“Troublemaker cards”: Introducing new and objectifying language for responsibility-taking in men’s DV groups and for the prevention of future violence and abuse

Stream: Working With Men/ Perpetrators to Address Violence against Women
Date: Wednesday, 11 February 2015
Time: 3.15 pm – 5.00 pm


Working in groups with men who have participated in violence and aggression towards family members can be a challenging environment. Using “Troublemaker Cards” I am inviting the men to explore the culturally endorsed practices that support violence and abuse by introducing them to language that enables them to reflect upon, shape and transform their experiences. While language that minimises their responsibility-taking for their actions is available and ubiquitous, the “Troublemakers Cards” offers an alternative and promotes the gendered and political understandings of violence in a respectful parallel journey of discovery. The objectifying language used for these “Troublemakers” (i.e. ‘Judging’, ‘Ownership’ or ‘Mr Fix-it’) keep the men’s identities separate from these practices and yet supports an attentiveness to their relationship with them. The “Troublemakers” are deconstructed and with the effects explored, the cards invite the men to argue against having a close relationship as they may get into “trouble”. Anecdotal evidence suggests that men are able to separate themselves from these practices and articulate how this led to past abuse/violence and how they will prevent potential future abuses. The men are also invited to explore alternative preferred practices, empathic ideas and the broader male prescriptions that are connected to the “Troublemakers”.


Ryan Greenwell (Presenter), Relationships Australia WA
As a qualified Social Worker from Perth, Western Australia, I have had 6 years experience working with young people and in child protection in Western Australia that included the supervision of Social Work students. I have been working in the context of group work in men's domestic violence for over 2 years where I am running two groups a week. In 2014 I studied in the inaugural Master degree in Narrative Therapy and Community Work at the University of Melbourne from where I have driven innovations in men's DV groupwork.