Perpetrator Interventions in Australia: A national study of judicial views and sentencing practice for domestic violence offenders

Funded by: Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety as part of the Perpetrator Interventions Research Stream
Project contact: Dr Kate Fitz-Gibbon and Professor JaneMaree Maher

Recent Webinar

Rethinking the role of judicial officers in creating systems accountability

Facilitator: Dr Heather Nancarrow, ANROWS CEO


  • Associate Professor Kate Fitz-Gibbon
  • Professor JaneMaree Maher
  • Magistrate Stella Stuthridge, Supervising Magistrate, Family Violence & Family Law, Magistrates’ Court of Victoria


A key objective of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children is that perpetrators stop their violence and are held to account. A major pathway to achieving this outcome is the effective use of interventions with perpetrators of domestic and family violence. In recent years, Australian States and Territories have moved towards increased use of perpetrator interventions as a way of holding perpetrators to account with the aim of stopping violence. The legal system broadly, and judicial officers specifically, play a significant role in achieving perpetrator accountability. As officers of the Court, they play a central role in ‘keeping perpetrators in view’, in making orders and/or mandating MBCP attendance. Despite this, there is little evidence of how judicial officers view or understand perpetrator interventions, and how they use them in their practice.

This webinar explores the findings of a recent ANROWS National study into judicial views and sentencing practice for domestic and family violence offenders. We reconsider the role of judicial officers in holding perpetrator to account and explore evidence of three different approaches: the judicial role as narrowly defined, the judicial officer as active case manager and the judicial officer as a powerful voice, and their possible impacts. Implications for policy and practice will be considered by the panellists.

About the research project

Despite increasing acknowledgement of the importance of perpetrator interventions in the delivery of integrated responses to family violence and promoting perpetrator accountability, there remains very little understanding of how magistrates and other judicial officers view, manage and use perpetrator interventions.

This project examined the use, influence and management of perpetrator interventions in sentencing of recidivist and high risk family violence offenders. It documents the extent to which histories of perpetrator interventions are present, and the influence of these on sentencing and includes an exploration of the views of magistrates and judicial officers on their use. Visit ANROWS for the full project description.

We are very pleased to announce all the final reports have been released.

We are very thankful to the members of the Judiciary from across Australia who spoke with us.



Dr Kate Fitz-Gibbon, Professor JaneMaree Maher and Dr Jasmine McGowan speak about the background and key findings of the Perpetrator Interventions project.