Whittlesea CALD Communities Family Violence Research Report 2012 - Page 58

57 Evaluations of men’s behaviour change programs conducted to date have produced mixed results as 59 to their effectiveness . There have also been fundamental disagreements amongst those seeking to evaluate such programs as to how ‘effectiveness’ should be measured. For example, should the sole indicator of success be a reduction in rates of family violence reoffending as measured by quantitative data or should other more qualitative measures be relied on, including improvements in quality of life or feelings of increased safety on the part of victims? (Salter, M., 2012, Howard & Wright, 2008, Day et. al, 2009, Gondolf, E., 2009) Commentators argue that any program offered to family violence offenders should be able to demonstrate a reduction either in the frequency or intensity of violent behaviour and/or an improvement in women’s and children’s safety (Day et. al, 2009, p.204). On this measure researchers contend that many men’s behaviour change programs are not effective (Feder et al, 2008, Gondolf, E., 1999). However, others point out that the partner contact component of men’s behaviour change programs can have benefits for victims, including gaining access to support and services, increasing feelings of safety, giving women space to consider the future of the relationship and providing strength and validation (Howard & Wright, 2008, p.31). Despite these controversies, Men’s Behaviour Change programs continue to form a part of violence intervention strategies in Victoria with approximately 37 Men’s Behaviour Change groups currently running in metropolitan Melbourne.60 Very little research regarding the success of men’s behaviour change programs in engaging men from CALD communities has been conducted either in Australia or internationally (Laing, Dr. L, 2002, InTouch Inc, 2010, McIvor & Markwick, 2009). In two separate studies from the United States, race was found to be a strong predictor of whether or not men dropped out of the program, with men who were classified as belonging to an ‘ethnic minority’ less likely to complete the program when compared to Caucasian men61. In one study ‘race was the strongest predictor of treatment dropout and number of treatment sessions completed by individual members…’(Taft et al, 2001, p.395-396 in Laing, Dr. L, p.20) Of the men’s behaviour change programs currently running in metropolitan Melbourne none are language or culturally specific. Whether the needs of CALD male perpetrators are being accommodated within existing groups is unknown but anecdotal evidence from consultations conducted with service providers as part of the scoping exercise suggested that CALD perpetrators often fail to have their needs met by English speaking men’s behaviour change groups. Service providers gave examples of strategies they had employed to accommodate CALD perpetrators within existing groups, including using interpreters or providing one on one sessions, but there were real limitations highlighted in both of these strategies. There was also evidence that because of the difficulties in accommodating CALD perpetrators, service providers may simply screen these men out of their intake process. A pilot program for establishing and delivering perpetrator programs to Vietnamese speaking men in Melbourne’s North Western Region concluded in 2011 after delivering three groups.62 59 A systematic review of ten experimental and quasi-experimental studies from the US concluded that court mandated treatment does not reduce the likelihood of reassault, Feder et al, 2009. An evaluation of men’s behaviour change programs that are part of the Gold Coast Domestic Violence Integrated Response gave the researches some “cautious optimism” about the ability of group interventions to change perpetrator’s behaviour. Reported in Day, et al, 2010. 60 Figure provided by Victorian umbrella group ‘No To Violence’ 61 Babcock, J. & Steiner, R. (1999) ‘The Relationship between Treatment, Incarceration and Recidivism of Battering: A Program Evaluation of Seattle’s Co-ordinated Community Response to Domestic Violence, Journal of Family Psychology, v.13, no.1, p.36-59; Taft, C, Murphy, C, Elliott, J, & Keaser, M (2001) ‘Race and Demographic Factors in Treatment Attendance for Domestically Abusive Men’, Journal of Family Violence, v.16, no.4, 385-400 both quoted in Laing, Dr L, 2002. 62 InTouch Inc, ‘Vietnamese Men’s family Violence Program – Evaluation Report’