“When you speak the language you’ve already actually crossed that first hurdle”: A review of the inTouch Motivation for Change Program
The Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence (RCFV, 2016) highlighted the importance of holding perpetrators to account and ensuring perpetrator visibility at multiple points of the family violence response system. The Royal Commission found that family violence perpetrators were, often, invisible at key points of the family violence response system, and that there was a critical need to ensure that justice, health and human services were better equipped, trained and funded to hold perpetrators to account and to keep their risk in view. The Royal Commission recommended the development and delivery of a suite of perpetrator interventions.
Building evidence points to the need to develop inLanguage, inCulture perpetrator intervention programs to address the specialised needs of diverse communities, especially as the lack of linguistically and culturally tailored programs have negatively impacted on the access, recruitment, retention and engagement of culturally and linguistically diverse perpetrators. To date, there have also been few, if any, evaluations of the operations and effectiveness of programs that are delivered in languages other than English and designed to meet the specific cultural needs/contexts of perpetrators.
The development of culturally specific programs that can be delivered in languages spoken by program participants seeks to increase perpetrator engagement in the behaviour change progress, and to ensure greater inclusion through the design and delivery of language and/or culturally informed program content. Despite increasing awareness of the need for, and potential benefits of, in-language, in-culture intervention programs, there have been very few such programs developed in Australia and elsewhere. The Motivation for Change (MfC) program developed and delivered by inTouch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence based in Victoria (Australia) represents one of the few multilingual, multicultural programs currently offered.
The MfC program is an ‘inLanguage, inCulture’ 15-week program designed for men who use violence towards a family member. The inTouch vision when developing the MfC program was to provide an early intervention program for men from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
This report presents the findings from a review of the MfC program conducted by members of the Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre (MGFVPC). The report draws on the perspectives of practitioners involved in the program, alongside an analysis of program participant case notes, and entry and exit surveys conducted with program clients and a small number of affected family members.
The findings from this review are organised into seven key themes:
1. The importance of an in-language and in-culture program
2. Program structure and components
3. Case management and risk assessment
4. Family safety contact work and engaging affected family members
5. Participant engagement and disengagement
6. Behaviour change as a process
7. Workplace opportunities and challenges
While noting the limits of the small number of client and affected family members who participated in this review, this review the policy and practice implications.