From July this year, men wanting to address their domestic violence behaviours will have access to specialist support thanks to a new service in the northern suburbs.
Funded by the State Government and delivered by Communicare, Breathing Space provides a residential service for men who have been violent in family relationships but want to change their ways.
Importantly, because the service is residential, the victims of domestic violence can remain in the family home rather than having to move to alternative accommodation or a women’s refuge.
The six-bedroom facility in Maylands will accommodate up to nine residents at a time. Men will have access to intensive therapeutic support including group work, individual counselling and case management.
The program supports men to build awareness around the attitudes and behaviours which lead to violence, and gives them the tools for healthy and respectful relationships.
The State Government has allocated $3.5 million for the new Breathing Space over the forward estimates period. An additional $600,000 has been spent on refurbishing an existing State Government property to house the service.
Communicare opened its first Breathing Space service in the southern metropolitan region in 2003. Also funded by the State Government, it was the first residential men’s domestic violence behaviour change program in the Southern Hemisphere.
Men from across the State are eligible to use the service.
This fulfils a McGowan Government election commitment for a second Breathing Space.
The Government’s Stopping Family and Domestic Violence Policy is focused on reducing the impact of domestic violence through a comprehensive package of initiatives that address victim safety, perpetrator accountability, a responsive justice system and prevention and early intervention.
The Government has committed more than $53 million of new funding to address family and domestic violence since 2017.
As stated by Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence Minister Simone McGurk:
“Breathing Space provides an opportunity for men to take responsibility for their use of violence and abuse.
“This program makes the perpetrators of domestic violence accountable for their behaviour and provides the support they need to change – this is good for men who want to change and the people in their lives.
“Wherever it is safe to do so we want women and their children to be able to stay in their home, in their community and close to their support networks.
“Behaviour change for perpetrators of domestic violence is a lifelong commitment. It requires an understanding and challenging of their unhealthy attitudes toward women, violence, power and control and a willingness to implement the life-changing tools from the program.”
As stated by Maylands MLA Lisa Baker:
“Domestic violence has a devastating effect on our communities and it is an issue which affects families across our State.
“I am pleased that families in my electorate and across the State will have better access to this important service.”