Strengthening men’s behaviour change programs to improve safety of women and children

The ACT Government has taken another step forward in addressing domestic and family violence with the release of the ACT Practice Standards for men’s behaviour change programs.

Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Yvette Berry and Minister for Corrections and Policing Mick Gentleman have jointly endorsed the practice standards which will assist services to provide safe and successful programs as opportunities for men who use violence to change their behaviour.

Men’s domestic and family violence behaviour change programs are primarily group-based programs that seek to hold men who perpetrate violence to account for their behaviour and work with them to change that behaviour.

Practice standards help services to ensure that they are delivering behaviour change programs in a consistent way that is in line with best practice, are driven by the imperative to enhance safety for women and children and are framed by an understanding of the dynamics of domestic and family violence. For example, there are a number of practice standards related to risk assessment to ensure that any potential risks to women and children are identified and responded to appropriately.

The practice standards will support service providers to deliver programs in the safest ways possible for victim-survivors including children. They were developed by government in partnership with workers in the victim support service system, workers in the men’s behaviour change area, ACT Policing, and ACT Corrective Services.

“We know that in order to effectively combat this serious issue as a community, we need to shift the blame from victims and place accountability on those who use violence,” Minister Berry said.

“We recognise that holding perpetrators of domestic and family violence to account and offering them opportunities to address and change this behaviour is a critical component in a coordinated response to domestic and family violence in the ACT.”

Minister for Corrections and Policing Mick Gentleman said that a whole of government and sector approach was needed to address the serious and complex issue of domestic violence.

“The development of these practice standards for Men’s Behaviour Change Programs, through partnership with key government and non-government groups, will help us address the scourge of domestic and family violence in the ACT,” Minister Gentleman said.

The development of practice standards for Men’s Behaviour Change Programs in the ACT was recommended in the 2020 Reducing Domestic and Family Violence in the ACT: Perpetrator Project Report.

This report built upon work by the Office of the Coordinator-General for Family Safety and the Victims of Crime Commissioner, sector forums and a practitioner workshop.

The Men’s Behaviour Change Programs ACT Practice Standards are available online at:

/Public Release. View in full here.