NOT IN OUR TOWN: Tash Fee at the Women's Health Centre says having three abusive partners put their hand up for help is encouraging. Contributed: Leaf Creative.
NOT IN OUR TOWN: Tash Fee at the Women's Health Centre says having three abusive partners put their hand up for help is encouraging. Contributed: Leaf Creative. T Leaf Creative

Abusive partners come looking for help

THE Women's Health Centre in Gladstone is used to taking in victims of domestic of violence --- it happens every day.

But last week manager Tash Fee said three perpetrators of domestic violence came into the centre, seeking help.

"This is a turn around," Ms Fee said.

It takes a massive amount of courage for these men to put their hands up and ask for help

"We might be labelled as the Women's Health Centre but we're funded for women and their families and that definitely includes partners.

"For men to come out and ask for help is really encouraging," Ms Fee said.

Although Ms Fee couldn't quite put her finger on why these three men decided to come in to the centre all of a sudden, she felt that maybe the veil of secrecy around domestic violence had been somewhat lifted.

"It could be a combination of things," she said.

"I don't know if it's because domestic violence is on the radar or if perpetrators are wanting to save their relationships.

"Either way Gladstone feels like a pressure cooker at the moment and there's no release valve," she said.

Ms Fee said the men had called the centre first to arrange an appointment to come in and from there staff have provided counselling and worked on anger management techniques.

"We try to explain to them that we don't take sides and that they have just as much of an opportunity to tell their side of the story," Ms Fee said.

"This is the first step in the right direction and it takes a massive amount of courage for these men to put their hands up and ask for help."

This year 19 women in Australia have died at the hands of an abusive partner.

As of next year the Women's Health Centre will receive money to fund a perpetrator program.

"It's disappointing that we have to provide these services and it can be upsetting but you've got to put your personal feelings aside," Ms Fee said.

Either way Gladstone feels like a pressure cooker at the moment and there's no release valve

"Especially for me as a victim it can be emotional to come face to face with someone who did something similar to what happen to me."

With these three men owning up to their abuse, it may be an indication that the message may finally be sinking in.

"This is all about what we're doing with our 'Not in our Town' campaign," Ms Fee said.

"We've got to get the community engaged in domestic violence and to encourage people to stop being bystanders and start being protectors.

"It's about the community taking ownership and saying: 'That's not we do in our town'," she said. 



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