The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women was adopted by the United Nations on 7 February 2000 as a campaign to raise awareness of violence against women, address the scale of the issue, and discuss ways to end this violence.
The prevalence of violence against women in Australia is unfortunately persistent, and the figures are alarming.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Personal Safety Survey (PSS) reports 1 in 6 women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by a current or previous cohabiting partner since the age of 15, 1 in 4 women have experienced emotional abuse by a current or previous cohabiting partner since the age of 15, 1 in 6 women have experienced economic abuse by current or previous cohabiting partner since the age of 15, and 1 in 5 women have experienced sexual violence since the age of 15.
Providing a service that works with men to enable them to recognise their violent behaviour and develop strategies to stop them from using violence, CatholicCare Sydney’s Choosing Change program falls under the umbrella of the NSW Government Men’s Behaviour Change network.
Choosing Change is a group program, delivered over 18 weeks, for men who have been abusive or violent in an intimate relationship and want to stop the abuse and better manage their emotions. It not only offers support and strategies in a safe environment but also safety checks, support, and referral for the women and children who have experienced family violence from men engaged with the program.
“The principal priority of Choosing Change is to ensure the safety of the victim survivors. The program aims to give men the opportunity to identify and break their cycle of violence, acquire new skills, and try and restore relationships, if possible,” said CatholicCare Sydney CEO Alastair McGibbon.
“The concept was met with sector resistance when the need to work with the perpetrators and not just the victims was first proposed, but now working with perpetrators is a highly accepted way to break the cycle of violence through rehabilitation.”
Men who have attended the Choosing Change program report that they have benefitted from hearing other men’s stories and similar struggles and successes, they feel supported by other group members to make positive changes, and they have learned strategies and developed self-awareness - giving them the choice to change.
Call 13 18 19 for information and appointments.