Department of Family and Community Services

NSW’S FIRST MEN’S TELEPHONE COUNSELLING AND REFERRAL SERVICE TO REDUCE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

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17 Jul 2013

Minster for Women Pru Goward today announced that the NSW Government will commit $2 million over three years to fund NSW’s first telephone counselling and referral service for violent or potentially violent men to help reduce domestic violence.

“Supporting men who use violence, or perhaps might do so, to change their behaviour is an integral part of preventing domestic violence,” Ms Goward said.

“A toll free number will be available across our state 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The service will be staffed by trained counsellors who will support male callers to take responsibility for their abusive behaviour and end the violence against their family.

“Counsellors will also refer callers to men’s behaviour change programs or other service providers for longer-term support, such as a specialist counselling or legal advisory services.

“The counsellors will also be trained to support other family members who call the line concerned about the violent behaviour of a male partner or family member,” Ms Goward said.

The NSW Government has awarded delivery of the service to Men’s Referral Service Inc., managed by the non-government organisation, ‘No To Violence’, who have more than 20 years experience in managing men’s referral services interstate.

Danny Blay, Executive Officer of Men’s Referral Service said “we are excited at the opportunity of working with the NSW Government. For 20 years, the Men’s Referral Service has been the leader in providing family violence telephone counselling and referrals to men across Victoria.

“We believe that the knowledge we have gained over two decades of service delivery will make a major contribution to connecting New South Wales' men who use violence to services that can help them to change their abusive and controlling behaviour. By doing so we will help increase the safety of women and children across the state," Mr Blay said.

Tanya Whitehouse, Chairperson of Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service NSW said the investment was a positive step in addressing perpetrators’ behaviour.

“This is a much-needed initiative that will provide support across the State, regardless of whether you are in metropolitan, regional or rural NSW. Importantly, culturally appropriate counsellors will provide support to Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and culturally and linguistically diverse callers.

“It is essential that we provide services to perpetrators who acknowledge their behaviour so that we can bring about positive change,” Ms Whitehouse said.

Members of the public and experts in the sector are also invited to read and comment on the proposed draft Domestic and Family Violence reforms at www.haveyoursay.nsw.gov.au before public feedback closes on Tuesday 23 July at 5pm.