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Stop men's violence at the source: psychologist

STEMMING THE TIDE: Ex-Bundaberg psychologist Dr Brian Sullivan believes violent men need rehabilitating to stop family violence.
STEMMING THE TIDE: Ex-Bundaberg psychologist Dr Brian Sullivan believes violent men need rehabilitating to stop family violence. Eliza Goetze

DR BRIAN Sullivan calls it "the river effect".

Think of domestic violence victims as a waterfall of people, who the community is trying to save, the ex-Bundaberg psychologist says.

"We need to go upstream and see what is causing the problem."

Dr Sullivan, who spent three years with Bundaberg community care group Centacare in the late 1990s, is now working at the source on a program that is heading here - the sooner the better, advocates agree.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports both women and men are more likely to experience violence at the hands of men; about 95% of all victims of violence report a male perpetrator.

While men are more likely to experience violence by other men in public places, women are more likely to experience violence from men they know, often in the home, and the overwhelming majority of acts of domestic violence and sexual assault are by men against women.

Dr Sullivan oversees the YFS Domestic Violence Program in Logan including the men's behavioural change program, Responsible Men.

He spoke about the challenges in changing violent behaviour before Rosie Batty took the stage at the Moncrieff on Wednesday.

The 16-week program was "short", considering most violent men developed their behaviour over a lifetime.

"So often when it ends, they say, 'I was just getting into this - what now?'"

There were 23,000 domestic violence order breaches in Queensland last year, 1500 in Wide Bay.

Around 1000 men enter intervention programs each year - fewer complete them.

Edon Place president Ken Hendry said he hoped Bundaberg would begin its own program soon.

Topics:  domestic violence dr brian sullivan family violence men violence


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