In this section:

Strengthened perpetrator interventions

Responsible government

  • Victoria

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.

What are we doing?

Victoria is providing significant support for interventions that seek to change and challenge violent behaviour, keep perpetrators in view and hold them accountable for their behaviour, including through behavioural change programs and intensive engagement of perpetrators with complex needs.

The Victorian Government has provided significant investment to strengthen and expand perpetrator interventions including:

  • $85 million over four years in 2019-20 for a range of interventions including men’s behaviour change programs, case management, interventions for Aboriginal people who use violence and other diverse cohort groups.
  • $10.7 million in 2020-21 to continue a range of interventions including the Caring Dads program that supports men using violence to improve their parenting and understand the impact of their behaviour. A further $20 million in funding for perpetrator interventions and services for young people using violence in the home was announced in August 2020 to address the impacts of COVID-19. This funding supports victim survivors to remain safely in their own homes and keep perpetrators in view of the system.
  • $18.2 million over four years for a suite of responses for perpetrators of family violence to support behaviour change, promote accountability, and help break the cycle of family violence. This includes responding to demand on perpetrator interventions, implementing post-participation follow up for men’s behaviour change programs, continuing trials of perpetrator accommodation services, and culturally safe responses for Aboriginal people who use violence.

What have we achieved so far?

  • The Expert Advisory Committee on Perpetrator Interventions (EACPI) was established and has finalised its report on ensuring the diversity of programs, services and initiatives that respond to perpetrators of family violence in Victoria.
  • Two initiatives that aim to broaden the range and reach of perpetrator interventions – case management trials and perpetrator program cohort trials – have been implemented.
  • Case management provides a more tailored service response through the coordination of specialist services, including mental health, alcohol and other drug, and housing services, that assist in engagement with programs that aim to stop family violence, including but not limited to Men’s Behaviour Change Programs (MBCPs).
  • The Perpetrator Accommodation and Support Service (PASS) has been established to provide 24/7 crisis accommodation and support for perpetrators who are excluded from their home, and Medium-term Perpetrator Accommodation services are being trialled to enable more victim survivors of family violence to remain safely at home.
  • Perpetrator program cohort trials are being implemented to build the evidence for trauma-informed practice and include the development and evaluation of new interventions for perpetrators from diverse backgrounds and with complex needs.
  • Partner safety contact is a component of all perpetrator interventions, providing support to current or previous victim survivors including children.
  • Minimum standards for MBCPs have been updated and associated practice guidance developed.
  • The Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme (FVISS) and Central Information Point (CIP) have been established.
  • Caring Dads programs are being provided in three areas to support perpetrators of family violence to improve their parenting skills.
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, Family Safety Victoria has been working with agencies to deliver perpetrator interventions and keep perpetrators in view during restrictions which led to the suspension of face-to-face group programs. Service guidelines were developed to help agencies deliver a consistent service response by using a multi-intervention service model. This model allows providers to tailor responses to individual perpetrators, responding to need and risk and to tailor service delivery within the constraints of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Reports from services suggest men have engaged with these changes and a review has been conducted to understand the impact of these adjustments.
  • The second Family Violence Rolling Action Plan (RAP) 2020-2023 includes, as one of ten priority areas, perpetrators and people who use violence. Implementation of initiatives under this priority area will create a web of accountability to keep victim survivors safer, hold perpetrators accountable for their choice to use family violence and encourage long-term, sustained behaviour change to reduce ongoing and future involvement with the justice system. While this is a whole of Victorian Government initiative, the majority of these initiatives will be implemented by Family Safety Victoria, the Department of Justice and Community Safety, Victoria Police, and the Magistrates Court of Victoria.

What is next?

The second Family Violence Reform Rolling Action Plan 2020-2023 highlights key activities of focus for perpetrator interventions which emphasise a system-wide approach to holding perpetrators to account and supporting behaviour change. These focus areas have been informed by the EACPI final report and recommendations. The Family Violence Reform Rolling Action Plan 2020-2023 can be found here:

What difference will we make?

This initiative will contribute to the National Outcomes that perpetrators stop their violence and are held to account.

The Victorian Family Violence Outcomes Framework was published in Ending Family Violence: Victoria’s Plan for Change, which outlined Victoria’s priorities in preventing and responding to family violence, why they matter, and what constitutes success. The Victorian Family Violence Outcomes Framework is a whole of Government framework and is intended to ensure Victorian family violence reform efforts are focused on the actions that make a difference. The Victorian Government is progressing development of the framework, including through indicators and measures. In time, measurement and monitoring of Victorian family violence outcomes may also support reporting for the National Plan. The Victorian Family Violence Outcomes Frameworks includes a domain focused on perpetrators – ‘Perpetrators are held to account, engaged and connected’. The perpetrator domain of the Family Violence Outcomes Framework was refreshed in 2020 to include a more holistic approach to perpetrator accountability and greater scope for therapeutic and non- punitive responses to perpetrators and people who use violence.

While perpetrator outcomes reporting is being developed, Victoria will continue to monitor the strengthening of perpetrator interventions by measuring the number of perpetrators who participated in perpetrator intervention trials and the number of case management responses provided to perpetrators of family violence including those that require individualised support.

The insights gained through evaluation of perpetrator interventions will inform the future approach to trialling new and innovative ways of delivering tailored service responses that are suitable for different perpetrator cohorts.

The EACPI recommended that an independent review of perpetrator reforms should be conducted in two years.

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