Airdate: Call Me Dad

ABC will air a doco which looks at whether a man can change from being the perpetrator of family violence.


ABC will air a one hour doco Call Me Dad which looks at whether a man can change from being the perpetrator of family violence.

This will screen later this month in the same week as Sarah Ferguson’s doco Hitting Home.

Call Me Dad is a story about men who have perpetrated, or are at risk of perpetrating, family violence. At stake is the safety of children and partners, the stability of families, and the power we as a society have to intervene. These men struggle to maintain intimate relationships without resorting to abuse, physical or otherwise. We follow these men as they take part in a Men’s Behaviour Change Program and attempt to take responsibility for their violence, change themselves – and perhaps heal fragile bonds with their loved ones.

The Heavy M.E.T.A.L (Men’s Education Towards Anger and Life) Group in Melbourne’s outer eastern suburbs is a 16-week course aimed at fathers who are perpetrators of family violence. It seeks to educate and support men as they confront their past behaviours and attempt to develop strategies to be better fathers and partners and start repairing their most precious relationships.

Heavy M.E.T.A.L founder and facilitator David Nugent believes women and children have the right to live their lives free from violence. He also believes men can change if they have the will and opportunity to do so. David’s program focuses on making men accountable to women and children. He challenges men to take ownership of their abusive and violent behaviours and shows them that they can make different choices.

David has been both a victim and perpetrator of family violence. As a boy David witnessed his own father control and abuse his mother. As an adult David started to inflict the very same behaviours towards his partner. Referred to a Men’s Behaviour Change Program, David found the experience so transformative he vowed to dedicate his life to helping others achieve the same growth and change. David works alongside cofacilitator Jacqui Seamark, herself a survivor of domestic violence. Jacqui sees her role as bringing the voices of the women into the room, provoking the participants to consider how their partners may have been made to feel powerless, frightened, ashamed or isolated by abuse.

Three course participants drive the film’s central narrative, as they reach for change both inside and outside of the group. With intimate access to this highly confidential process and its brave participants, the audience is taken on a high stakes, extraordinary journey as three men reach for the simple and immeasurable privilege of being a ‘Dad’.

A Media Stockade production. Written and directed by Sophie Wiesner. Produced by Madeleine Hetherton, Rebecca Barry, Sophie Wiesner. Associate Producer Ester Harding. ABC Commissioning Editor Andrea Ulbrick

Thursday 26 November, 8.30pm on ABC.

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