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Premier’s Priority to Reduce Domestic Violence Reoffending

Responsible government

  • New South Wales

Fourth Action Plan actions

  • Improve support and service system responses
    • 18 Improve access to and embed trauma-informed support for perpetrators of domestic, family and sexual violence to prevent reoffending and promote rehabilitation and treatment.
    • 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?

The Premier’s Priority for reducing domestic violence reoffending aims to decrease the number of domestic violence reoffenders by 25 percent by 2023.The NSW Government has committed $538 million over four years in the 2020-21 budget to reduce domestic and family violence re-offending and support the safety of victim-survivors. This includes investment in large-scale, evidence-based interventions and testing of innovative approaches to build the evidence base for programs that change behaviour, hold offenders to account and increase victim-survivor safety. Key interventions funded under this initiative include:

  • Community Corrections is supervising additional domestic violence offenders using the Practice Guides for Intervention (PGI) model. This model uses cognitive behavioural therapy techniques with community-based offenders, by increasing the structure of supervision so that sessions remain focused on factors that relate directly to risk of offending behaviour.
  • Corrective Services delivers the EQUIPS Domestic Abuse Program (DAP) suite to eligible offenders. The suite is comprised of four programs: ‘Foundation’, ‘Aggression’, ‘Addiction’ and ‘Domestic and Family Violence’. The programs target criminogenic factors contributing to an offender’s behaviour with a view to rehabilitation.
  • Remand DV is a voluntary pilot intervention assisting inmates on remand to understand their legal circumstances specific to domestic violence and to provide them with knowledge and skills for healthier relationships. Importantly, the interventions do not require participants to admit guilt or take responsibility for the charges for which they are currently on remand.
  • What’s Your Plan is a pilot intervention where Aboriginal Client and Community Support Officers work one-on-one with Aboriginal defendants to develop plans and receive SMS reminders and follow-up calls to help them comply with their Apprehended Domestic Violence Order conditions to reduce Apprehended Domestic Violence Order breaches.
  • ENGAGE is a pilot program operating in nine locations to approach and engage with defendants early in the court process to encourage them to participate in domestic violence programs and address their offending behaviour.
  • ReINVEST is a clinical trial run by the University of NSW which examines whether antidepressant treatments can reduce offending behaviour among highly impulsive men with a history of violence, including domestic violence offenders.
  • Men’s Behaviour Change Programs support offenders to recognise their violent behaviour and to develop strategies to stop using violence.
  • The Domestic Violence Electronic Monitoring (DVEM) program which monitors the compliance of certain DV offenders with their ADVO conditions via GPS, to make sure they are not in proximity of the victim-survivor. Where appropriate, a matched GPS device is also available to the victim-survivor and can be used on a voluntary basis.
  • In September 2018, new sentencing laws commenced which create a presumption that DV offenders will either receive a supervised community-based sentence or be imprisoned. More DV offenders can be referred to Community Corrections for risk assessment and then supervised for an appropriate period of time.

What have we achieved so far?

The NSW Government is committed to achieving positive outcomes for victims and their families by reducing domestic violence reoffending across NSW. Most interventions have been implemented, at scale, across the state and some of the more innovative interventions are on track with evaluations underway.

  • There has been an increase in domestic violence offenders receiving supervised community based sentences since the sentencing reforms commenced in September 2018. In August 2018, 26 per cent of domestic violence offenders received supervised sentences. As at September 2020, the rate of domestic violence offenders receiving a supervised sentence was 34 per cent.
  • In October 2020, a revised EQUIPS Domestic and Family Violence program replaced EQUIPS Domestic Abuse program (DAP). The revised program has an expanded scope and is suitable for offenders convicted of all domestic related violence offences, not just intimate partner, and both male and female offenders.
  • The results for the EQUIPS Domestic Abuse program (DAP) delivered in Correctional Centres and Community Offender Services (COS) locations show an overall reduction in participation as a result of the impact of COVID-19. EQUIPS DAP is primarily delivered in the community. Face-to-face programs in community corrections locations were suspended from March 2020, and only resumed in February 2021. A return to full operation and Pre COVID participation is now being implemented.
  • BOCSAR published an evaluation of PGI in August 2020 where, although there were some percentage point reductions in recidivism, they were not statistically significant.
  • In 2020 over 65,000 PGI contacts were delivered to DV Offenders. This represents a 14 per cent increase from 2019.
  • As at 18 February 2021, 391 offenders and 57 victims have been monitored on the DVEM program
  • In October 2020, BOCSAR completed an evaluation of DV-Suspect Target Management Plan program (DV-STMP). DV-STMP is a proactive policing initiative aimed at reducing domestic violence related offending. The evaluation found DV-STMP was associated with a significant reduction in DV reoffending within 12 months of suspects being placed on a DV-STMP.
  • The following evaluations have been completed. The evaluations will build on the evidence base and inform what is working. These include:
    • DVEM feasibility evaluation (July 2020)
    • Practice Guide for Intervention (PGI) impact evaluation (September 2020)
    • Sentencing Reforms – Judicial Survey (August 2020) and Penalty Impact (August 2020)
    • DV-STMP (October 2020)
  • Further evaluations are due in 2021, including:
    • High Intensity Program Units – custody-based rehabilitation facilities.
    • What’s Your Plan – an Aboriginal program to improve compliance with ADVO conditions
    • ENGAGE – a program to increase voluntary engagement with DV perpetrators and encourage program readiness.

What is next?

The NSW Government will continue to deliver this comprehensive program that changes behaviour, holds offenders to account and increases victim-survivor safety.

On top of the existing program of work, the NSW Government continues to evaluate and improve existing programs where appropriate to accelerate progress in reducing domestic violence reoffending including;

  • exploring strategies to ensure the effectiveness of behaviour change programs, including enhanced data collection to support ongoing evaluation and strengthening referral pathways;
  • actioning recommendations on completed program evaluations;
  • continuing to evaluate other programs to build the evidence base.

What difference will we make?

This initiative will improve victim safety by reducing domestic and family violence reoffending. The initiative contributes to delivering the Premier’s Priority to reduce the number of domestic violence reoffenders by 25 per cent by 2023.

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