In this section:

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 $687 million over four years (including $80 million in Commonwealth funding) in the 2021-22 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 to support 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 program suite to program 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 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.
  • ENGAGE is a program operating in seven 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. The ENGAGE program has been enhanced through increasing focus on engaging with participants and making referrals to support services, including MBCPs, to encourage behaviour change.
  • 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 (MBCP) 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.
  • High Intensity Program Unit (HIPU) provide intensive rehabilitation services, programs and enhanced release planning prioritised for participants serving shorter sentences.
  • Maitland Local Service Hub is a place-based initiative operating at Maitland Local Court on ADVO list days. The hub provides support and referrals to DFV offenders, including access to short or medium term housing, referrals to drug and alcohol services, legal support, interventions including Men’s Behaviour Change Programs and follow up case management. Solicitors are referring clients into services as part of the model. Work is underway to collaborate with the Local Aboriginal Land Council to provide culturally appropriate support.
  • Local Coordination Multiagency offender management program (LCM) brings together agencies to provide collaborative case management to priority offenders in the community. Offenders are referred to and prioritised for services that aim to address their criminogenic needs and reduce their risk of reoffending.

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.

Additional EQUIPS program content was developed to better target all perpetrators of family violence, regardless of gender and whether the offence related to an intimate partner or other family member. As of 1 October 2020, EQUIPS Domestic and Family Violence replaced EQUIPS Domestic Abuse in both custodial and community settings.

  • Established a trial service hub at Maitland Local Court to connect DV offenders with support services. This includes referral to accommodation pathways, drug and alcohol services, legal support, interventions including linking participants to MBCPs and follow up case management.
  • Continuation of the Domestic Violence Suspect Target Management Plan (DV-STMP) following a positive evaluation conducted by BOCSAR in 2021.
  • Intensive monitoring and engagement with high risk prolific offenders by the NSW Police Force High Risk Offender Teams.
  • An Online Delivery Supplement to the Practice Standards for Men’s Behaviour Change Programs has been released. Providers can now apply for registration to deliver programs online. The Online Delivery Supplement will support accessibility for participants in regional and remote communities, delivery of MBCPs throughout changing COVID-19 safety and social distancing requirements and assist people with shared needs, enabling groups to be held where participants are not located together geographically, e.g. LGBTQ+ groups.
  • EQUIPS Maintenance was developed during 2020 and rolled out in 2021. EQUIPS Maintenance provides an additional support for offenders who have participated in EQUIPS programs. The program is run in both custodial and community settings.
  • As part of the Corrective Services NSW (CSNSW) COVID response resourcing was provided to undertake a rapid expansion of LiVIT – CSNSW’s virtual program delivery platform. The expansion provided a pool of laptop computers and program delivery technology to provide priority offenders in the community with program participation opportunities. CSNSW also focused on the translation of face to face EQUIPS programs to an online delivery format – including EQUIPS Domestic Abuse in the first instance, followed by EQUIPS Domestic and Family Violence as well as EQUIPS Foundation.
  • In 2020-21:
    • 2,544 DV offenders participated in an EQUIPS program in custody.
    • 1,129 DV offenders participated in EQUIPS in the community.
    • 88,468 Practice Guide for Intervention sessions delivered to DV offenders.
    • 234 male DV offenders completed the High Intensity Program Unit (HIPU).
    • 7,647 sessions of the Remand Domestic Violence Intervention program were delivered.
    • 921 people completed the ENGAGE workshop.
    • 733 referrals made to services through the Automatic Referral Pathway (number of men who accepted information regarding suitable services for support).
  • As at 2 August 2021, 424 offenders and 71 victims have been monitored on the DVEM program.
  • 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)
    • ENGAGE – (February 2021)

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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