Family violence and alcohol and drug misuse commonly co-occur; a new intervention will tackle these issues together
Family violence and alcohol and drug misuse commonly co-occur; a new intervention will tackle these issues together.
On the fifth anniversary of the Royal Commission into Family Violence, a new intervention with men who use violence and misuse alcohol and other drugs will be piloted and evaluated, filling a critical gap within the family services sector.
Family violence services and drug and alcohol services have traditionally been siloed; an inappropriate division given that these problems are commonly co-occurring.
Led by Kids First and in partnership with Odyssey House Victoria, the University of Melbourne and the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing, the ‘KODY Project: Developing an all-of-family intervention at the intersections of DFV and AOD’ is the recipient of an ARC Linkage Grant.
‘KODY’ will adapt Kids First’s existing Caring Dads program, integrating it with Odyssey House Victoria’s targeted alcohol and other drugs intervention, to deliver a program aimed at fathers, while recognising the needs of children, and the safety and wellbeing of women.
Children’s experiences will be crucial to the project, with an aim to develop knowledge about effective and feasible strategies for their inclusion in healing and recovery programs.
Caring Dads is an evidence-backed, 17-week intervention program for men who have used violence or are at risk of doing so. The program helps fathers understand the impact of their behaviour by harnessing their motivation to be good dads.
A three-year evaluation conducted by the University of Melbourne and released in 2020 clearly showed that program participants were better able to manage aggressive behaviours and that the program led to positive changes in the father’s parenting as well as an overall reduction in violence.
Kids First CEO, Ms Aileen Ashford, is hopeful of similarly positive changes being achieved through KODY.
“Changing the behaviour of men who use violence is a significant and enduring social challenge,” said Ms Aileen Ashford, Kids First CEO.
“We know through our vast experience in working with men who use violence that very often they are misusing alcohol and other drugs, yet these problems have been treated through separate interventions. By piloting a joined up, ‘one team’ approach with Odyssey House Victoria we expect to develop an evidence base for effective, integrated services.”
In addition to the $370k ARC Linkage Grant, the project has also received the backing of the OPEN Learning System Grants, funded by the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing and managed by the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare. Joining Kids First and Odyssey House as industry partners are Family Safety Victoria, No to Violence and Turning Point.