underpins sameness, rather than diversity. Now more than ever, we are seeing a hardening towards those who are different than ourselves, which in turn […]

Technology… An abuser’s best friend?

Nowadays, the same technology designed to make our lives easier and more efficient, is increasingly being used as a tool to monitor, manipulate, shame and control people easily, and at a distance. As you will know, domestic violence isn’t always about physical violence, and in fact, it is psychological abuse that is by far the […]

Men’s Safety Project – A FREE site for men and practitioners

81% of people think it is possible to change people’s behaviour around family violence* So do we… It’s not uncommon for men to struggle with patterns of abusive behaviour in their relationships, and for that pattern of behaviour to have a detrimental impact on everyone; partners, children and men themselves. While changing these often ingrained […]

Making behaviour change sticky

Here’s a question… What do you do after learning something new? Answer: I bet you go back to doing what it is that you usually do the whole time thinking, “that was nice”, “interesting”, “informative” etc. What you probably don’t do is implement the information fully, whether immediately, later, or in some cases… ever! The same applies […]

Small numbers of family violence offenders create big impact!

Over the summer I received a tweet from the Sentencing Council in Victoria which reported half of reported domestic violence harm was caused by 2% of offenders. The report, by the Cambridge Centre for Evidence-Based Policing, used a harm index based on time spent in prison to analyse the offences of 36,228 people charged in […]

Wanting to be SAFE within your relationships – a free website for men

  Many years ago when I wrote a self-help book for men titled ‘Feeling angry, playing fair’. It was written for men struggling with patterns of abusive practice in their relationships, a not uncommon pattern of behaviour that has detrimental impact of everyone; their partner, children and the man himself. Few men in my experience […]

HMA launches new website

We are excited. Today we launch our new website (www.hma.co.nz). Over the past three months we have been working with Wired Internet Group to rebuild our website so that it now operates across a number of platforms including desktop, tablet, and other mobile devices such as smart phones. We invite you to go and have […]

Our big successes

People often ask me, “What do you do?”. Putting this into a two minute pitch is often difficult. When asked I say our team is about enhancing community safety and wellbeing. Firstly we develop a range of evidence-based interventions in the family violence and general offender sector. Secondly, we up-skill practitioners to deliver ours and […]

Rules or values – what works best in developing group culture

Have you ever struggled developing group rules or ground rules for the programmes you are facilitating? Often we establish rules, write them on flipchart paper, and then ignore them for the rest of the programme. Or worse, the rules become the job of the facilitators to hold group members to account around. It can feel […]

A restorative justice approach to family violence: Changing tack

This volume provides an essential update on current thinking, practice and research into the use of restorative justice in the area of family violence. It contains contemporary empirical, theoretical and practical perspectives on the use of restorative justice for intimate partner and family violence, including sexual violence and elder abuse. Whilst raising issues relating to […]

A resolution approach to family violence

Consider the following scenario: A woman survivor of domestic violence approaches your service seeking assistance. Her son, aged eight, has just completed a children’s program to express/work through the violence experienced and to establish a personal safety plan. The child is both scared of his ‘Dad’ but also worries about him and waivers between wanting […]

Self talk that keeps us stuck

I am currently preparing to run a workshop on motivational interviewing for prison officers who are about to manage a unit for prisoners with mental health issues. In my research I came across a great book chapter by Ronald Murphy on MI (in source below). While the article was on developing motivation in those with […]

Best practice for family violence intervention

Sit around with a group of family violence practitioners (not those perpetrating violence) and ask them to describe what best practice looks like and you will get a range of responses. Best practice is often from our own experience and therefore is inherently biased. I learnt this early on in my career when I worked […]

Intimate terrorism even happens to the rich and famous

The jokes have been flying around recently about Nigella (‘Higella’) Lawson and her very public court case with her ex: Charles Saatchi. As most of you will know it involves solicitous reference to drug use – I think cocaine and smoking a few refers with her grown up children. I have always said that the […]

Protection Orders – Do they work?

Edward Livingstone came back to his ex-partner’s house in the quiet suburb of St Leonards in Dunedin. He had been separated for the past year. He had a shotgun. Katherine, his terrified partner, fled the house. She would not have thought he would harm the children. He shot his six and nine year old daughter […]

Have you signed the pledge

Today of course is White Ribbon Day, a day of remembrance of men’s violence towards women. It is also a day where we take stock of the appalling statistics, recognising that in New Zealand alone, on average 14 women per year die at the hands of their partners or ex-partners. It is easy for those […]

“Will they do it again” (new stock arrived)

We have had renewed interest in this book around risk assessment and management. We decided to do another small print run. Every day we are bombarded with the reality that people do bad things to each other as well as to themselves. Those of us who work in the human services are increasingly being asked […]

‘He just gets me’ – The layering of psychological abuse

“He makes me laugh. He makes me cry. He makes me feel beautiful. I love him like I have never loved anyone before. If he doesn’t get out do I just shrug my shoulders and say, ‘oh well’”. She later texted: “He’s the best kisser I’ve ever kissed” and he was “seriously the best – […]

