Start Today Again: Working with violent fathers

October 9, 2018

The annual STOP Domestic Violence Conference will be held at QT, Gold Coast on Monday 3 and Tuesday 4 December 2018 with optional workshops on Wednesday 5 December.  

The objective of the conference is to provide a platform for a unified voice to share, network and collaborate on the challenges and successes of behaviour change. Our human basic needs of comfort and security are violated when violence is common, impacting home life, the work place and the community.

Joining us at the conference is Dr. Romy Winter, Research Leader, Violence and Abuse Research Unit, Tasmanian Institute of Law Enforcement Studies at the University of Tasmania who will present on ‘Start Today Again: Working with violent fathers’.


Family violence persists as a ‘wicked’ problem that continues to seriously impact the mental and physical health of victims despite a significant increase in attention and intervention. For children, growing up in a violent household is associated with a myriad of negative neurological, behavioural and emotional outcomes including future perpetration and victimisation. These impacts are not well understood at the community level, particularly among men. What is recognised however is the breakdown of the relationship between the father who uses violence and his children and the desire to repair this relationship is often stated as a motivation for behaviour change. This paper provides an overview of an innovative approach to perpetrator education and support developed in Tasmania through a partnership between the University Schools of Health Sciences and Social Sciences and The Salvation Army. The research team, comprising academics and practitioners in mental health, social policy, family violence, primary health and prison support, have developed a program which comprises a flexible suite of presentations, resources and a manualised education package that builds on an analysis of challenges faced by existing perpetrator and men’s behaviour change programs.

Incorporating a trauma-informed and strengths-based approach Start Today Again focuses on improving relationships between fathers and children to ignite and sustain the catalyst for behaviour change. Previous research by the authors recommended that educational tools for men should be multi-faceted, diverse, flexible, and evidence-based and be able to be delivered in multiple contexts. Start Today Again is a program that value-adds innovations in treatment and adult learning to the research base on family violence and can be used in to complement behaviour change work with fathers who have used violence, as well as educating sector workers and the broader community, particularly males in communities, about the impact of family violence on children.


Dr Romy Winter teaches in the Police Studies and Emergency Management program at the University of Tasmania and is leader of the Violence and Abuse Research Unit (VARU) within the Tasmanian Institute of Law Enforcement Studies (TILES), a multi-disciplinary team that conducts research and evaluation work on a broad range of issues. Her research includes risk factors for interpersonal violence; policing of family violence and vulnerable populations; the impact of violence on children; improving understanding of emotional abuse in violent relationships as well as gender and workplace issues and police education/professionalisation.

For further information on the 2018 STOP Domestic Violence Conference please visit

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