In this section:

Develop a second Communicare Breathing Space Residential Men’s Behaviour Change program

Responsible government

  • Western Australia

Fourth Action Plan actions

  • Improve support and service system responses
    • 18 Improve access to and embed trauma-informed support for perpetrators of domestic, family and sexual violence to prevent reoffending and promote rehabilitation and treatment.

What are we doing?

The WA Government is committed to improving the safety and outcomes for women and children experiencing family and domestic violence through the introduction of an integrated and accountable systems response that prioritises victim safety and holds perpetrators accountable.

The WA Government has invested in addressing perpetrators through the establishment of a second Communicare Breathing Space Residential Service. Communicare Breathing Space provides a specialist service to men who have been violent in the family environment and wish to change their lives. The service provides a crisis response to domestic violence, supported case management and a three-month residential therapeutic family and domestic violence behaviour change program.

The service model is evidence-based, and operates from the position that the most important factors in generating behaviour change among perpetrators of family and domestic violence are:

  • providing intensive intervention to change violence supportive attitudes and address the factors in the life and environment of the perpetrator that reinforce or exacerbate violence;
  • working collaboratively with the adult victim/s; and
  • working closely with partner agencies to create a ‘web of accountability’ where there are consistent consequences for episodes of violence, delivered across the service system.

Key components of the program include:

  • a three-month residential program that provides intensive intervention;
  • community-based outreach for men in the community and current or former residents of the residential program;
  • advocacy for women and children including case management and safety planning;
  • managing co-morbidities such as mental health and substance misuse issues; and
  • working closely with partner agencies.

For further information:

The WA Government will provide operational funding of $2.6 million between 2019/20 and 2021/22 for the second Breathing Space Residential Men’s Behavioural Change Program.

What have we achieved so far?

The new Communicare Breathing Space service has been established and commenced operating on 1 July 2019.

What is next?

The Communicare Breathing Space service model provides an innovative men’s behaviour change program for perpetrators of family and domestic violence in WA. Learnings from the Breathing Space model provides an opportunity for evidence-based best-practice research for improving perpetrator responses in WA.

What difference will we make?

Engaging and responding to perpetrators of family and domestic violence is a crucial component of all work targeted at managing risk and creating safety for adult and child victims; and for the overall reduction in the prevalence of violence in the community. The intended outcomes of this initiative are to improve the safety of women and children by:

  • removing the perpetrator from the family home and providing support to the child and adult victim to plan for their future safety (regardless of the outcome of the intervention program); and

working with the perpetrator to be a safer partner and father through an intensive intervention program comprised of case management, individual and group counselling.

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