In 2018 inTouch received an innovation grant from Family Safety Victoria to develop and implement an early intervention program for men who use violence in South Asian and Afghani communities – Motivation for Change.

Based on our successful inLanguage, inCulture model for victim-survivors, the program is the first of its kind as it is specifically tailored to men from culturally and linguistically diverse communities who use violence towards family members.

This trauma-informed program helps engage men who otherwise may come to the attention of police, courts and other service providers, and yet, for a number of reasons, are unable to access services to assist them in stopping their use of violence.

The Motivation for Change (MFC) program comprises of one-on-one case management and group sessions. It aims to help men reflect on their behaviours, learn ways to relate without using violence, as well as access services to help them change their behaviour.

37 men complete the trial program

The MFC program recently completed its trial program in Dandenong and Sunshine working with men from South Asian countries (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, and Maldives) and Afghanistan. A total of 37 men completed the program, a highly successful 90% completion rate. Most were referred from the Magistrates courts in Dandenong and Sunshine, and Child Protection.

Case closure and individual exit plans were given highest importance towards the end of the program and a total of 15 participants reunited with their families during the course of the program.

“I can feel that this is gradually becoming a life changing experience. I am very thankful for the facilitators for their efforts and guidance in conducting this program on weekly basis…I have learnt a lot from self-reflection, seeing myself in situations and challenges where my behaviour is tested. I have also realised this, my marriage, my relationship, is all an ongoing continuum. I have to take this seriously and make it work on a day to day basis, for the rest of my life here.” – Motivation for Change participant

Meet Ahmed and Maryam

Ahmed* was a participant of the MFC program. His partner, Maryam* was a client of inTouch and received case management support from our Dari speaking case manager. Here are their stories.

*Names changed

Maryam
Maryam is from Afghanistan and speaks only Dari. She had been married to her husband Ahmed for 15 years and had three children, with their third child being born in Melbourne. Ahmed was using Ice on a regular basis and became abusive towards Maryam and the children. Maryam left the house and went to the police to get an intervention order. She and the children stayed with a friend temporarily and were afraid to go back home. Maryam was on a temporary partner visa and Ahmed threatened to get her deported and kill himself. Maryam only had $50 in her wallet when she left and had always been financially reliant on Ahmed. The police notified Child Protection who investigated the matter and Maryam had to attend a court hearing. The magistrate referred her husband Ahmed to see the respondent practitioner at the court who then referred him to the MFC program.

Ahmed

Ahmed is from Afghanistan and arrived in Australia as a refugee without his wife and children in 2011. He did not have any skills but with the help of some friends, found a job in the construction industry as a painter. In early 2013 he started taking Ice. That same year, his driving license was suspended due to driving under the influence of drugs. In 2014 he was caught driving and his license was suspended for three years and he lost his fulltime job. He continued using Ice over the next couple of years, couldn’t hold down a job and lost all his important identification and travel documents. When his wife Maryam and their children arrived from Afghanistan the couple began to argue about Ahmed’s drug use and lack of stable employment and money. There was never any food for the children. Ahmed used physical, verbal, financial, and emotional violence against his wife. In an incident before Maryam finally left, he threatened to burn down the house. He made Maryam and the children watch him burn some of the children’s clothes in the bathtub. An intervention order took place and Child Protection got involved. Ahmed became homeless because he was excluded from the premises. When Ahmed joined the MFC program, he was referred to complete a drug rehabilitation facility. After just two days, Ahmed left the program as he wanted to focus on finding a job and getting his license back. He did not take Ice for more than 25 days and both Child Protection and the court allowed him to reunite with his family with a limited intervention order. Ahmed successfully completed the MFC program and the case manager assisted him in finding a full time job.

More information

The next round of the program is already in progress. For more information or to make enquiries, phone 03 9413 6543 or email mfc@intouch.org.au