New Program for Women, Trans and Gender Diverse People who use Violence

drummond street services, Merri Health and On The Line have announced a newly funded family violence service targeting women (including lesbian, gay, bisexual and heterosexual women) and trans and gender diverse people who use violence towards their partners and family members. The service will engage people who use violence to assess complex issues in their lives and identify ways for them to recognise, take responsibility for and change their behaviour.

Karen Field CEO of Drummond Street Services said, “An important way to reduce violence is to understand how it evolves.  Most current services for people who use violence originate from models targeted at heterosexual men to address gendered violence against their heterosexual women partners. Existing research regarding family violence by women or trans and gender diverse people however points to other, or additional complex issues which sit outside gendered frames.”

The service is funded until July 2019 in response to Recommendation 87 of the Royal Commission into Family Violence advising interventions for perpetrators beyond current men’s behaviour change programs.

A key feature of the service will be that victim survivors are engaged and supported when it is appropriate and safe to do so. Separate Therapeutic family violence specialists will work with the victim and the person using violence via face to face and digital platforms. A lead Family Violence practitioner will oversee the work of these two Therapeutic family violence specialists to provide a clearer picture of risk and changes in circumstances which may increase danger for the victim. This work can occur at separate locations to ensure victim safety.

“Our experience working with women and gender diverse people who use violence, has shown many have histories of trauma such as childhood sexual abuse, ongoing experiences of victimisation, mental ill health, alcohol and drug misuse and discrimination. We will evaluate and review our service against current available research to gain further insight into violence by women and trans and gender diverse people”, said Karen Field. “Our three agencies are very pleased to have this opportunity to fill a significant gap and increase shared knowledge about family violence beyond dominant gendered contexts”.