Frequently Asked Questions
Do you support both mums and dads?
Yes, we are gender inclusive. We operate dads groups that are for dads, and mums groups that are for mums. We are welcoming of both heterosexual and same sex parents. We really don’t care who you are as long as you’re a parent, or someone supporting a parent, and that is in need of post separation support.
Can women come to the dads group?
Can men come to the mums group?
The dads groups are there for the dads and the mums groups are there for the mums. We need to be respectful that some dads might not feel able to open up in front of a women and likewise for the mums opening up in front of a man. To this end, its ok to come along as a member of the opposite sex but be aware we always ask the others present if they are ok having a member of the opposite sex sit in. If you intend to come along and join a group of the opposite sex, its best you expect that others might ask you not to stay, and that we always respect that. Historically, its quite rare for a man to attend a mums group but women do occasionally attend a dads group – usually its the dads new partner, mother or other family member coming in support.
Can children attend a group?
Sorry, no. Its not appropriate because of the subject matter being discussed and also because some attendee’s who are excluded from seeing their children might find it very upsetting.
Who comes to the groups?
Mostly, its mums or dads who are either unable to see their children at all, or those who have little or insufficient contact with their children and find that they are not coping well. Sometimes people come along before their children are born (i.e. male partners of pregnant females where they have separated pre-birth) and we also see the occasional person who is struggling with a separation even where there are no children involved.
What do most people get out of attending the groups or calling the helpline?
Over the years, we have asked many thousands of our attendee’s what they most get out of our support; here are the top ten most common answers.
- I am not alone in my situation
- Hearing others stories
- People properly listening to my story
- Not being judged by others
- Being amongst peers
- Practical solutions that I can’t find elsewhere
- Group discussion, especially being able to help others
- Commemorating the fallen – those who’ve taken their lives
- Sitting in a circle with others who’ve experienced the same thing
- Social interaction after or between group meetings
What happens at a group?
The video below outlines what happens at a DIDs (Dads in Distress) meeting but its the same format for the MIDs (Mums in Distress) groups for mums.
What is your view of Intervention Orders? (AVO’s, IVO, DVO’s etc.)
Intervention orders can play an important role in keeping people safe. For intervention orders to work, clearly we need a fair and effective system. Some people argue that the orders are pretty much always unfair and based on false allegations – that’s just wrong. Some people argue that the orders are pretty much never unfair and that false allegations never happen – that’s equally wrong. The fact is, some intervention orders are fair, and sometimes they are used falsely and unfairly. If we want a fair and effective system then we need to tackle the unfair use of intervention orders as a matter of urgency.
Do you operate online support groups?
Long term, we are planing to launch a national online support group. For the time being, many of our weekly groups around Australia operate a complimentary private invite only local Facebook group to connect the participants of specifically that weekly meeting. These online support groups are not public, they are administered / overseen by trained facilitators and they can only be joined by speaking with a facilitator at your local meeting.
I’ve seen negative posts on your social media pages / groups
Whilst we do operate several pages and groups on social media (e.g. Facebook), all of these are properly overseen by trained facilitators – when we see negative comments we delete them and occasionally ban people who break our terms and conditions of using those facilities. Sadly, we are also aware that other groups and individuals that have nothing to do with us will occasionally use our name (or some close approximation) to create their own online groups but they are nothing to do with us. Our official pages / groups are only those listed on our home page and/or accessible via invite through our local group facilitators.
What are the key outcomes of PBB’s support work?
Primarily, its keeping mum and dad around for the kids, so its suicide prevention. That said, we know from our own internal research that we also positively impact domestic violence. How? Because we work on helping parents transition from intact to non-intact families in the least traumatic way, always keeping the kids uppermost in their mind. We help provide parents the tools they need to best navigate highly emotional waters. That reduces conflict and the opportunity for things getting out of hand when people feel they have nowhere else left to go and no option but – in their agony – to harm either themselves or others. We reduce suicide and we reduce domestic violence. We believe the kids deserve this.
Is PBB a pro mens or pro womens rights organisation?
No. Neither. We are a gender neutral/inclusive suicide prevention charity with a focus on separating parents. Our focus is on helping kids stay in their parents lives, and to do so safely, so you might say that we are ‘pro family’, in whatever shape that comes. Ultimately, PBB is a grass roots support charity; we are not a political movement, nor are we an activist organisation or a lobby group. That sets us apart from many in the parental separation field – think of us as the politically neutral Red Cross of separating parents. The largest demographic that come to us for support are men/fathers so we are recognised as a leader in the field of supporting men/fathers in Australia and across the developed world.
Why did the original name change from Dads in Distress to Parents Beyond Breakup?