No To Violence Conference Resources now available

The No To Violence Conference on Responses to Men’s Domestic and Family Violence: Experience, Innovations and Emerging Directions, was held in Melbourne during November 2012. This was one of the best conferences in the family violence sector I had attended in a very long time. In addition to a rich tapestry of practice ideas across a range […]

What kills more women aged …

What kills more women aged 15 – 44 each year than malaria, HIV, cancer, accidents and war combined? You guessed it – violence. I was therefore incensed when I read an article in The Press Christchurch today (6th March) which described the opposition by the Holy See (Pope), Iran and Russia to the notion that religion, culture […]

Major Justice Canada study puts big price tag on spousal violence

Over the Xmas I found this interesting piece of current research reported on by Dean Beeby from THE CANADIAN PRESS. He reported on a major federal investigation into the cost of spousal violence, estimated to be $7.4 billion for the thousands of incidents that occurred in just one year. The Justice Canada study examined a broad range […]

Motivational interviewing and child protection – the fit

Imagine someone knocks on your door and wants to talk with you about how you are treating your children. Part of you knows that lately you have not been managing well and that at times you just ‘lose it’, particularly when you are tired, stressed or out of it on alcohol or drugs. Now, this […]

Re-solution in men’s violence against women and children

I attended the No To Violence Conference in Melbourne last week which was a rich experience of sharing, hearing and grappling with the challenges of creating safety in the lives of families. Mike Cagney and myself had the opportunity to present a workshop on Re-Solution work which we see as the next serious step in […]

Supporting cutting edge child protection – Practice First NSW

Practice First, is a new model for child protection service delivery in New South Wales. Since March 2012, the Practice First model has been operating in Bathurst-Mudgee Community Service’s Centres and the results so far have been positive: • Fewer children removed from their families • Caseworkers are spending significantly more time undertaking home visits […]

What’s in a typology and what are the hooks

On Saturday I had the please of listening to Michael Johnson, Associate Professor Emeritus of Sociology, Women’s Studies, and African and African American Studies at Pennsylvania State University, who was presenting at the Women’s Refuge conference in Blenheim. Michael’s work has been in the area of differential populations of men who use abusive practices within […]

Perth DCS Evaluation Data – looks pretty good to us

  In an earlier blog I talked about the L&D work we had been delivering in Perth throughout September. This incorporated a range of workshops including: case formulation group work with personality disordered offenders family violence risk assessment family violence intervention skills group work skills for offenders intervention, and engaging offenders in change work. We […]

Family violence programmes goes open source

Two years ago HMA brought together representatives of key family violence provider groups from around New Zealand/Aotearoa to talk about what should be included in a contemporary intervention for men who were using abusive practices within their relationship and family/whanau. Despite the disruption of the Christchurch earthquake, we have continued to develop three different programmes […]

50 ways to say no to abusive behaviour within relationships

I have finally found time over the past few weeks to get this new book out the door. My last self-help book, Feeling Angry, Playing Fair is now out of print and I have noticed there is little out there in the way of written practical support for men struggling to overcome abusive practices that have  […]

Three phases to enhance completion of interventions

Completion rates for community based programmes for a range of issues are often low (between 30 – 35% for AoD and community based stopping violence programmes) while completion rates for prison based drug treatment programmes is higher at around 71%. One of the key challenges that exist for any correctional system is to ensure that […]

Accountability based practice – setting up a family conversation

In last week’s blog I talked about the concept of accountability based practice that I used as the basis of my address to the recent Violence Against Women conference in Brisbane. I suggested a number of core questions that accountabilty based conversations might seek an answer to. I want to shift direction slightly and explore […]

Accountability based practice – What does it look like?

Last week I had the honour of being asked to present at the Violence Against Women Conference: An Inconvenient Reality, in Brisbane. I told the audience that we can be enormously proud of the success we have had in bringing men’s violence against women out from behind closed doors during the past 30 years. Significant […]

What are we teaching our sons (and daughters) about being good men?

If I ask a group of men, “Where did you guys learn about how to act as an adult?”, they are likely to answer, “The family.”  They are absolutely correct. What the men don’t often appreciate is how grounded in these earlier experiences their beliefs about men, women, children are. Of course these gendered beliefs […]

Battered man syndrome cuts jail sentence

My eye caught an article by Victoria Robinson in the Sunday Star Times (17 June 2012) about Toa Tuau, 31, who was sentenced to five years and six months in prison for wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm in October 2010. His victim was his dad who, from reading the article, had physically abused him, his […]

Understanding programme drop-out from family violence programmes

All of us working in the area of family violence intervention are acutely aware of the issue of attrition from programmes. I know that I often worry about the safety of partners and children of men who drop out of intervention. If we can go by general criminal justice research we know that programme drop-out […]

Can men who use abusive practices really change?

