In recent years both the Australian and State governments have made family (or domestic) violence a priority policy initiative. A number of public awareness campaigns have been run to educate Australians on the need to develop respectful, caring, violence free relationships.

Statistical information, gathered over a long period of time, shows that women are more likely to be the victims of family violence, with intimate male partners most likely to be the perpetrators. However, men may also be victims of this type of violence in either a heterosexual or same sex relationship.

The traditional family structure has changed significantly in recent decades and our society now recognises a number of different family structures, including same sex relationships. The Relationships Act 2003 defines a significant relationship as "…a relationship between two adult persons (a) who have a relationship as a couple; and (b) who are not married to one another or related by family."

Violence within same sex relationships does occur, as does intimate partner violence against men in heterosexual relationships. These forms of violence often go unreported by the male victims. The information contained in this website can be used by all victims of family violence. All victims should call the Police in emergency situations, particularly if under threat, or actually experiencing physical violence.

Services for men experiencing relationship problems

Mens Line Australia
A dedicated service for men with relationship and family concerns.  Phone line open 24hrs a day, 7 days a week.
 1300 789 979
Relationships Australia
Relationships Australia run a number of programs, including a Men and Family Services program. They also provide an online family violence site.
03 6211 4050 (Hobart)
6336 7000 (Launceston)
03 6421 5800 (Devonport)
Freecall: 1300 364 277
Lifeline 24hr
CounsellingFor those in crisis and immediate need of counselling.
13 11 14

Challenging Abusive Behaviours Program (Centacare)
CAB is a group program for men who have been angry, aggressive and abusive toward their partners and have acted in ways that have frightened and/or hurt their partners. CAB is for men who want to do something about their behaviour and learn more positive and respectful ways of relating.

03 6278 1660
Men and Family Relationships (Centacare)
Offered i the North and North-West, the program offers a wide range of counselling and education options for men.
03 6332 0600
03 6431 8555
Tasmanian Men's Health and Wellbeing Association Inc.
An online service for anyone interested in health and wellbeing issues for men and boys.
03 6223 6900
Tasmanian Men's Network
Contacts for men's services and programs.
 (no phone)
Gay & Bisexual Support Line 1800 633 900
Good Beginnings Australia
Parenting Programs
03 6223 5810

Programs for men who are perpetrators of family violence

It has been recognised that without addressing the behaviour of offenders the cycle of family violence continues. The Tasmanian Government, through the Department of Justice, is introducing new programs to address the behaviour of offenders as part of the reducing re-offending strategy. A Sex Offender Treatment Program for convicted sex offenders who have been assessed as suitable for the program has begun.

A Family Violence Offender Intervention Program, for those perpetrators who enter the criminal justice system and are deemed suitable for the programs, is currently being developed as part of the Safe at Home initiative.

Recent Research Findings

Research, such as the PADV report, Reshaping Responses to Domestic Violence (Bagshaw et al 1999) found that:

  • Men generally seek relationship counselling rather than domestic violence counselling, often in response to choices or ultimatums delivered by their partners.
  • Among men who attended groups voluntarily, their commitment to change was primarily motivated by their own personal investment in making their lives better, improving personally, and saving or improving their relationship.
  • Men found difficulty in locating their experiences within the domestic violence discourse both as victims and perpetrators (sometimes confusing the two).
  • Men felt disadvantaged in relation to women in terms of the provision of domestic violence services.
  • Violence was often seen as a normal way of addressing issues in relationships.
  • Contemporary stereotypes of domestic violence portrayed men in a negative light, acting as a barrier to men accessing services.
  • Groups were supportive and helpful, but limited given time constraints.
  • Men often perceived services as punitive and adversarial.

Interviews with men also found that they felt that the dominant ideas of masculinity and the ways of being raised as men limited their ability to communicate and understand their role within relationships, deal with the pressures of relationships and daily life, and understand what constitutes violence (their definition was limited to physical acts).

The PADV publication Domestic Violence: Working with Men reported on the key findings from the funded services through the PADV funded 'Men and Relationships' project of the Department of Family and Community Services.

The evaluation found that some men's inability to cope with relationship breakdown can have serious consequences for their ex-partners and children, as there is evidence that women are at greater risk of domestic violence in the period just after they announce their intention to leave a relationship. [This is one of the reasons why it is important for victims to make contact with the Police or family violence counselling services.]

Men also appear to access relationship support services at a significantly lower rate than women.