Change to prevent family violence

CHANGING BEHAVIOUR: Baptist Care SA Limestone Coast area manager John Merrett, Family Relationship Centre manager Lindy-Lou Badger and The South East Junction coordinator Nel Jans band together to prevent family and domestic violence.

ENCOURAGING positive relationships and preventing negative behaviour will be the main focus for three Mount Gambier agencies as they band together to deliver a new group program for men.

Changing Tracks will aim to prevent domestic violence within the region following a spike in families requesting counselling sessions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Joining together, Baptist Care and The South East Junction will bring the weekly program to the region while encouraging men to learn skills to communicate in a healthy and effective manner, reduce stress and avoid unhealthy coping mechanisms. Family Relationships Centre manager Lindy-Lou Badger said the program was about encouraging men to make better choices and communicate in a positive manner.

“Family and domestic violence and abusive or unbalanced relationships are a cycle – Changing Tracks interrupts that cycle and helps prevent it from perpetuating,” Ms Badger said.

“We are working on implementing a version of the course tailored to Mount Gambier secondary school students, contributing to their South Australian Certificate of Education, as well as the Shark Cage program to empower young women to build positive relationships and self-respect.”

The South East Junction coordinator Nel Jans said throughout the pandemic there was an increase in difficulties within family homes surrounding stress from being at home more, working from home or pressures related to employment or business.

She said these scenarios could lead to family and domestic violence situations.

“To prevent this, one of the law firms in Mount Gambier asked The Junction if we could develop a program for men,” Ms Jans said.

“From this request a partnership was formed and we started working to get a course running and by offering an early intervention and prevention program, we can break the cycle, which will have a ripple effect in our communities.”

Baptist Care SA Limestone Coast area manager John Merrett echoed the importance of the course stating facilitators hoped to motivate change in men’s lives and promote compassionate relationships free from abuse.

Participants can share stories with others in similar situations and access support in a respectful, safe and confidential environment with individual counselling also available to work through issues and address the source of unhealthy behaviour.

For more information about participating in the group program, one-on-one sessions or for details of school-based services, call the Family Relationship Centre on 1800 880 913.