NFP Trail Targets Teen Domestic Violence
Tuesday, 5th March 2013 at 9:53 am
Two welfare Not for Profits are to trial a successful US program aimed at reducing teen domestic violence with funding support from The Ian Potter Foundation and the Victorian Government.
Child and Family Services (CAFS) and Berry Street are about to embark on a three year pilot project to address Adolescent Violence in the Home in regional Ballarat by trialling the US developed Step – Up Program.
The Not for Profits says the pilot aims to build a framework to guide future programs to address this increasingly prevalent and distressing form of violence occurring in Australian homes.
The Ian Potter Foundation has committed $697,000 over three years to CAFS Ballarat and Berry Street to help pilot the program that tackles the complex and difficult issue of violence in the home by adolescents against their parents, carers and siblings.
“It is exciting that we have received the generous support from the Foundation to deliver this project, they have been behind us since day one when we made our first submission to them,” Michael Brandenburg from CAFS Ballarat said.
“The Foundation realised two years ago that this was an important community issue to be addressed and have demonstrated their support two years later by providing funding.”
Last week Assistant Victorian Police Commissioner Stephen Fontana called for programs for adolescent offenders, fearing violent behaviour was escalating and then flowing onto the streets.
"It is scary," Fontana said. "Mothers being punched, parents being assaulted, threats, we are seeing the whole lot."
Police statistics revealed more than 4,000 call-outs in 2011/12 involved an adolescent as the perpetrator of family violence. Locally for the last 6 months of 2012 data recorded by CAFS shows that 65 adolescent males were referred to CAFS by the police as a result of their violence on family members.
“Having delivered successful results in the US, Step Up aims to rebuild relationships rather than options that often result in the separation of the parent and child. The program offers intensive individual and group work programs for adolescents aged 13-17 using violence and their families.
“The program aims to work with the adolescents and their families to stop the violence and abuse in the home, increase the safety for all family members and encourage families to engage in relevant support services. Our goal, where safe to do so, is to keep families together, to build healthy respectful relationships,” Michael Brandenburg said.
The Victorian State Government in September last year committed to providing financial support to pilot and adolescent violence in the home project.
Last week saw the first conference held in Melbourne addressing this issue. The founder of the US program, Lilly Anderson, who has been delivering Step Up in America since 1997 presented to the conference talking about the successes and challenges of the work she does.
Key presenters including Anderson spoke about the importance of a coordinated approach to addressing the issue.
“CAFS and Berry Street have worked in the family violence, family support and youth fields for many years and have strong connections to the community. They bring enormous skills, knowledge and commitment to working with those families experiencing adolescent violence in the home to make changes to feel safe and secure.
“CAFS and Berry Street have formed a close working relationship with Peninsula Health in Frankston who are implementing a similar program. The Department of Human Services who has agreed to evaluate the program over the next 3 years,” Michael Brandenburg said.