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Blame Changer

Blame Changer


Prompt delivery and free postage for Blame Changer, understanding domestic violence — a ground-breaking book.

Blame Changer includes practical advice for victims of domestic violence and for those who know someone who may be suffering abuse. Amongst the heated — and repeated — debate on this crucial issue, Blame Changer speaks with the clear voice of an experienced professional, armed with facts and experience, who can offer solutions.

What the experts say about Blame Changer

Every operational police officer knows it. Every ambulance officer knows it. Every emergency response nurse and doctor knows it, too.  They are experts in the field.  A sad and tragic field of expertise that is not diminishing.

Domestic violence (DV) is an epidemic in Australia and probably all other comparable so-called civilised societies.  One does not need an academic dissertation to prove this point.  The grist of any mainstream media feed is evidence of the cruelty, mostly men, perpetrate on women in domestic situations.  This is not to say that society should not do everything in its power to understand and solve the problem.

Carmel O’Brien is a consultant psychologist with a generation of experience as a DV specialist.  Her clinical interest is the recovery process arising from intimate partner violence.  She is an expert in the field and her book, Blame Changer -understanding domestic violence is a very important and fresh look at the problem from a practitioner’s point of view.  The small book, only 150 pages, may seem inconsequential to the public conversation about DV but don’t be deceived by its size.  

O’Brien does not meander among DV theories, as relevant as these may be.  She relies on the many questions victims and others have asked about DV.  Her long-term professional commitment to the issue means she expertly discusses the effect of ‘the violence that women experience at the hands of their male partners, because this is the most commonly occurring family violence situation’.

I’m sure most reading this review can remember that one DV investigation that left an indelible mark on your psyche.  It may have been the sheer violence of the event or something as simple as a first-time life-threatening text.  Whatever it was, the effect of that event on the victim or victims would have been life changing.  

The emotional and physical cost to individuals effected by DV is matched by the financial cost to society.  In 2015 PricewaterHouseCoopers released research aimed at the economic case for preventing violence against women. It was estimated that the cost to the Australian economy is about $21 billion a year. If this isn’t enough evidence for society and governments to do everything in their power to prevent domestic violence then nothing is. 

There are many causes of domestic violence.  It is not just cruel people. Mental illness, addiction and poor social skills contribute. First responders also know that DV is not restricted to the low socio-economic demographic.  The complexity of this offence leaves one bemused and frustrated at the inability of the legal response to reduce the incidence of same. 

O’Brien covers all angles in this comprehensive and very important text for professional practitioners and victims. She demonstrates that although DV victims are supported in a variety of ways women’s services are grossly under resourced.   She makes this firm point.  Until perpetrators are properly held to account for their actions the DV epidemic will only get worse.  

I highly recommend Blame Changer - understanding domestic violence for serving and trainee first responders, the welfare sector and those affected by DV.

— Ted Bassingthwaighte, NSW Police News

There is certainly no shortage of writing on domestic violence. Every so often however, someone comes along with a contribution that might just make a profound and lasting difference. Carmel O'Brien's Blame Changer takes a tough and fraught issue and deals with it with experience and wisdom writ large, providing plainly written, cut-through propositions on every page, without losing quality or rigour. It could be a game changer.

— Mary Crooks, Executive Director, Victorian Women’s Trust

Blame Changer provides a thoughtful explanation of the ways in which women’s lives are impacted by family violence. It helps to clarify many of the myths and misconceptions about the nature and dynamics of family violence informed by women’s lived experiences. It will be a great resource for anyone wanting to learn more about this pervasive social problem. 

— Domestic Violence Victoria

I will have no hesitation in recommending your book to women who come to our service who have had exactly the experiences you mention in your book. This is the first book I have ever felt comfortable to recommend.

— Robert Andrew, clinical manager for domestic violence services for Relationships Australia, Western Australia. Robert has worked in the field for 20 years.

Unapologetically direct and honest about the realities of domestic violence, Blame Changer is a breath of fresh air. Written in everyday language from frontline expert experience, this is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand domestic violence, help those it hurts, challenge the myths and work to stop it. 

— Dr Chris Atmore, Senior Policy Adviser, Federation of Community Legal Centres (Victoria) Inc.

Groundbreaking. A major strength is the author’s use of real life examples when challenging long-held beliefs, and it offers us new insights into the nature of domestic violence.  Everyone should read Blame Changer.

— Irene Gerrard, social worker and family therapist


Carmel O’Brien is a counselling psychologist who has spent more than two decades working with survivors of trauma, violence and abuse. 
She was the director of clinical services at Doncare for 14 years, and runs counselling and domestic violence programs. 

Carmel was awarded an OAM on Australia Day, 2017, for her services to mental health.



Some of the proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to the Luke Batty Foundation and the Dorothy Rose Fund. These funds support survivors of family violence to achieve safety and reclaim their lives.