FPI in Australia

Family Peace Initiative in Australia, Nov, 2022



Steve Halley and Dorthy Stucky Halley, founders of FPI, have been working in the field for over 30 years, and in that time have developed an approach to perpetrator intervention work that is trauma responsive, uses therapeutic skill, responds to different motivations for violence, and creates second order change. Here’s some of the key ideas:

  • Their River of Cruelty model acknowledges how people’s experience of cruelty and trauma can play a central role in the choice to perpetrate abuse on others. 
  • Transformational change is possible when a person’s trauma history and its connection to their perpetration of violence can be explored in a safe space with skilled therapeutic facilitation
  • Effective facilitation in DFV intervention programs involves: leading by example the and responsible use of vulnerability, facilitating dialogue that focusses on internal experience, emotional awareness and beliefs about self 
  • Understanding the motives for perpetration of violence enhances risk assessment and effective safety planning in both victim/survivor advocacy and intervention with those using violence.
  • Combining cognitive-behavioural and trauma-focused evidence-based strategies offers a process for both accountability and healing

They have taken their work into a number of different contexts and developed programs to suit the differing needs of several client populations: men, LGBTQ, women, youth, in community, prison, probation and parole and other contexts.

You can catch them at the following events:

Calendar of Events

9 - 11 November: SPEAQ Forum 2022 Breaking the mould: progressing our responses to diversity

Location: Cairns Colonial Club, Cairns

Steve and Dorthy are providing a number of sessions at the Forum:

  • Wed: Special Film Screening - Behind the Rage: America's Domestic Violence
    • A special advance screening of a new documentary by award-winning filmmaker and activist Deeyah Khan. Includes soul-searching interviews with perpetrators of DFV and their partners and provides a glimpse of FPIs work. Followed by a conversation with Steve and Dorthy about their experience with the making of the film (9 pm - 9:30 pm). This session is free for Forum attendees and local DFV sector staff. You can view a trailer in this recent media article from the UK.
  • Thurs: Facilitating discussions in the Practitioner Hot Topics session, on the following topics:
    • The place of self-disclosure in facilitation of behaviour change groups (Steve)
    • What unique challenges and opportunities do you face as the only woman in the room? What helps you to hold this role well? (Dorthy)
    • What might elevate risk during participation in a programme and how can we mitigate this? (Dorthy)
    • What leads to transformational change in those who perpetrate DFV, and how can we strengthen this in our practice? (Steve)
  • Friday: The River of Cruelty model: a trauma responsive approach to interventions with perpetrators of DFV
    • A presentation exploring the River of Cruelty model used by FPI in their intervention work with those perpetrating DFV
  • Friday: Exploring Motive: Examining Different Dangers and Risks for Victims of Domestic and Family Violence from a Victim Advocate Perspective
    • A presentation introducing FPI’s typology of motive, and its implication for risk assessment and response for victim advocates.

15 - 16 November: The Art of Facilitation

Location: Quaker Meeting House, Kelvin Grove, Brisbane

Facilitation training for DFV intervention work: This evidence-based, trauma-focused training is FPI’s foundational course, packed full of skills and ideas that can be immediately implemented in perpetrator intervention and victim advocacy. Participants will learn the River of Cruelty model, leading by example, the power of self-disclosure, increasing introspection, the process of healing from trauma and much more!


17 - 18 November: The Affective Component

Location: Quaker Meeting House, Kelvin Grove, Brisbane

Facilitation training for DFV intervention work: This training builds upon the skills learned in The Art of Facilitation, but can also be taken separately. Participants learn how to manage emotional spaces and witness the transformational growth that can come from this approach. This includes the enlightened witness, shadow process, FPI’s emotional funnel, working with adverse feelings, addressing shame and defense systems, and more!


21 November: Cracking the Code: Understanding Motives of those Who Perpetrate Domestic and Family Violence and the Connection to Risk and Lethality

Location: Karstens Level 24/215 Adelaide St, Brisbane City QLD 4000, Australia

Sponsored by WorkUp Queensland

This event is currently being finalised - further information will be available on this blog post as soon as it is available.

This 6-hour presentation “cracks the code” on domestic and family violence perpetrator behaviour, presenting an evidence-informed understanding of their differences based on motive. This is ideal for perpetrator intervention professionals, advocates, child safety case managers, therapists, magistrates, lawyers and other professionals working with domestic violence concerns. Those with different motives display different behaviours and present different dangers to their victims and children. Through the use of videos and case examples, this information unlocks a deeper and more nuanced understanding of domestic violence, and provides practical information that can improve safety planning with victims and children, and intervention efforts with persons using violence.


25 November: Cracking the Code: Understanding Motives of those Who Perpetrate Domestic and Family Violence and the Connection to Risk and Lethality

Location: Newcastle, NSW TBD