Safe and Together Training to Combat Domestic Violence – Podcast Episode 21

The Safe & Together training and model has been implemented by agencies in Australia already over the last about 7 years and the Federal Circuit Court and Family Courts are now jumping on board.

Federal Circuit Court and Family Court Judges will undergo family violence-focused training. The safety of children and families is the highest priority for these Courts and the new training initiative is welcomed to provide Judges, Registrars, and Family Consultants an opportunity for training on the issues of family violence and its impact on children. The delivery training will be from the Safe & Together Institute to deliver training based on the world-renowned Safe & Together Model developed by the expert, Mr David Mandel. That model focuses on the perpetrator’s patterns of behaviour, survivor strengths, and the safety and welfare of adult and child victims.

Sadly, mothers are often held responsible for protecting their children, and often while they are likely to be at risk of harming themselves. The mother is the one asked to do tasks to “act protectively” and either they are blamed for not acting protectively or their fears are not taken seriously because they failed to take action. The Safe and Together Model developed by David Mandel aims to shift away from this “failure to protect” response to one that works with all parties (children, survivors, and perpetrators) to ensure the well-being of children and their safety.

Domestic violence is by no means gender-neutral and the prevalence of violence, severity of the physical injury, and level of coercion and control are far greater for women than men. Just look at the media in the last few weeks where we had women and children lose their lives as a direct result of domestic violence.

The S&T Model aims to make systems more domestic violence informed and competent. It is child-centred keeping their safety and wellbeing at the core of all work. It is survivor strengths-based and partners with the non-offending parent to build her everyday efforts to keep herself and her children safe. It is perpetrator patterned which focuses on understanding that perpetrators of violence are responsible for the violence they commit and that responsibility is not shared with the adult survivor. Perpetrators’ patterns of behaviours harm children through multiple pathways. It’s not only about what the children saw or heard and it is this approach that is at the very core of the nature of the harm to children. The training helps understand really how that pattern of behaviour (like coercive control) undermined the functioning of the family.

This is not about man-bashing or women’s rights, this is about human rights and children’s rights. I will support any initiative that aims to protect the most vulnerable members of our community, the children. The effect of domestic violence, coercive control, and generally non-respectful behaviours is lifelong and action needs to be taken to stop the cycle. The only way we can work towards that is by getting perpetrators to realise and understand how their violence and coercive control impacts their children.

Safe & Together Institute are spot on when it says the reason for it is because “Intervention with perpetrators should focus on their roles as parents and assessment of how their behaviours harm children”.


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