MEND [Men Ending Domestic Violence] is a programme for men, who have been violent or abusive within their intimate partner relationships. The primary aim of the programme is the safety and well-being of women and children. MEND deliver the National Choices Programme to support men to end their violent or abusive behaviour and become non-violent and respectful within their intimate partner relationships. The Programme involves one-to-one assessment and pre-group sessions followed by 25 group sessions. MEND also provides an integrated Partner Support Service for the partners or ex-partners or the men on the programme.
Help is available and can be found from the MEND programmes in Waterford, Wexford, South Tipperary and Carlow/Kilkenny, Laois/Offaly and Kildare.
To find out more you can contact the Confidential Phone Line on 051-878866 (available Mon-Fri 9am-5pm)
The MEND Programme offers a parallel one-to-one support service to partners or ex-partners of the men on the programme. If you are or have been in a violent/abusive relationship, here are some useful contacts:
Apart from the physical impact of violent behaviour on your partner, the psychological and emotional impact or abuse can be as damaging or even more damaging. Your partner may feel that she is “walking on eggshells” around you.
Adults often dismiss the impact of domestic violence or abuse on children. The truth is the impact is significant and the younger the child, the greater the impact.
Have you noticed that your children have begun to display any of the following behaviour?
Violent/abusive behaviour towards your partner will also take its toll on you and may well lead to depression, anxiety and high levels of stress. So your short-term need to be in control or vent your anger or rage will have long-term repercussions for you as well as your partner and children.
A whole new generation of children, including your own sons and daughters will benefit from the choices you make now.
While the primary aim of the Mend (men ending domestic abuse) Programme is the safety and welfare of women and children, the behaviour change programme offered to men who have been violent or abusive in their intimate partner relationships not only increases the safety of women and children but increases men’s capacity and willingness to behave in respectful and non-violent ways in their relationships, participation in the programme also has an impact on mental health e.g., lessening feelings of depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation.
The programmes begin with an assessment process where a man is assessed for his suitability for the programme. If a man is accepted onto the programme he will then complete a maximum of 10 one-to-one pre-group sessions before beginning the weekly group programme. Meetings will be held once a week and there is no cost to attend this service, however donations are always welcome.
This service is for men who want to change their abusive behaviour and to learn how to have relationships that are based on love and trust. Meetings will be held in a non-judgmental setting for men who want to change their behaviour and improve their relationships.
Men will be encouraged to be self-aware, self-reflective and will be appropriately and constructively challenged about their abusive behaviour and supported to make changes that will keep their partners or ex-partners, their children and themselves safe.
When you have acknowledged what is happening and although you probably feel bad about your behaviour, there is often a resistance to taking steps to get support to change this behaviour. It is normal to feel nervous or anxious about disclosing to another person behaviour we are not proud of and would rather keep hidden.
Here are some of the benefits of taking action for change now:
If you take action to change your violent/abusive behaviour, your levels of stress or anxiety will decrease over time
If you take action now, you will find support and practical help to change your behavior
If you put into practice what you learn, you will be a much safer man to be with for your partner and children
If you learn to treat those around you in a respectful and non-violent way, you will be more at peace with yourself and this will change the circumstances of your life for the better
What is likely to happen if you don’t take action for change now:
You will probably begin to place the blame on your partner or your children because you will need to find some way to feel better about yourself. You will find yourself thinking; “If only she didn’t nag me so much, I wouldn’t lose the head”, “she’s always pushing my buttons”, “if only the place wasn’t such a mess and the children so loud” etc.
You will probably begin to justify your actions: “I have a short fuse”, “I just pop when the pressure gets too much”, “If I didn’t have money worries, this would never happen”
You may promise yourself and others that it will never happen again but if you haven’t taken responsibility for your behavior and taken steps to change that behavior then it will happen again.