Parenting interventions for fathers who use violence

About this review

This Intervention Review is primarily based on 0 systematic reviews and 12 primary studies.

The review draws on the best available impact evaluation evidence. The research was selected against set selection criteria and is based on a rigorous and comprehensive search and screening process. It does not necessarily reflect all evidence on the intervention, but further materials on this intervention are listed under Additional resources.

See the Response Evidence and Gap Map to explore similar interventions. For detail about the individual studies, see the Included studies section. For further information about the methods informing this review, please see the Intervention Review Technical Report (forthcoming).

Suggested citation: ANROWS. (2023). Parenting interventions for fathers who use violence. Evidence Portal Intervention Review. ANROWS.

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Date Created: 06 September, 2023
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At a glance

Intervention

Parenting-based behaviour change programs for perpetrators

Population

Adult men who use intimate partner violence (IPV) and have children under the age of 18 who experience parental IPV

Outcomes studied

Child outcomes, gender-based violence, health, knowledge, beliefs and attitudes, parenting, and wellbeing and emotions

Impact of the intervention

Coming soon

Australian evidence

3 studies presented findings from Australia. 0 studies reported on the experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Risk of bias

Most studies were rated as high risk of bias as determined by our Risk of Bias tool

Intervention description

Parenting-based behavioural change programs for perpetrators aim to end intimate partner violence, improve parenting practices and strengthen relationships between fathers and their children who had been exposed to parental intimate partner violence.

Interventions target adult men who use intimate partner violence and have children under the age of 18 who are exposed to parental intimate partner violence.

Interventions generally follow a set program of between 12 and 24 weeks and incorporate various approaches, formats and components:


What does the intervention involve?
How is the intervention delivered?

By mental health or child protection professionals, individual & group formats. Usually in person

Where is the intervention set?

Child protection, mental health and substance use treatment settings

What resources and costs are involved?

0 studies comment on costs associated with the intervention

How frequently is the intervention delivered?

Programs vary, but range between weekly sessions of 1-2 hours across 12-24 weeks

Theory of change

How is the intervention designed or theorised to work?

The programs are generally based on cognitive behavioural therapy and motivational models of intervention.

Some studies argue that focusing on men’s roles as fathers and their relationship with their children provides motivation for men to engage with an intervention to address their violent behaviour and change dysfunctional patterns of communication and interactions in their relationships.

Impact section coming soon

Effectiveness rating
Outcome
Description

Key populations

This review assessed the impact of the intervention on adult men who use intimate partner violence and have children under the age of 18 who are exposed to parental intimate partner violence.

Some programs target men with at least one biological child with whom they have some contact (i.e., by phone, in-person, or by letters). Attendance in the programs is voluntary for most participants but mandated for some.

This intervention is not targeted to any specific cultural or ethnic groups, or towards people with physical or mental disabilities or health conditions.

The table below gives an overview of whether or not the intervention was examined with some key populations. The inclusion of these populations was guided by the National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-2032 and the Australian National Research Agenda to End Violence against Women and Children: 2023-2028.


🔴 = no studies
🟡 = at least 1 study mentions that population, but effectiveness wasn't tested with that population
🟢 = at least 1 study tests effectiveness with the population

Population What do we know about this group? Degree of knowledge
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

0 studies. The appropriateness of this intervention with this population has not yet been established. Therefore, we cannot confirm the applicability of this intervention to this population

Sexuality and gender diverse / LGBTIQA+

0 studies. The appropriateness of this intervention with this population has not yet been established. Therefore, we cannot confirm the applicability of this intervention to this population

Specific age groups (including older people, children and young people)

0 studies. The appropriateness of this intervention with this population has not yet been established. Therefore, we cannot confirm the applicability of this intervention to this population

Culturally and racially marginalised (CARM) groups

0 studies. The appropriateness of this intervention with this population has not yet been established. Therefore, we cannot confirm the applicability of this intervention to this population

Migrants and refugees

0 studies. The appropriateness of this intervention with this population has not yet been established. Therefore, we cannot confirm the applicability of this intervention to this population

People with disability

0 studies. The appropriateness of this intervention with this population has not yet been established. Therefore, we cannot confirm the applicability of this intervention to this population

Key considerations

This section summarises factors that may contribute to study results, factors that may be considered to facilitate better outcomes, and the transferability of the intervention to an Australian context.

