Men’s Domestic Violence Education and Intervention Program (MDVEIP) is a partnership between the Domestic Violence Prevention Centre Gold Coast Inc. and Queensland Corrective Services. It began in March 2000 as a sanction for the court to use for men convicted of domestic violence related offences in lieu of a fine.
The program is ordered as a condition of a probation order or a parole order for men who are convicted of a domestic violence related offence. If the offender is in agreement the court can add the MDVEIP as a condition to Community Based Orders supervised by Probation and Parole. Parole Boards can also add the MDVEIP as a condition to Parole Orders. Additionally, Probation and Parole Officers can issue offenders with a Reasonable Direction to undertake the program. Referral into the program in lieu of a sentence of imprisonment is not appropriate.
The program uses the Domestic Abuse Intervention Model developed by Ellen Pence and Michael Paymar in Duluth, Minnesota, United States. This curriculum prioritises the safety of women and children. The Domestic Violence Prevention Centre Gold Coast Inc. establishes and maintains regular contact with female partners of offenders in the program and provides feedback to program facilitators on their safety. Women are offered telephone support, counselling appointments, support groups and information about the men’s program.
Rigorous screening, monitoring and risk and safety checks have been incorporated into the program. Risk assessment forms an integral element of the program and is supported in all aspects of program design and management. Program participants are required to sign a detailed contract outlining requirements, safety mechanisms and sanctions for non-compliance. The group is run as an open on-going group for 50 weeks each year and it is a rolling program with offenders commencing at the start of one of the 8 themes. Each theme is delivered over a 3-week period with offenders attending the MDVEIP for a minimum of 24 weeks depending upon their compliance with the program contract.
Each participant attends a minimum of 27 group sessions of 2 hours duration. Each program session is open to observers from women’s services and member agencies of the Gold Coast Domestic Violence Integrated Response.
The program is designed to help men stop their use of violence and abuse by:
- Assisting the participant to understand his acts of violence as a means of controlling the victim’s actions, thoughts and feelings. This is done by examining the intent of his acts of abuse and the belief system from which he operates.
- >Increasing the participant’s willingness to change his actions by examining the negative effects of his behaviour on his relationship, his partner, his children, his friends and himself.
- Increasing the participant's understanding of the causes of his violence by examining the cultural and social contexts in which he uses violence against his partner.
- Providing the participant with practical information on how to change abusive behaviour by exploring non-controlling and non-violent ways of relating to women.
- Encouraging the participant to become accountable to those he has hurt through his use of violence by encouraging him to acknowledge his abuse and accept responsibility for its impact on his partner and others.
Entry into the program is subject to the following criteria:
- The Court makes an order for the man to attend the program if he has been convicted of a breach of a domestic violence protection order or for other domestic violence related criminal offences.
- The program is a condition of a man’s parole.
- A respondent is referred to the program through being granted a Voluntary Intervention Order (VIO) through the civil process in a Domestic Violence Court. For a VIO to be granted there must be a current Domestic Violence Order against the respondent.