Many fatherhood programs that have domestic violence education programs encourage fathers to be role models for their children, families, and community. Some fatherhood programs use alumni networks or ambassador programs in which former participants go out into the community to emphasize the importance of non-violence. Engaging men as allies in domestic violence prevention is essential.
Men are not always included in discussions on prevention and are often only discussed as the abusers. However, it is important to include men in conversations and strategies aimed at preventing domestic violence. This shifts the focus from solely looking at men as abusers to viewing them as key actors in ending the culture of violence towards women. Fatherhood programs can offer guidance and support to fathers by partnering with domestic violence advocates to engage fathers in prevention. This page provides fatherhood programs with tips and resources that can help you to engage fathers and men as allies in domestic violence prevention.
Tips & Best Practices
- October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month. The NRFC posts helpful resources all month to support fatherhood programs and families in prevention work. Fatherhood programs can find tips on how to address domestic violence in their programs from the resources shared throughout the month of October.
- Learn of perspectives held by domestic violence prevention advocates, batterer program representatives, and fatherhood program representatives to better equip a fatherhood program. This report shares participants’ views on the prevalence of domestic violence and the characteristics of fathers attending fatherhood programs, barriers to collaborative work between fatherhood and men's groups and domestic violence groups, and other helpful information.
- Understand how men and fathers perpetuate, are affected by, and are victims of domestic violence. This guide also discusses the effects on women and children, and ways to engage men in addressing this grave and complex issue facing many families.
Domestic violence includes a mental component that makes it shrouded in deception, shame, and humiliation; making it extremely difficult to detect, accept, and even more challenging to seek assistance after victimization. Some perceptions of masculinity suggest men cannot be victims, vulnerable, or should not have a reasonable fear of injury or death. These misconceptions fortify the abusers objectives of violence, domination, and control.
While the thought of revealing and reliving painful experiences may seem to be a daunting task, remaining silent could have fatal consequences. Thousands of men report being abused, and fortunately there are service providers that ensure that men are treated with the same dignity, compassion, and respect as all victims of crime.
What makes a good ally?
Many violence prevention programs highlight that an ally listens and is present, explaining any reasoning for not being able to show up for the person you are supporting. An ally provides useful information, but allows the person seeking help to choose which option is best for them. An ally takes a chance on reaching out and showing support. Lastly, a good ally will also get support for themselves because it is just as important to take care of yourself even when you are caring for others.
What does an ally do?
An ally serves as a support system for victims and survivors. Giving support can look different for every person. An important component of being an ally is standing up for the people who are subjected to violence. Speaking up and calling out inappropriate actions is a strong first step to be an ally
How can cultural differences impact advocacy for domestic violence?
Survivors and advocates for survivors can come from various cultural backgrounds. This can impact personal reactions and beliefs towards domestic violence. It is important for any program to consider cultural competency trainings as part of domestic violence prevention work