NTV/MRS is the result of the 2016 unification of No To Violence and the Men’s Referral Service, two organisations with rich histories and extensive experience working with men who use family violence.
The first of these was MENTIR, a volunteer-based early intervention telephone service established by Red Cross in 1992. In 1994, V-Net was established and took over responsibility for MENTIR, changing the telephone service’s name to the Men’s Referral Service (MRS).
V-Net published Stopping Men’s Violence in the Family: A manual for running men’s groups in 1995, following extensive research and consultation. The manual, containing minimum standards, best practice goals and discussion of the central issues surrounding effective men’s behaviour change work, was one of the first of its kind in the world and at the time set a benchmark for this work globally.
In 1999, V-NET, together with Swinburne University, launched the Graduate Certificate in Social Science (Male Family Violence). A year later, V-Net’s name was changed to the No To Violence Male Family Violence Prevention Association (NTV) Inc.
The minimum standards for men’s behaviour change work were reviewed and updated in 2006, published as Men’s Behaviour Change Group Work: A Manual for Quality Practice. NTV’s role as the Victorian peak body for organisations and individuals working with men to end their violence against family members continued to grow, providing research, training and professional development opportunities for members and professionals in the broader family violence sector.
In 2009, MRS established an after-hours service to process family violence referrals (L17s) from the Victorian Police during weekends and public holidays.
The No To Violence Conference on Responses to Men’s Domestic and Family Violence was held towards the end of 2012. A year later, in 2013, MRS services expanded into New South Wales, followed by Tasmania in 2015.
By the time the organisations unified, MRS telephone counsellors had engaged in more than 130,000 conversations with men about their use of violence. NTV contributed significant expertise to the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence in 2015 and the unified organisation continues to play a key role in state wide system reforms.