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We design, pilot and evaluate programs that intervene early to address the underlying drivers of violence and other harmful behaviours, ensure accountability for actions, and restore relationships.

Our current focus is on:

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

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

Stop It Now!

The Men’s Project, in collaboration with the University of Melbourne, is piloting 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. The program’s key feature is a confidential 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.

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.

Adolescent family violence pilot programs

Despite around one 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: a new evidenced-informed intervention model for responding to police call outs to adolescent family violence, focused on family safety.

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 to 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 to 14 before the first signs of trouble often present.

Jack’s Hut

In Victoria, 60 per cent of those in the youth justice system have previously been suspended or expelled from school, and over 90 per cent of adults in our prisons did not complete secondary school. Further, most expulsions occur for students between years 8 and 10 and boys are vastly over-represented.

Exclusion can have adverse economic, health, and social impacts on young people, including likely trajectory into the Youth Justice system, illness, and unemployment in adulthood. Boys are twice as likely to engage in disruptive and high-risk behaviours that lead to school expulsion and disengagement than girls, and five times more likely to engage in violent and aggressive behaviours.

Adolescence is the common stage when challenging behaviours escalate, and we’ve also seen a recent rise in the number of sexual assault and violence related offences by young people highlighting the need for effective evidence-informed behavioural interventions and violence prevention efforts that will provide benefits to both the young people themselves and our society more broadly.

Our proposed pilot program, Jack’s Hut, will work with young men in community or specialist settings who have highly complex needs and are disengaging with their learning at school, to deliver a multi-faceted program that improves their social and emotional literacy, family/significant relationships, and enhances their connectedness with community. Program content can be adapted to single sex, mixed sex, and universal cohorts.

Jack’s Hut takes a ‘Groupwork’ approach focussed on social and emotional literacy and is transferable and adaptable to different sites. Evidence shows multiple program components that reflect the young person’s social context is the most effective approach – Jack’s Hut integrates young people’s individual agency and participation with group / peer social and emotional learning, family therapeutic responses, and supported opportunities to connect with community through vocational, recreational, and creative activities.

Jack’s Hut focuses on providing young people with diverse activities, settings, and interactions with positive peer and adult community members to practice and reinforce their social and emotional learning.

Worried About Sex and Pornography Project

The Men’s Project is undertaking a piece of action research for children and young people titled Worried About Sex and Porn Project (WASAPP). This 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, our 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.

Contact The Men’s Project

Please call The Men’s Project on 03 9421 7600 or email to enquire about engaging with your school or workplace.