This project had its genesis in the need to develop effective and safe ways of working with fathers who use violence in order to better support women and children living with domestic and family violence (DFV). The DFV system, in particular, specialist women’s DFV services, developed
from interventions focused largely on supporting women and children living with DFV to separate from men who use violence. Separation has also been a key priority for the statutory child protection (CP) system that has often required women to leave violent men for the sake of the children, in spite of the danger and likely impoverishment of doing so, for many women and their children.
At the same time, family law with its “pro-contact culture” (Humphreys & Campo, 2017, p.5) presents potentially dangerous situations for adult and child victims/survivors alike in supporting fathers’ involvement with children despite their use of DFV (Hester, 2011). Further, intervention with men who use violence and control occurs mostly through justice responses and/or specialist men’s behaviour change programs (MBCPs) neither of which focus on fathering issues. While significant intervention with fathers occurs through CP and generic family service programs, workers’ practice with fathers who use DFV and control is neither documented nor evidence-based in the way it has occurred, for example, with MBCPs. In other words, to date, the nature of these practice interventions have been largely “invisible”.