First Nations boys and men aged 10 to 25 will be supported with an expanded specialist family violence hotline as the latest investment in a rollout of various trial programs across Australia targeted towards innovative perpetrator responses.
The Albanese Labor Government is working in partnership with the Victorian Government to support specialist family violence service Dardi Munwurro to enhance their Brother-to-Brother men’s crisis phone line, as part of a shared objective to end violence against women and children in one generation.
The Brother-to-Brother phone line provides 24/7 support to males who are struggling with relationship issues, family and domestic violence, parenting, drug and alcohol or other issues.
Aboriginal men, including Elders, staff the phone line to promote a culturally safe service.
The service acts as a first point of contact in providing help to those in crisis and will support potential referrals to another one of Dardi Munwurro’s Youth specific programs if required.
Those accessing the service, including teenagers, receive immediate assessment and support and referral to specialist services. Anyone in need of immediate support is connected with emergency services.
Previously the service was available for callers aged 18-25, but over the next three years, $675,000 will be provided for Dardi Munwurro to deliver the expanded phone line to younger callers from age 10.
The trial will also explore if the service could be expanded to new technological avenues such as text or chat service.
The funding awarded to Dardi Munwurro is the latest in a rollout of trial programs across Australia targeting different communities under the Innovative Perpetrator Responses measure, funded by the Commonwealth.
Family and domestic violence destroys lives, and one life lost is too many – it must end.
First Nations women are six times more likely to be killed due to experiencing family violence than non-Indigenous women and 34 times more likely to experience violence.
A total of $27 million over five years to target perpetrator behaviour has been allocated under the National Partnership Agreement with state and territory governments for a variety of programs, including the Dardi Munwurro program.
Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth said the Albanese Government is committed to ending violence against women and children through targeting the underlying causes of violence and intervening early to stop violence from escalating.
“Violence against women and children is not inevitable. Governments at all levels need to be pulling in the same direction,” Minister Rishworth said.
“We need men and women, businesses, schools, sports clubs – every part of our community – to work hand-in-hand with us.
“We’re taking immediate and practical steps to support victim-survivors of family and domestic violence and address perpetrator behaviour so the focus is not always on victim survivors. Our Government has invested a record $2.3 billion investment in this area.”
One of the cross-cutting principles underpinning the National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children 2022-2032 is making sure that people who choose to use violence are held to account.
The Innovative Perpetrator Responses Measure aligns to the recently released Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Action Plan under the National Plan.
“One of the key elements of our National Plan that came through from victim-survivors is that we can't just be constantly intervening with victim-survivors. That's effectively putting, to some extent, the problem onto them,” Minister Rishworth said.
“Dardi Munwurro’s crisis phone line has produced impressive results by providing culturally safe support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men who need someone to talk to about relationship issues and family violence, which helps create safer communities.”
Assistant Minister Elliot said culturally safe early intervention services are a powerful tool for preventing young men from perpetuating cycles of violence.
“From extensive consultation with victim-survivors, we know that appropriate early interventions for young people are essential to break the cycle of family violence continuing into their adulthood,” Assistant Minister Elliot said.
“The new service will be more accessible to the next generation, ensuring that young Aboriginal boys and men can talk to someone about their struggles with relationships or family violence.”
Victoria’s Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence Vicki Ward said ending family violence is everyone’s responsibility.
“We need to do everything we can to support young men and boys understand what makes a positive, caring relationship,” Minister Ward said.
“The Dardi Munwarro crisis phone line has had positive results and by making it more accessible to the next generation, more boys and men can help us end family violence.”
More information on the National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-2032 is available on the Department of Social Services website.
The Brother-to-Brother phone service can be accessed on 1800 435 799.