Partnership with the specialist women’s sector is a key commitment of SFV generally and also in the establishment of the MBCP network. Their involvement will help to ensure that there are current best practice standards of response and intervention across the sector for victims and perpetrators.
To gather the opinions and input of these important partners a Women’s Consultation Workshop was facilitated by The Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence (WCDFVS) and was well represented by 16 women’s specialist services and agencies.
Themes emerging from the consultation
- Information Sharing
- The need for MBCP and women’s specialist services to liaise more effectively and to find ways to share information around risk. For example, there were frustrations from most agencies present that the extent of cross communication between the sectors was very limited and rarely did they speak with MBCP workers directly.
- Women’s services collect valuable information around risk, yet there is no system in place for this information to be forwarded to MBCP. Also, women’s services are receiving referrals for women when they have no information available about the perpetrator.
- The concern that women are often forgotten during interventions with men and not provided information around safety was tabled. For example, women are often not informed or prepared for when perpetrators are released from prison.
- Lack of understanding around MBCPs
- Some of the service providers were unaware of the content in MBCPs. For example, if men are being held accountable for their behaviours, or the programs included any work on the impacts of FDV on children.
- A question around outcomes was asked and if there are differences in outcomes between mandated and voluntary groups.
- Forgotten groups
- The issue of Fly in Fly Out (FIFO) workers avoiding interventions due to employment. Everybody should be able to attend a MBCP, regardless of employment.
- The lack of programs for Aboriginal men or CALD clients. There are limited services available for this clientele which ultimately does not hold the men accountable and they become “invisible”.
- Considering the bigger picture
- Another recurring theme of the workshop was the need for systems to cease contributing to the perpetrator’s “invisibility” in the system and to stop supporting the abuse in some contexts.
- The issue is much bigger and we are unable to only focus on MBCP and specialist women’s services for intervention. The agreement from most services in the forum was that we need to look at system practices and the social context with a focus on primary intervention as well.