What do we know about the intervention in Australia?


What should Australian stakeholders consider?

Included studies

Characteristics of primary studies included in the Intervention Review
Study and location Design Intervention Sample Outcome categories
Broady (2017) Australia Qualitative Taking Responsibility, group parenting and therapy Duration and format: 18 weeks Setting: Community services N=21
Men who had used intimate partner violence
Gender-based violence, parenting and parent-child or/infant interaction
Diemer (2020) Australia Single group pre-post study
Qualitative data: Yes
Caring Dads, group parenting
Duration and format: 17 weekly sessions
Setting: Child protection services
N=174
Men who had used intimate partner violence
Gender-based violence, health, knowledge, beliefs and attitudes, parenting and parent-child or/infant interaction, social and material support, wellbeing and emotions
Hine et al. (2022) Australia Single group pre-post study
Qualitative data: No
Caring Dads, group parenting
Duration and format: 16x2-hour weekly group sessions and 1 individual session
Setting: Child protection services
N=57
Men who had used intimate partner violence
Detection of violence, screening and support, gender-based violence, parenting and parent-child or/infant
McCracken & Deave (2012) United Kingdom Single group pre-post study
Qualitative data: Yes
Caring Dads Cymru, group parenting
Duration and format: 22 weekly sessions Setting: Not reported
N=26
Men who had used intimate partner violence, mean age 37
Gender-based violence, knowledge, beliefs and attitudes and parenting and parent-child or/infant interaction
McConnell et al. (2017) United Kingdom Single group pre-post study
Qualitative data: No
Caring Dads, group parenting
Duration and format: 17 weekly sessions
Setting: Child protection services
N=98
Men who had used intimate partner violence
Gender-based violence, parenting and parent-child or/infant interaction, wellbeing and emotions
Scott et al. (2021) Canada Non-randomised controlled trial
Comparison: Waitlist
Qualitative data: No
Caring Dads, group parenting
Duration and format: Not reported
Setting: Child protection services
N=185
Men who had used intimate partner violence
Detection of violence, screening and support, gender-based violence, parenting and parent-child or/infant interaction
Stover (2011) United States Randomised controlled trial
Comparison: Another active intervention
Qualitative data: No
Substance abuse and domestic violence treatment program, group therapy
Duration and format: 12x90-minute weekly sessions
Setting: Drug and alcohol service
N=69
Men who had used intimate partner violence
Gender-based violence, health
Stover (2015) United States Randomised controlled trial
Comparison: Another active intervention
Qualitative data: No
Fathers for Change, individual therapy
Duration and format: 4 months
Setting: Child protection services
N=19
Men who had used intimate partner violence
Gender-based violence, health, parenting and parent-child or/infant interaction
Stover et al. (2017) United States Single group pre-post study
Qualitative data: Yes
Fathers for Change, individual therapy
Duration and format: 16x1-hour sessions
Setting: Drug and alcohol services
N=44
Men who had used intimate partner violence, mean age 30
Wellbeing and emotions
Stover et al. (2019) United States Randomised controlled trial
Comparison: Another active intervention
Qualitative data: No
Fathers for Change, individual therapy
Duration and format: 12x1-hour weekly sessions, with 4 voluntary booster sessions
Setting: Drug and alcohol services
N=504 Men who had used intimate partner violence, mean age 33.5 Gender-based violence, health, parenting and parent-child or/infant interaction, wellbeing and emotions
Stover et al. (2020) United States Single group pre-post study
Qualitative data: No
Fathers for Change, individual therapy
Duration and format: 18x1-hour group sessions over 18-24 weeks
Setting: Mental health service
N=504
Men who had used intimate partner violence, mean age 33.5
Gender-based violence, health, parenting and parent-child or/infant interaction, wellbeing and emotions

References and further reading

This Intervention Review was created by drawing on the following included studies:

Quantitative impact evaluations


Quantitative single group pre-post studies and qualitative studies:

Additional evidence on the intervention

This list contains other evidence that was not eligible for the Intervention Review based on our selection criteria but may provide further information regarding the intervention.