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What would changes in his behaviour look like?

Assessment of change in a man who uses violence should draw on multiple sources of information, particularly the mother and children, (not just a self-report) and include attention to the following issues at a minimum.

The Spence Coffey (2009) resource outlines how a man’s change may be experienced for a child:

  • My dad respects my mum
  • My dad listens to my mum when she has something to say
  • My dad is nice to my mum
  • My dad likes it when my mum visits with her friends and family because Mum comes home happier
  • Sometimes my mum makes the big decisions and sometimes my dad makes the big decisions in the house and sometimes they make those decisions together
  • My dad knows how to handle being angry without hurting other people
  • My dad isn’t afraid of being gentle and kind to my mother, my brothers or sisters, or me
  • Even when my dad is stressed out from work or something else, he still treats us well
  • I’m not afraid to ask my dad questions or tell him about things I’ve done wrong
  • My dad gets mad at me sometimes but I’m never scared he’s going to hurt me
  • My dad knows how to stand up for himself or speak his mind without getting violent physically or verbally
  • My dad knows and cares when I’m feeling bad or upset
  • My dad doesn’t criticise me when I make mistakes
  • My dad knows a lot but isn’t afraid to say when he doesn’t know and ask for help
  • When I grow up I want to be treated the way my dad treats my mum. Or, I want to treat my partner the way my dad treats my mum.

Practice prompt

Ask the father you are working with: What would you like your children to say about you as a dad?

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