Boys and men are in trouble – and they are causing trouble. Not all of them. Not even most. But too many.
They are more likely to engage in risk-taking behaviour – reflected in higher rates of road accident fatalities, accidental drug-induced deaths, and higher rates of smoking tobacco. They have extremely high rates of suicide – six men suicide each day.
And they are almost always the perpetrators of violence. 95 per cent of victims – whether women or men – report experiencing violence at the hands of a man.
As a society we have recently begun to acknowledge one significant aspect of the problem – violence against women and children. The focus has been, as it should be, on supporting the victims of this violence.
But we need to do much more. We need to address the root causes. That’s what The Men’s Project will do.
The Men’s Project will focus on supporting boys and men live respectful, accountable and fulfilling lives, where they are able to develop loving relationships free from violence and where they play their role in making the community safe.
In short, The Men’s Project will support boys and men to be their best selves.
Our focus will be broad and cover a variety of contributing factors. However, studies in Australia and around the world all agree on one thing: gender is a key issue.
Throughout history, men and boys have been socialised to believe that being a man means attributes such as being tough, strong, successful, in control, and powerful. Attitudes that regard women as inferior and condone violence are also often associated with understandings of what it is to be a man.
But many boys and men want more than this, and we want to build the capacity of all boys and men to realise their hopes and aspirations, to form safe and respectful relationships, and to live healthy, full and productive lives.
The Men’s Project will take a big picture and holistic approach. It will promote positive change around gender norms and stereotypes and what it means to be a man in the 21st century.
This will include research into the issues facing boys and men. We will share this knowledge, advocate for change, and work with partners to develop interventions in schools, workplaces, sporting clubs, community groups and at home.
The Men’s Project will support boys and men to establish meaningful relationships, to build hopes and aspirations, and to fully realise their potential.
We will learn from and expand programs that build positive relationship skills and improve the wellbeing of boys and men. We will focus on contributing factors like mental health problems, substance abuse and social isolation. This will benefit not only boys and men but everyone in the community – children, women, friends and families.
The Men’s Project will develop innovative ways to stop cycles of violence and harmful behaviour among boys and men.
We will design, deliver and evaluate responses for boys and men from different cultural and geographic groups, young fathers and men who come into contact with the justice system. We will collaborate and build the capacity of others to reduce violent behaviour by boys and men.