The Bethany Community Support Men’s Family Violence Intervention Centre is supporting the local and broader Geelong Community

In May 1868, Bethany opened its doors for the first time. Known as the Geelong Female Refuge, the centre was established to provide refuge and rehabilitation to the poor women of Geelong. As political, social and economic trends have changed over the past 150 years, so have the needs of the community. Bethany now offer more diverse services not just tailored for women.

The Geelong Community Foundation recently provided the $105,000 Adroit Golf Day Capital Grant to Bethany for the Men’s Family Violence Intervention Centre. Bethany Men’s Family Violence Centre was established in April 2018. The Men’s Centre offers men’s behaviour change groups, currently the centre is running four groups a week. Two of those groups are for corrections Victoria, they are legally mandated to these men. The other two groups come from referral sources or are ‘socially mandated.’

Men are provided support in addressing their primary decision to use violence within their relationships. In addition, they have a broad range of access to services and to address dynamic risk factors associated with their choice to use violence. These factors are often drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, using illicit substances, homelessness or at risk of being homeless, problem gambling behaviours and poor mental health. It is about understanding how dynamic risk factors interact with the decision to use violence.

Bernadette McCartney is a representative for Bethany. “We have had a really good response from the men. What I think the men like about the centre is the discrete location and the way the environment inside the centre is set up. It is well placed and designed to provide a response to men that is supportive, professional and engaging. The centre and its staff are here for the men to engage with, we wanted to create an environment which was very much about welcoming them in and providing a comfortable environment, but also for the staff as well. We feel like we have done that.”

In addition to the suite of specialist men’s family services that Bethany provides, the organisation has received funding for two new services, cross-sector coordination and the development of practice guidelines for men who perpetrate family violence and also present with a cognitive impairment. The cross-sector coordination program is designed to work with the men and the providers that are working with them, ensuring that risk management plans are fundamentally addressed for the treatment of that man. Bethany is developing a trial for cognitive impairment. It is the first of its kind in Australia. This could include an acquired brain injury, traumatic brain injury or moderate to high-level intellectual disability. Roughly 30% of the men that come through the centre have a cognitive impairment. The concepts that we are attempting to teach the men, are concepts which are not easily taught or understood by many people. Bernadette said teaching this to men with a cognitive impairment is even more difficult.

Bernadette said “Bethany is incredibly grateful for the funding provided through Adroit and the Geelong Community Foundation and other fundraisers and sponsors. The more community support, and awareness we can raise around the issue demystifies and debunks a number of myths that circle around about family violence.”

Grants and donations have an extremely powerful impact on the community. If you would like more information or to make a donation to Geelong Community Foundation, please go to

If you would like more information on Bethany Men’s Family Violence Intervention Centre, go to

Bethany are celebrating their 150th year anniversary, with the annual Bethany Ball fundraiser. If you would like to attend this fantastic event book here!