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Toolkit for Men: Male counselling in the context of intimate partner violence

The Toolkit for Men can be used for counselling abusers who want to stop intimate partner violence and become a more respectful partner. This toolkit was developed and piloted in South Africa and Indonesia by Rutgers in partnership with 3 partner organisations in these countries.

Engaging men

Gender-based violence has an enormous impact on the dignity, autonomy and health of women and children, affecting all aspects of life and development. Female victims of intimate partner violence ofther stress that they still love their partner, even though he hits them or forces them to do things against their will. “I don’t want the relationship to end... I want the violence to stop!”, is a common outcry of victims.

Increasingly, women's organisations have come to realise that addressing and counselling abusive men is an important part of the solution. In various parts of the world, there is growing awareness that gender-based violence interventions should also target men in order to break the cycle of violence


Zuid-Afrikaanse mannen


In 2007, three partner organisations and one regional office (Indonesia) came together to discuss the issue of gender-based violence. This meeting led to a partnership between Rutgers (Netherlands, Indonesia), Mosaic Training, Service and Healing Centre for Women in South Africa, and Rifka Annisa and WCC Bengkulu in Indonesia. Together, they initiated the development of an intervention programme focused on behaviour change for male clients involved in intimate partner violence: the Male Counselling Programme. 

Toolkit for Men

The Toolkit for Men was published In the framework of this programme. A few months after the toolkit had been launched in South Africa (in late 2011), the Indonesian edition appeared, in May 2012. The toolkit offers the building blocks for a programme of 12 individual counselling sessions. It consists of a number of manuals aimed at counsellors and at facilitators who train counsellors.


Parts of these manuals can be downloaded below. There are also the manual, Guidelines for Implementation & Adaptation, to guide organisations who are interested in starting a counselling programme for men who are using violence. 

Manhood under pressure

Violence in the home is often considered the expression of frustration. Many men experience an inner conflict between forsaking the traditional role of being a real man - defined by domination and agressiveness - and a new, still to be defined male identity. Abusive men can be perceived as products of a system that emphasises male domination and agressiveness and does not allow men to be vulnerable and weak.

Male clients

The programme acknowledges this friction and prefers to use the neutral term male clients rather than abusers or perpetrators. 

I learned to see a 'perpetrator' no longer as a criminal,  but as a man with a problem that can change. He is a human being that needs to be taught in a soft way. That is different from the approach I was used to when still working as a police officer. It will certainly help me to better counsel men in the future.

Indonesian counsellor


In January 2013 was the kick-off of the MenCare+ programme, a joint programme of Rutgers, Promundo, Sonke Gender Justice Network, RWAMREC and Mosaic Training, Service & Healing Centre for Women. In the framework of this programme, the Toolkit for Men will be scaled up and rolled out in 4 countries, as part of an integrated package of interventions aimed at men. The participating countries are Indonesia, Brazil, Rwanda and South Africa.

More information on using the Toolkit

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