How We Work
SafeMan SafeFamily works to help men break the cycle of violence through a process of recovery which is life-changing, life-long and transferable. Participants become men skilled up to create positive legacies that their families and communities can be proud of.
SafeMan SafeFamily does outreach work in various locations to help men break free of the cycle of violence. We go to gang headquarters, factories, sports clubs, community events, maraes – any community where violence may be present, to connect with men who need help.
Please contact us if you have a need for outreach services.
A Programme that ‘Walks the Talk’
The SafeMan SafeFamily programme is built on a peer-to-peer network of ‘Safe Men’ – former perpetrators who have been on a journey of recovery from lives of violence, and are now “safe”. They play a mentoring role, providing outreach and engagement, and ongoing coaching and support, similar to the 12-step AA model.
Participants are supported to share their own story, or replay the ‘video of their own life’. They uncover their own personal history, and the cause of the violence and abuse they perpetrated. In the vast majority of cases, this involves them realising that they were themselves victims of violence growing up. They come to realise how they’ve internalised the hurt that this caused them and have since dealt with life difficulties the only way that they learnt how—by violence. They realise and accept that this has led to them unintentionally grow up continuing the violent intergenerational cycle. This understanding helps motivate them to stop.
Along this journey of uncovering, through the weeks of the SMSF Stopping Violence Programme, participants are guided to discover tools, skills and different ways of communicating to be able to deal with difficult situations and conflict, and control their emotions through this process they start on a journey to recover from the effects and impacts violence has had on them, and learn how they can share this recovery with others.
The full programme is made up of 18 sessions, with a maximum of 20 participants, and a minimum of two facilitators. These facilitated group modules are designed to help men understand the roots of family violence, and give them tools and skills to manage conflict in healthy ways. Eventually, a man who is far enough advanced in his own recovery to be deemed ‘safe’ by their own family, has the opportunity to become a mentor to other men undergoing the same journey.
Making real connections
For these men, working with peers who have “walked in their shoes”, and mirror their actions and experiences, is often the only thing that breaks through the violence cycle. This is supported by recent research that shows that for a significant number of men, contact with an appropriate mentor was the turning point that incited their journey of change and recovery. Other research indicates that people who complete 75% of a stopping violence programme are 80% less likely to continue perpetuating violence.
This important knowledge highlights what for us is the missing piece of the complex family violence puzzle – that peer engagement is the key both to get these men into such programmes, and to help them stay the course.
Helping men get back on track
When these men are engaged and work with peers who can look them in the eye, and say “I’ve been there, in that dark place, but I made it out. I’ll help you out, too,” it breaks down lifelong barriers. It gets through to men who’ve literally been hard-wired in childhood to use violence habitually. This is how we reach these men, and tackle family violence at its core – the perpetrators – who we acknowledge are just people, like us, at the end of the day.
– A man who was once just a kid with hopes and dreams.
– A kid who never wanted to grow up into the man he became.
– A kid who trusted his parents to show him the way, and was betrayed and broken when no one stepped in for him.
– A kid who never really stood a chance.
We are stepping in to help them now, so their own children will not have to walk the same path.
This should never be normal.