Don has been struggling with abusive behaviour all of his life. He was adopted at birth into a family who treated him badly.In this family he saw and experienced it all. His biological parent went onto to have other children. These they kept. You can imagine the narrative about his life that Don has carried. Rejection […]

Living Well Art Competition

Late last year I was in Brisbane and visited with Dr Gary Foster, Manager of Spiritus Sexual Assault Services. Gary has long been a strong advocate for men who have experienced sexual abuse and assault. We advertised this great competition in an earlier newsletter to support Sexual Violence Awareness Month (SVAM) that best expressed the […]

Online Poster/Visual Media Competition

We received this information from Dr Gary Foster, Manager of Spiritus Sexual Assault Services in Brisbane. Gary has long been a strong advocate for men who have experienced sexual abuse and assault. This is a great competition to support Sexual Violence Awareness Month (SVAM). A prize of $500 will be awarded by the Competition Panel […]

New family violence intervention programmes designed

A goal for many years has been to design a robust and updated programme for family violence interventions that fit the requirements of the Domestic Violence Act (1995). An earlier newsletter (January 2011) reported the bringing together of a group of key thinkers from around the country prior to Christmas 2010 where ideas around content, […]

Family Violence Programme to Better Suit Tasmania’s Needs

HMA has had a strong relationship with Tasmanian Safe At Home project for a number of years. With responsibility for delivering stopping violence interventions coming back to Community Probation Service, HMA was asked to redesign the original programme to meet the challenges of delivering a programme in both urban and more remote areas of Tasmania, […]

Updated figures on Police Safety Orders

Significant changes to the Domestic Violence Act saw Police granted with the ability to issue on-the-spot Safety Orders (PSO) from 1 July 2010. These orders which require perpetrators of family violence to immediately leave their residence for a period of up to 5 days, can be issued regardless of ownership or tenancy of property and […]

Development of a General Stopping Violence Programme – DVA approval

HMA is taking the initiative to develop a National Domestic Violence Programme to meet the criteria for programme accreditation under the Domestic Violence Act 1995. I am aware over time programmes become stale, integrity drifts, methodologies change, and research points us in new directions. Maintaining practice currency and ensuring we are delivering the best quality […]

Family violence statistics show violence is up on last year

We always look with interest this time of the year to the release of the New Zealand Police crime statistics. This tells us many things and is in need of careful interpretation. Reporting of family violence is up by 11.8%. What this refers to is that during the 2009/2010 year police recorded 54,104 family violence […]

Family Violence increasing in the aftermath of the earthquake

How people cope with stress in the face of adversity is one of the questions that has vexed human service workers over time. In the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquake the rates of call-outs to the Police for family violence incidents rose by 53% (Christchurch Press, Sept 8, 2010: A3). If we accept that around […]

Probation Officers up skill in working with family violence

With increasing focus from the New Zealand Police on family violence, this filters through into assessment and sentence management of Community Probation Service. Earlier this year we were asked to design and deliver a pilot programme for probation officers. The focus is on working with cases where family violence is the presenting issue. Family violence […]

Issuing of Police Safety Orders

Last month we ran a story on the new Police Safety Orders that came into effect on 1 July. These provide the police with additional powers to intervene in family violence call-outs. By the end of the first two weeks, around 74 safety orders have been issued nationally, with eight of them issued in Canterbury […]

Another step forward in protecting victims of family violence – Police Safety Orders

From 1 July the New Zealand Police will have additional powers to intervene in family violence call-outs. They will be able to utilise what is known as a ‘Police Safety Order’. Legislation was passed in October 2009 which amends several acts including the Domestic Violence Act 1995. This new legislation gives Police the ability to […]

Lethality arising from family violence

Family tragedy: Homicide within Families in New Zealand 2002-2006 This report provides the first complete picture of homicide within families in New Zealand. It found that there were 141 homicides perpetrated by a member of the victim’s family, intimate partner or ex-partner in New Zealand between 2002 and 2006 and that:

Strength Based Batterer Intervention: A New Paradigm in Ending Family Violence

The field of family violence has always had people who hold strong positions in relation to the lens (frame) that they bring to understanding the issue. As a consequence this also frames intervention. Despite these differences all of us working in the area have the same fundamental purpose in mind: to protect people by stopping […]

Shifting practice – thoughts on stopping violence work

Mike Cagney has a long history of working in the area of child protection, family violence and sex offender intervention. Last year Mike addressed the National Network of Stopping Violence services/Te Kupenga whatoti (the net etc) at their AGM and pondered where the field was currently situated within New Zealand and what direction would best […]

Family violence has a level of complexity other violence doesn’t

Compared with many other violent crimes, the legal and social dimensions of domestic violence present several complications for effective legal control and intervention. Domestic violence differs significantly from other forms of violence in several important ways. First, there are strong emotional ties between victims and perpetrators. The parties often love one another, or at least […]

What do we know about men who abuse?

On the 22nd July 2009 Clayton Weatherston was found guilty of murder Sophie Elliott, his ex-partner. He stabbed her 216 times. What makes a man do the ultimate harm to a woman – murder? What intent sits with a man who smuggles a large knife hidden in a computer bag to an ex-partner’s home? What […]

Smacking didn’t hurt me. Or did it?

How many times over the past year have we heard people state that they were smacked as a child and it didn’t hurt them? Over the years I have sat with men in numerous stopping violence programmes and heard this statement spoken. The irony is not lost that we are sitting in a group of […]