Help available . . . Gore and Clutha Women's Refuge manager Sam Munroe and newly appointed refuge male advocate Craig Marshall stand in front of Mr MarshallÂ’s office at 80A Main St, Gore. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

Employing a male advocate to work with male perpetrators of domestic violence will give Gore and Clutha Women’s Refuge more options, manager Sam Munroe says.

Former probation officer Craig Marshall has recently taken up the role.

Ms Munroe said often women who came to the refuge for help returned home to live with the person who had abused them.

If the cycle of abuse was going to be broken, male perpetrators needed advocacy and support as well, she said.

“If families stay together, we need to ensure the safety of the whole family whanau and that everybody is receiving support and programmes,” Ms Munroe said.

There were very few male advocates in the service and the only one Ms Munroe knew of was based on the West Coast.

She had heard of the success of the programme and with support from the West Coast male advocate had decided to offer the service in Gore.

The male advocate’s office was in a different location from where the victims of abuse received help.

Mr Marshall would be making contact with the male perpetrators.

“They can decline support,” she said.

Mr Marshall said he was excited to be taking up the role.

“We need to promote change in families,” he said.

“We support the victims as we should but nothing’s going to change unless the perpetrators take ownership and acknowledge what they’ve done and want to change.

“They need to be willing to engage,” he said.

It was a confidential service and he would also accept self-referrals or ones from community members.

A former Gore High School pupil, Mr Marshall grew up in Mataura.