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Perpetrator Interventions in the Justice System

Responsible government

  • Victoria

Fourth Action Plan actions

  • Improve support and service system responses
    • 19 Build the evidence base to inform responses to domestic, family and sexual violence by strengthening the focus on what works to reduce violence, improving data and supporting the Fourth Action Plan priorities.

What are we doing?

Recommendation 87 of Victoria’s Royal Commission into Family Violence relates to research, trialling and evaluation of interventions for perpetrators. To progress this recommendation, Victoria is trialling new perpetrator interventions in Corrections Victoria, across the Court system and for perpetrators who have had contact with the justice system, through government initiatives and grants to community service organisations.

Ten perpetrator programs have been funded in the justice system, including:

  • five grant programs being delivered by community service organisations to perpetrators of diverse cohorts who have had contact with the justice system (for example, for those who have recently exited the Corrections system);
  • an adaptation for two culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) groups of a psycho-educational program for prisoners;
  • an evaluation of family violence applicant and respondent workers in the Children’s Court of Victoria;
  • a specialised court-based service in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria (MCV) for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community;
  • a family violence case management service in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria (MCV);
  • an integrated counselling order service in the MCV to address co-occurring behaviours such as drug and alcohol addiction.

The Victorian Government has provided $16.4 million between 2017/18 and 2020/21 to fund Family Violence Perpetrator Interventions in the Justice system.

What is next?

The five Family Violence Perpetrator Intervention Grants programs are on track to meet their client targets, with referrals exceeding targets for a number of projects. Providers are incorporating lessons learned and adjusting their service delivery model to capitalise on existing investment.

Evaluation has been built into these programs from the beginning and Victoria is working to align evaluation activity across all of the perpetrator intervention trials. Grant recipients were required to align their program logics with the Family Violence Outcomes Framework and demonstrate how their programs contribute to these outcomes.

All program evaluations will include quantitative and qualitative analysis to contribute to the evaluation of the outputs and outcomes, including analysing service data and surveys/interviews with staff/service providers, participants and victims. Analysis of further data, such as victim and perpetrator characteristics, will be included to assess the effectiveness of targeted initiatives. Evaluation contracts have been extended to allow for follow-up data collection and analysis, which will contribute to a meta-evaluation.

  • Perpetrator Interventions in the Justice System commenced in the second quarter of 2018. This is not a continuing program.
  • Perpetrator Interventions in the Justice System are funded until 30 June 2021.

What difference will we make?

The availability of effective perpetrator interventions is critical to creating accountability and behaviour change and supporting the safety of victim survivors. Prior to Victoria’s Royal Commission into Family Violence there had been chronic under-investment in perpetrator programs and the main intervention available (Men’s Behaviour Change Programs) had limited places, was largely inaccessible, and ineffective for many perpetrator cohorts. The new programs, delivered through Perpetrator Interventions in the Justice System, address service gaps and encourage collaboration to meet complexity and need. Trial and evaluation of these new interventions will build the evidence base on what works.

The current perpetrator interventions trials across the justice system have made some inroads into addressing service gaps and reducing barriers to access for diverse cohorts and those with complex problems, such as mental health and drug and alcohol addiction which contribute to their offending behaviour.

The ultimate outcomes include: perpetrators are kept in view, perpetrators are accountable for their behaviour and perpetrators are held to account.

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