We’re very proud of our history which started as ‘Dads in Distress’ in 1999 by our founder, Tony Miller OAM. When mums started asking to come to the meetings we launched a ‘Mums in Distress’ service. In 2016 we rebranded to Parents Beyond Breakup to better reflect the gender neutrality / inclusivity of our work with both mums and dads. We continue to retain the names ‘Dads in Distress’ and ‘Mums in Distress’ as specific front line support services of the newly named parent charity.
How is PBB funded?
At this time, Parents Beyond Breakup is primarily funded by the federal government through the Community and Parenting Support Services. This is to allow delivery of frontline services that are free of charge to those needing it. However, this is usually insufficient and we also therefore rely on public donation top ups (for which we have tax deductible status). In 2017 we commenced a strategy of diversifying our funding into the corporate sector. This is to minimise tax payer contribution but also to enable a more rapid expansion of services in line with increasing client demand.
Do you offer value for money?
We are one of the most cost efficient charities in Australia today. In fact, we operate services at approximately half the cost of other non-government organisations in our sector, and make each dollar go as far as possible. A key behavioural value, and a component of our core strategy is to ‘do more with less‘. We believe this is responsible and necessary if we are to support as many people as possible. We’re in the saving lives business and we never forget it.
Is it true that you are funded by the CSP (Child Support Program)?
No. Although we occasionally hear this myth being thrown about, it has never been true. For a few years we were paid by the DSS to conduct some case study research on behalf of the Child Support Program to see how well they were servicing the needs of separated parents; parents who by the nature of our work we are in touch with daily. The work led to positive changes for parents and we’re proud of that.
Why don’t you get involved in protests and activism?
PBB is a suicide prevention charity. However, we do provide informed insights to government and to other interested bodies to support systemic change where it is factually warranted. We get approached a few times a year by various governmental bodies and we’re always happy to help them see the issues and challenges that separating parents face. Bottom line, we’re world beating leaders in the ‘keeping mum and dad around’ game, and that comes from keeping a laser sharp focus on what we do and where we spend our time. We’re not going to waste precious suicide prevention resources, be that time or money, on political activity.
You’ve changed the original welcome message / format of the groups!
No, we haven’t. The welcome message is the same as ever and the format remains as it always was. We’re proud of the great history and have no plans to change how we operate anytime soon.
How do we know that PBB is using funds and/or operating wisely?
We are a constituted not for profit organisation with charitable status. We have financial members who get to vote in their choice of board, and the board in turn oversee decisions made by PBB leadership. The board meet once a month to review performance, make key decisions and ensure that operations align with overall objectives and agreed plans. The key thing is a properly established constitution, external auditing, member vote and regular oversight. Each year we hold an AGM and we answer to our members and subsequently issue a public annual report.
How many dads take their lives due to separation and child access issues?
Fact is, no one really knows for certain but there are some good indications that are available to us. The chief one being the study of 10 years of ‘Queensland Suicide Registry’ data which, if extrapolated to all of Australia suggests that around 1 in 4 male suicides are related to relationship breakdown, especially where custodial issues apply. At todays rates, that equates to around 10-11 men per week. We hear many different claims – sometimes larger, sometimes smaller – but we’ve looked pretty hard and this is the best data that exists that is verifiable. Notably, we believe that 1 in 4 male suicides being so categorised constitutes the largest single demographic amongst all male suicides, meaning this is no small matter even if the number is lower than some might claim. The number is extremely serious and there is no need to inflate it to grab headlines. For those wishing to conduct their own research, the data emerges from applying the applicable rate from QSR data available here, to the 2015 (pub 2016) national suicide statistics available here.
What is ‘Situational Distress’ and how does it link to suicide?
Suicide prevention traditionally tends to treat the phenomena as a medical ‘mental health’ issue. Undoubtedly, mental health is a factor. Naturally, this means that medical intervention automatically tends to follow; read therapy and medication as the most common interventions. However, there is a growing body of evidence, academic and otherwise (PBB included) demonstrating that males in particular often become suicidal due to external non medical reasons. They respond to external ‘situational distress’ such as separation, custodial matters, debt, loss of employment or home. However, if that external ‘situational distress’ is managed well, then the option of suicide tends to come off the table. i.e. Men in particular can and will suicide as a ‘logical option’ when no better alternative seems to exist. PBB therefore addresses the ‘situational distress’ that parents experience during separation by helping them to cope and to manage their situation; this removes the feelings of helplessness and isolation that most commonly plague those facing overwhelming challenge. To get a sense of how important it is to understand this approach, in 2016 quality assurance work indicated that PBB was able to avert over 350 suicides in that year alone. This is world class performance in suicide prevention, and something of which we are very proud.
How do I start a group near me for mums / dads?
You know you’re a superstar, right? Ok, to get to the issue at hand, you can learn more about starting a group by clicking here and also you can let us know you’d like to help by completing the volunteer registration form.
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