The benefits of attending a men’s behaviour change course during your family law matterThe purpose of “Men’s Behaviour Change courses” is to initiate a change process in men’s behaviour and provide a forum for exploring and challenging beliefs. Within this, there is a focus on making men accountable for their violence toward family members.

Men’s behaviour change courses are aimed at men who are wanting to end their use of controlling and abusive behaviours and other problematic behaviour in their relationships.

Addressing problematic behaviour within a relationship

The types of behaviour that Men’s Behaviour Change courses are aimed at include:

  • physical abuse – hitting, punching, using weapons to frighten, threatening to do harm;
  • verbal abuse – harassing, threatening, saying things to frighten, calling insulting names;
  • sexual abuse – forcing someone to have sex when they don’t want to, or engage in behaviours they are not comfortable with;
  • social abuse -controlling who family members socialise and/or associate with;
  • financial abuse – controlling access to money;
  • emotional abuse – withdrawing support, ‘silent treatment’, expressing extreme jealousy;
  • stalking – spying on or following family members including through the use of social media; and
  • spiritual abuse – controlling the religious beliefs and/or cultural practices of family members.

Men’s behaviour change courses are intended to help men:

  • address their behaviour which hurts the people they love most;
  • develop and improve their sense of self; and
  • in the process become better partners and fathers.

The courses play an important role in promoting the safety of women and children.

Will this impact my family law matter if I do the course?

If there are concerns raised in respect of family violence (whether those concerns be raised by the other party, a family consultant, the Department of Communities or a judicial officer), it may be appropriate to proactively address those concerns.

Completing a Men’s Behaviour Change program can be seen as a proactive step and can impact your family law matter in a positive way.

The Court looks positively on parents who are seeking ways to improve themselves, ultimately for the benefit of their greater family unit.

Of course, completing a Men’s Behaviour Change program can be done on a ‘without admission as to needs’ basis; meaning, you do not concede that the allegations made or concerns raised are true.

The Court may often order parents to undertake a Men’s Behaviour Change program, to try and empower them with the tools and behaviours to remedy previous behaviours of concern.

Can I only do a Men’s Behaviour Change course with a Court order?

No.

Sometimes the Court will order parents and carers to do this course but often, parents or carers can attend this program voluntarily.

Do I need to be separated to complete a Men’s Behaviour Change course?

No.

Men’s behaviour change programs aim to be the starting point for creating respectful and violence-free relationships.

Whilst participation in Men’s Behaviour Change courses can be ordered by the Family Court following the breakdown of relationships, the programs can be completed regardless of whether you are separated.

How do I complete a Men’s Behaviour Change course?

There are a number of providers who offer Men’s Behaviour Change courses both centrally and rurally.

The F.A.I.R. program offered by Relationships Australia

Phone: 1300 364 277

Website: https://www.relationshipswa.org.au/Services/Family-Domestic-Violence/FAIR

The Men Choosing Respect program offered by Centrecare

Phone:  08 9325 6644

Website:  https://www.centrecare.com.au/workshops/metro/men-choosing-respect

The Changing Tracks program offered by Anglicare

Phone: 1300 11 44 46

Website:  https://www.anglicarewa.org.au/get-help/family-and-domestic-violence/changing-tracks

Generally, prior to being accepted or offered to complete a Men’s Behaviour Change course, you must attend an assessment for suitability.

At this assessment, the provider will determine whether it is appropriate or necessary that you complete a Men’s Behaviour Change program.

Get help

If you need advice or assistance from a lawyer experienced in family law issues or to arrange an initial consultation, feel free to get in touch directly with today’s blog writer, Meillon & Bright solicitor, Chelsea Bech.

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About the Author

Today’s article is written by family lawyer Chelsea Bech. You can learn more about Chelsea’s expertise and experience here or get in touch with him directly about your family law matters.

The information contained in this article is of general nature and should not be construed as legal advice.