Call for DV package to also target changing violent men

Samantha Lock and Luke Costin |

Mother and childcare worker Molly Ticehurst was farewelled at a funeral in Forbes.
Mother and childcare worker Molly Ticehurst was farewelled at a funeral in Forbes.

Boosting support for men’s behavioural change programs should be a critical component to an emergency gendered violence package pledged by the NSW government, frontline services say.

Ministers have promised to focus on crisis responses and reforms to the justice system following an extraordinary two-hour cabinet meeting in Sydney on Friday.

Finding empty motels or nursing homes for crisis accommodation and serious reform to bail laws are also on the cards.

Former Australian of the Year Rosie Batty and mother to an 11-year-old boy murdered by his father was among experts to address ministers.

Ms Batty said focusing on work at the bottom of the cliff misses the women “who are about to fall”.

Deputy Premier Prue Car said an emergency package would be developed within days with significant investment in frontline and crisis response services as well as reforms to the justice system to better protect victims.

“The primary prevention and the early intervention does need more attention because we need to drive the cultural change that stops this from happening,” she said.

No to Violence, which runs the national Men’s Referral Service, called on the government to commit to better funded and expanded men’s behaviour-change programs.

“We need an overarching perpetrator strategy to guide investment in research, innovation and new models of intervention so we know what works for men and how we can make it easier for more men to make the change,” chief executive Phillip Ripper told AAP.

Relationships Australia NSW, a provider of relationship support services, said hundreds of men still remain on behavioural change program waitlists.

“If we received extra funding this week, we could take immediate steps to start working with these 245 men and help them stop using violence against the women and children in their lives,” chief executive Elisabeth Shaw said in a statement on Friday.

With extra funding, Ms Shaw said the organisation could open in more locations of greatest need.

Ms Car said a state royal commission into family violence was discussed.

But she noted NSW could also act upon recommendations stemming from Victoria’s 2015 family violence royal commission, including ways to recognise problematic behaviours earlier on to better protect women at risk.

Housing and Homelessness Minister Rose Jackson also said the government was considering modular housing and opening unused motels and nursing homes to house women seeking safety.

Queensland has leant on existing, unused properties to provide crisis accommodation.

“That’s not long-term, permanent solutions,” Ms Jackson said.

“But this is the creativity and the urgency that we need from government right now.”

Premier Chris Minns bows his head among a crowd of mourers
NSW Premier Chris Minns attended Molly Ticehurst’s funeral a day after his own father died. (Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS)

She also put a call out to young men.

“You can be the ones to interrupt that sexist joke, you can be the ones to report images of women exploited online, you can be the ones to challenge gender norms and relationships.”

Learning from the success of men’s behavioural change programs in Victoria, Ms Jackson said the government would be exploring appealing to men’s instincts to be good fathers.

Friday’s meeting comes after 28-year-old mother and childcare worker Molly Ticehurst was farewelled at a funeral in Forbes on Thursday.

She was allegedly murdered by an ex-partner who was on bail accused of stalking, rape and animal cruelty.

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AAP