As one of the largest providers of Men’s Behaviour Change Programs (MBCPs) in Queensland, UnitingCare has acknowledged its responsibility to contribute to evidence-building. In 2018, UnitingCare initiated a longitudinal evaluation of their MBCP, Men Choosing Change, and commissioned an evaluation from QCDFVR. The evaluation was conducted in three stages beginning with a collaborative co-design pro cess to develop the evaluation design with UnitingCare staff and managers and key stakeholders at sites across the five regions within Queensland that this program is delivered.
Stage 2 examined early outcomes for program participants and their partners/ex-partners and children at the time men completed Men Choosing Change. We also examined the implementation of the program. In collaboration with UnitingCare we conducted a knowledge translation and exchange process of Stage 2 findings with staff and managers during 2021 to identify strengths and areas to develop and improve.
Stage 3 examined the longer-term outcomes for the men who participated in Men Choosing Change during 2019 and their partners/ex-partners and children. Stages 1 and 2 were led by Professor Annabel Taylor and Stage 3 was led by Dr Sue Carswell.
Key findings include:
- Men Choosing Change has acted as a catalyst for changing DFV behaviours for some men. Many men in our study saw themselves on a journey of change and this is an incremental process that takes time given entrenched attitudes and behaviours. The mixed findings of our longer-term study show that men were at various stages of this journey.
- Enablers of change include men’s engagement and motivation which was facilitated when men find program content relevant to their situation. This was reinforced by other men in the group where they were able to practice new strategies and gain confidence and normalise changes.
- MBCPs require being part of a broader system of interventions and supports for men, women and children across the continuum of prevention, early intervention, crisis response to longer-term recovery.
- Need to strengthen the DFV Advocate role to increase the ability of the program to monitor risk and provide women and children with supports to improve their safety and recovery.
- Opportunities to increase children’s safety and wellbeing through more child-focused content in Men Choosing Change, and the role of the DFV Advocate to assess children’s risks and needs and refer to appropriate services.