Paula Andersen

Biography

Paula Andersen has 10 years’ experience supporting marginalised adults and families. Throughout Paula’s career she has supported women who have experienced family violence. Paula is currently the Trial Manager for +SHIFT, a therapeutic, trauma informed, strengths-based group program that supports women who have used force in their intimate relationships. Prior to Paula’s work at Baptcare, she was Team Leader of the ‘Out of the Dark’ program, a psycho-educational group program that supports women in prison.

Abstract

Positive Shift (+SHIFT): An innovative program for women who use force (Interactive Workshop)

Family violence is an endemic and pernicious issue confronting our communities. Although it is widely recognised that men are responsible for most family violence perpetration, less understood is women’s use of force against their intimate partners and how this affects their children. Particularly challenging is how to address the issue.

This interactive workshop provides an understanding of women’s use of force and its complexities, more specifically its impacts on children. Considerable attention is paid to Baptcare and Berry Street’s collaborative work in the +SHIFT program about women’s use of force. Special attention is paid to women’s use of force and its impacts on children and family functioning. +SHIFT endeavours to address women’s continuum of behaviours from a young age and into adulthood and to further support women who have used force in their intimate relationships. +SHIFT recognises that women often feel shame about how their behaviour has hurt their children.

The program supports women to reflect on how violence has impacted their parenting strategies, the wellbeing of their children and how family violence has impacted their children’s lives. Early data from +SHIFT indicates participants recognise their use of force has impacted their parenting whereby Child Protection involvement has been prevalent, mother/ child relationships have been fractured and their use of force has impacted family functioning.

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