Positive relationships program encourages Limestone Coast men to change track

THREE Mount Gambier agencies have partnered to deliver the Changing Tracks group program for men with the aim of encouraging positive relationships and preventing negative behaviour, including domestic violence.

Mount Gambier’s own not-for-profit broad human services agency ac.care will lead the new joint initiative in collaboration with Baptist Care SA and The South East Junction.

Changing Tracks is a weekly group program encouraging men to learn skills to communicate in a healthy and effective manner, reduce stress and avoid unhealthy coping mechanisms.

Participants can share stories with others in similar situations and access support in a respectful, safe and confidential environment.

Individual counselling is also made available to work through issues and address the source of any unhealthy behaviour.

ENROL/FIND OUT MORE: Changing Tracks – ac.care (accare.org.au)

POSITIVE PARTNERSHIP: Changing Tracks co-facilitators Terri Patching and Laurena Byers launch the positive relationships initiative for men and secondary school students with Baptist Care SA Limestone Coast area manager John Merrett, ac.care Family Relationship Centre manager Lindy-Lou Badger and The South East Junction coordinator Nel Jans.

“Changing Tracks is all about encouraging men to make better choices and learn to communicate in a healthy, effective and safe manner,” centre manager Lindy-Lou Badger said.

“Family and domestic violence and abusive or unbalanced relationships are a cycle – Changing Tracks interrupts that cycle and helps prevent it from perpetuating.”

The Junction coordinator Nel Jans said the program would help participants identify, establish and maintain healthy, positive relationships.

Baptist Care SA Limestone Coast area manager John Merrett welcomed the partnership between the three agencies to deliver the important men’s behaviour program.

“Facilitators hope to motivate change in men’s lives and promote compassionate relationships free from abuse,” he said.

Staff involved in the program are also extending its impact to youth, with a focus on educating young men about appropriate behaviour to form respectful relationships early in adulthood.

“We are working on implementing a version of the Changing Tracks course tailored to Mount Gambier secondary school students, contributing to their South Australian Certificate of Education, as well as the Shark Cage program to empower young women to build positive relationships and self-respect,” Ms Badger said.

Changing Tracks has been supported with a Stand Like Stone Foundation grant backed by OneFortyOne Plantations.

ac.care chief executive Shane Maddocks said implementation of the programs was part of the agency’s broad approach to supporting country people to build positive relationships.

“It is important to provide tools for people to identify and practice respectful behaviour as a key step in decreasing domestic and family violence,” Mr Maddocks said.

“We welcome this opportunity to collaborate with fellow organisations in the South East as by working together we can increase our impact.”

For more information about participating in the group program, one-on-one sessions or for details of school-based services, call the ac.care Family Relationship Centre on 1800 880 913.

More information and confidential enrolment is available at www.accare.org.au/changing-tracks