Ten years ago David Nugent, 43, realised that if he did not change his behaviour he would lose his partner and family.
Since then his life has come full circle, and he and his partner have been together for 15 years.
Mr Nugent, now a facilitator for men's behaviour change groups, has been involved in men's programs for 10 years, both receiving support and counselling and giving it. The Greater Dandenong resident readily admits that attending a behaviour change group a decade ago saved his relationship, and he is now trying to set up a similar group in the Dandenong area.
He recently set up Heavy Metal (Men's Education Towards Anger and Life) a new 12-week program for men wanting to change their behaviour.
The program is designed to help men identify, understand and take responsibility for their behaviour, attitudes and emotional reactions and provide support and strategies that help men through their crisis of change from abusive behaviour to non-abusive behaviour.
Mr Nugent said men had never been shown how to express their emotions and feelings and when they got into heated discussions they often ended up tongue tied and boxed in an reverted to their old habits.
"I call it fight or flight," he said.
"Men either fight it or they run away."
"You have to find that middle ground, but it is not as easy as it seems."
Mr Nugent has completed a graduate certificate in Social Science for Male Family Violence as a group facilitator and telephone counsellor at Swinburne University and is completing a post-graduate diploma in counselling at La Trobe University.
He said he understood first hand what these men, families and children were going through and the importance of seeking help.
"I went through this because I was using violence," he said.
"I used to be violent behind closed doors and then one day I forgot where I was and was violent towards my partner in public."
"I did not want to go to the program, but my partner insisted that I go and get help."
"At first I thought the group would only be filled with crims."
"But blow me down, I ended up staying for 18 months."
Mr Nugent said he was looking for suitable venues in Dandenong to conduct men's groups and would be grateful if any local community halls could donate some space and time.
"This program would contribute to an improved and safer situation for family members and encourage men to treat women and children with respect and equality," he said.
"The Greater Dandenong area has the largest statistics for intervention order and family violence in Victoria and domestic violence is a big issue everywhere."
"I was running a men's group called 'Time for Change' through Southern Health in Dandenong, but the Government pulled the pin on our funding about a year ago."
"I have spoken with the Victoria Police and they are very keen to get something up an running in Greater Dandenong."
This Saturday, Mr Nugent will start a program at the community house in Gibson St, Dromana, and said people from both Greater Dandenong and Casey had already expressed interest in the program.
"People from Pakenham, Berwick and Dandenong have called and said they are interested and are going to come down to Dromona but, of course, it is far more ideal to set groups up closer to these local areas," he said.
Anyone interested in attending the Heavy Metal group or who has a suitable local venue is asked to call David Nugent on 0401 766 877.
By Rebecca Fraser