Step Up Ballarat

CAFS delivers one of only three adolescent family violence programs in Victoria and was instrumental in the development and implementation of this program.

About the Program

With the support of the Ian Potter Foundation and the Department of Health and Human Services, this program continues to grow after receiving ongoing funding from the department. Based on a United States program called Step Up, this CAFS program provides intensive outreach work to adolescents aged 12 to 18 years and their families to address the violence and abuse perpetrated by the adolescents. In addition to the outreach work, the program delivers a 10-week group work program for both the adolescents and their parents, provides individual counselling and support, conducts a thorough assessment of the behaviour of the adolescents and develops a referral pathway to other community-based support services.

The program is in the final stages of an 18-month evaluation and the findings will determine the program’s future. Step Up testimonials from some participants in the program:

The Step Up practitioners gave continual communication, backup and support – Parent.

…helped me out. I’m able to control my thoughts and talk about what was going on with Mum – Adolescent.

Better communication, better ways to deal with situations before they get out of hand – Adolescent.

We discuss more regularly, and use consequences. Step Up has been brilliant with the regular contact – Parent.

The program has been good. I’m more assertive; he’s more restricted now on things he does. He’s certainly come a long way. I’ve stepped up now; I’m being more in charge – Parent.


Tim was referred to Step Up via a clinical psychologist

The referral reported that Tim had emotional dysregulation and behavioural difficulties, with long-standing “unfavourable” childhood experiences impacting on his poor capacity to manage his anger. Tim had experienced family violence throughout his childhood.

He was reported to have been verbally and physically aggressive to his family and other students at school on a regular basis, which included threats to harm people. There were added concerns that he was at heightened risk to himself because of his reckless and impulsive behaviour.

To access the service, please contact our office on 5337 3333 or email