Grampians Community Health receives funding for behavioural change programs

GRAMPIANS Community Health’s men’s behavioural change programs are secure for at least another two years.

The state government this week announced the organisation would receive about $200,000 over two years to continue the programs.

The agency is one of 32 across Victoria to share in $12.4 million for family violence programs and referral services.

​These encourage men to acknowledge the effects of their violence and change their behaviour through group-based intervention.

The money comes in the same week as an event focusing on violence against women and children in the region.

The Wimmera Leading Change Breakfast in Horsham on Tuesday highlighted how communities can rethink attitudes towards women and equality to help prevent violence.

Grampians Community Health chief executive Greg Little said the group had run men’s behaviour change programs since 2006.

He said the programs supported hundreds of men to address their behaviour towards partners, children and family members.

Mr Little said the $195,660 announced this week would allow the agency to continue to run programs in Horsham and Stawell until at least June 2019.

“Over the past year, Grampians Community Health assessed about 130 men who completed the program,” he said. 

“This number has grown over time with a greater awareness by the courts of our program.” 

Mr Little said the program’s strength was in teaching men to understand and accept they were accountable for the long-term effects and repercussions of their behaviour on their families.

He said it also helped men understand their behaviour was related to power and control. ​The state government funding was a recommendation from the Royal Commission into Family Violence released last year.

The commission findings called for more programs to meet the demands of the community and court orders.

Mr Little said Grampians Community Health was well established in delivering specialist family violence services in the region.

The agency has a dedicated homelessness and family violence team.

“Workers offer court support, safety planning and case management to ensure women and their children are supported,” Mr Little said. 

“We have a specialist family violence counsellor who is available for women.”

The state government funding will also support the No to Violence and Men’s Referral Services to provide information and guidance on men’s family violence to perpetrators, frontline staff and the community.