The Andrews Labor Government is intervening early to help fathers who have committed, or are at risk of committing family violence to understand the impact of family violence and develop positive parenting skills.
Caring Dads is an early intervention pilot program aimed at fathers experiencing drug or alcohol abuse and involves voluntary group sessions over 17 weeks where they learn parenting skills and the impact of family violence on their children, as well as the importance of a respectful relationship with their children’s mother.
The Government is investing $4.6 million over four years for the program, with an additional $1 million contributed by philanthropic partner Gandel Philanthropy.
Referrals to the program are made through alcohol and other drug services, mental health services, child protection, Child FIRST, maternal and child health services, police and other community service providers.
The pilot program will operate in three locations around the state. In Melbourne’s north-eastern suburbs, the program will be managed by the Children’s Protection Society in partnership with UnitingCare ReGen.
The Children’s Protection Society is also providing clinical oversight to Anglicare who are running the program in Inner Gippsland, while Anglicare and IPC Health are managing the program in Melbourne’s west.
The pilot will run until June 2019 and will be fully evaluated by the University of Melbourne.
Caring Dads was developed in Canada and is also currently delivered in Ireland, the United Kingdom, Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany and the United States.
The Government is implementing all 227 recommendations of the Royal Commission into Family Violence –including researching, trialling and evaluating intervention programs.
A record $1.9 billion package of measures to end family violence in Victoria was announced in the Victorian Budget 2017/18. This funding will be used to establish 17 support and safety hubs across the state, deliver after-hours crisis support, counselling and therapy for victims of family violence, and develop a 10-year industry plan.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos
“We know the importance of intervening early and this is about ensuring fathers understand the impact that family violence has on their family and the development of their children.”
“We are determined to end the vicious cycle of family violence – early intervention, family-focussed programs are a critical part of this.”
Quote attributable to Member for Ivanhoe Anthony Carbines
“This crucial program is expanding the scope of services to assist men who have exposed their children to violence – so that they realise the impact of their actions.”
Quote attributable to CEO Children’s Protection Society Aileen Ashford
“There are very few services that respond holistically to the multiple issues associated with family violence. This program aims to keep children and parents together whilst building safe and healthy environments.”