Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

Trial Program for Separated Men

An innovative separated men’s program that will offer guidance in dealing with family law and child support matters will receive $180,000 from the Federal Government, Community Services Minister Larry Anthony announced today.

“The MENDS (Men Exploring New Directions after Separation) program will also focus on positive parenting practices, managing anger and grief, health and lifestyle information and emotional support,” said Mr Anthony.

“It will be trialed in Ipswich, Rockhampton and Cairns in Queensland, Tweed Heads, Penrith and Wagga Wagga in New South Wales, Shepparton, Knox and Traralgon in Victoria, Launceston in Tasmania and Noarlunga in South Australia.”

Mr Anthony said the trial program is part of the Government’s $16.5 million, four-year Men’s Initiative, that will provide services to support men at a range of relationship stages, including after separation.

“The Government is committed to establishing relationship support services specifically aimed at men,” Mr Anthony said.

Research has shown that separated men, particularly those whose relationships have ended against their wishes, continue to experience poor health and wellbeing up to 10 years after their divorce.

Rates of suicide among this group are also as much as six times higher than for married men.

“Separated men face particular difficulties in coming to terms with changing roles and responsibilities following the breakdown of their relationships,” Mr Anthony said.

“Men’s inability to cope with relationship breakdown can also have consequences for their ex-partners and children.

“There is evidence that women are at greater risk of domestic violence in the period just after they announce their intention to leave a relationship.

“The trial of this program clearly demonstrates the Government’s commitment to addressing separated men’s needs in a practical, responsive and relevant way.”