A locally-developed domestic violence program that aims to keep women and children safe by working with men who have used violence, has been launched in Port Macquarie today (June 14).
Speaking at the launch of the 'Fixed Address' program, Liberty Domestic and Family Violence Specialist Services CEO Kelly Lamb said it was time for a new whole-of-family and community response to domestic violence.
"If we want to stop domestic violence against women and children, we need to work with the men who perpetrate it," Ms Lamb said.
"Through 'Fixed Address', men who have used violence will access transitional housing and case management and support from a men's behaviour change specialist.
"They will be linked in with support services to address their needs so that they can be better positioned to change their beliefs, attitudes and behaviours of violence.
"By providing a 'fixed address' for men with associated support as an alternative to homelessness, we can keep men in view, better assess risk and keep women and children safer."
Men seeking to change their violent behaviour can access the program by referring themselves or be referred by external agencies and service providers, court processes or their families.
Advocacy and Prevention Manager Ulla Inki-Gilabert said the idea for the program came from local survivors of domestic violence.
"They said, there must be something out there for men, that supports men in behavioural change," Ms Inki-Gilabert said.
Men's Behaviour Specialist Cameron McKinley-Rodgers said the program was about "holding a mirror up" to the perpetrator.
"Through a respectful discussion you are trying to develop a sense of empathy in them about the impact their behaviour has on their families, children and communities," he said.
"The point of the program is not to shame, it is coming from a place of dignity and respect.
Mr McKinley-Rodgers said change is possible but it takes bravery.
"Change is uncomfortable," he said.
"It takes bravery and a fair amount of self-awareness and sometimes you are working with people who might not be aware, as they should be.
"You are looking to plant those seeds to get someone to reflect about how their behaviour affects people around them."