Monitoring and reviewing change
A person may want to change their violent behaviour yet still be unable to.
Fathers may tell you they do not want to use violence. They may even start a behaviour change program. But the very nature of domestic violence dynamics can make true change both difficult to achieve and measure.
Domestic violence is based on coercion and control. This means a father may stop using physical and sexual violence—in fact, behaviour change programs show the most success in these areas. But they may still struggle to see how their other forms of violence, such as control and verbal and emotional abuse, cause harm. Accepting that violence is their choice and is never a justifiable act can also be challenging.
Practice reflections about his change
|Ask yourself||And understand|
|Has he recognised that abusive behaviour is unacceptable?||A father must overcome denial and minimisation in order to confront his abusive behaviour meaningfully and recognise the harms done to others.|
|Has he made full disclosure of the history of physical and psychological abuse?||Some fathers claim they have changed, yet continue to justify their past violent or abusive behaviour.|
|Has he recognised that abusive behaviour is a choice?||Acceptance of full responsibility for abusive behaviour is fundamental to change and needs to include recognition that abuse is intentional.|
|Does he show empathy about the effects of his violence on his partner and children?||As evidence of change, the father should be able to identify the destructive impact his abuse has had and demonstrate that he feels empathy for his victims.|
|Can he identify what patterns of controlling behaviour and entitled attitudes he has used?||In order to change, the father has to see that his violence grows out of a surrounding context of abusive behaviour and attitudes. He must be able to name the specific forms of abuse he has used and the beliefs that have driven his behaviour.|
|Has he replaced abuse with respectful behaviour and attitudes?||A father who is genuinely changing his abusive practices responds respectfully to the woman's grievances, meets his responsibilities, and stops focusing exclusively on his own needs.|
|Is he willing to make amends in a meaningful way?||Fathers who are making genuine change develop a sense of long-term indebtedness towards their victims.|
|Does he accept the consequences of his actions?||
A father who is genuinely changing accepts the woman’s right to be angry and evaluates his negative view of her as a person.He respects her right to end the relationship with him and respects her right to decide what sort of contact she wishes to have with him in the future.
Checking in about his change
When monitoring and measuring change, return to the original case plan goals and scaling questions to measure progress.
Do not rely on self-reporting alone for evidence of behaviour change. Remember to check in with the mother, the child and all other services involved to see if they notice the changes the man talks about.
The safety and wellbeing scale is a useful tool to use in conversation with the father and others when reviewing change. You can also use the The Power and Control Wheel to explore the changes across all aspects of domestic violence.
|Practice considerations||Conversation ideas|
|When speaking with the children||
What has changed for you since the last time we spoke?
Are you doing different things with your mum than before? What kinds of things?
What kinds of things have you noticed are different in your house now?
Since Paul has been going to his group, what have you noticed about the way he talks to you and your mum?
You told me before that if things were better at home, you would be able to sleep better at night. Has that happened?
What things are making you feel scared or worried?
|When speaking with the mother||
What changes have you noticed in your house since the last time we spoke?
What things are you able to do now that you couldn’t do before?
What changes have you noticed in the children?
Are there still areas in which you think Paul needs to change? What are they? What do you think would help to make these changes?
Are there times when you are still frightened to do or say what you want to do?
What is your main worry right now?
|When speaking with the father||
What changes have you made that make it safer for Sue, Krystal and Ben?
What do you think they notice that’s changed?
How do you think they are experiencing these changes?
What changes do you think you still need to make?
How has your relationship changed since you have made these changes?
What are you doing differently with your children since you made these changes?
What have you learnt?
If you started slipping backwards into using abuse and violence, what would be the first thing you noticed?
Who knows about your commitment to nonviolence? If I were to ask them what had changed, what would they tell me?
What are you finding most difficult to change? Can you think of why this is so hard? Who could help you?
|When speaking with other important people such as community members, extended family and service providers||
What changes have you noticed in the family?
What conversations have you had with Paul about his commitment to nonviolence?
What have you noticed about the changes in the family dynamics?
Is there anything still worrying you?
- Read about what his change would look like for the child in Working with children.
- Learn more about how a father can help his children to heal in the Working with fathers.
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