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Our current focus is on:

  • Adolescent family violence
  • Violence and antisocial behaviour among 8-12 year olds
  • Preventing child sexual abuse

The voice of people affected by violence informs all of our work.

New approaches to adolescent family violence

Despite around 1 in 10 family violence incidents involving adolescent perpetrators (young people aged 10-17), there are very few interventions to respond to this issue.

We are developing and trialling new ways of holding young people who commit family violence to account and keeping their families safe in Victoria and New South Wales. Our activities include:

  • RESTORE – a restorative justice pilot program for adolescent family violence developed in partnership with the Melbourne Children’s Court.
  • Starting Over – an adolescent family violence pilot program working with schools in Western Sydney.
  • Family Assisted Adolescent Response – the aim of this project is to develop a new evidenced-informed intervention model for responding to police call outs to adolescent family violence, focussed on family safety. The model will aim to work with families, police, and other agencies, intervening early to prevent adolescents becoming entrenched in the criminal justice or homelessness systems.

Before It Starts

Most boys grow up to be productive, healthy and responsible members of society.

But some boys drop out of school early. Their family relationships are dysfunctional. They fall in with the wrong crowd. And they end up in trouble.

They cycle in and out of crisis services and the justice system, at immense costs. And as adult men some of them end up being responsible for the most horrific crimes – murders, violence, and acts of extremism.

While we are learning more about the pathways these boys take to end up at the margins of society, our current responses are too often inadequate or too late.

There is a need to develop new ways to identify those at risk between the ages of 8-14 and to support them to remain in school and out of trouble. Present practice is that intervention programs of this nature only begin when boys already are in trouble. Often this is too late. The Men’s Project will focus on these boys Before It Starts.

We will lead work to identify, understand and respond to boys aged 8-14 before the first signs of trouble often present.

Stop It Now!

The Men’s Project at Jesuit Social Services, in collaboration with the University of Melbourne, has assessed the feasibility of a Stop it Now! service in Australia that prevents child sexual abuse and offending involving child exploitation material.

Stop it Now! is a program that currently operates successfully in North America, the United Kingdom and Ireland, and the Netherlands (Brown, Jago, Kerr, McNaughton- Nicholls, Paskell & Webster, 2014). The program’s key feature is a phone helpline for people who are worried about their sexual thoughts and behaviours, as well as parents, family members, and professionals who come across child sexual abuse.

As part of this work, The Men’s Project at Jesuit Social Services has completed consultations with stakeholders including the Department of Health and Human Services (Victoria), the Department of Justice and Regulation (Victoria), the Department of Social Services (Commonwealth), the Australian Federal Police, the Department of Home Affairs, Victoria Police, Google, Forensicare, On the Line, Kids Helpline, the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family welfare, academic experts and Stop it Now! providers in other jurisdictions.

Based on these discussions, we recommend the establishment of Stop it Now! in Australia. Our report outlines considerations for program development, including: the scope of the program and who it is targeted at; governance; integration and partnership with services in different jurisdictions; staff capability; legal issues; and resourcing.

Find more detail in our brochures and reports

Worried About Sex and Pornography Project (WASAPP)

We are also undertaking a further piece of work called the Worried About Sex and Porn Project for children and young people (WASAPP). This action research project will co-design an online early intervention for children and young people with problematic sexual behaviours. The online intervention will be separate from, but aligned with, the Australian Stop it Now! service.

There are currently no early interventions in Australia for people who are worried about their sexual thoughts or behaviours in relation to children. The Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse recognised this and recommended successful international approaches be considered as part of wider efforts to prevent child sexual abuse.

We are collaborating with academics, practitioners, and governments to develop new models that will then be able to be piloted.