Perpetrator interventions

The landscape of legal responses to domestic violence across Australia is rapidly changing. In recent years state-based reviews of responses to family violence have signalled the importance of perpetrator interventions and behavioural change programs. This is most clearly evident in the recent recommendations of the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence, which recommended substantial growth in the development, evaluation, and delivery of perpetrator interventions across Victoria.

Perpetrator Interventions in Australia: A national study of judicial views and sentencing practice for domestic violence offenders.Investigators: Dr Kate Fitz-Gibbon, Prof JaneMaree Maher, Prof Jude McCulloch, Prof Gregory Reinhardt (The Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration), Ms Cynthia Harwood (The Victorian Sentencing Advisory Council)
Funded by: Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety as part of the Perpetrator Interventions Research Stream
Project contacts: Dr Kate Fitz-Gibbon and Professor JaneMaree Maher

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 qualitative mixed method study will examine the use, influence and management of perpetrator interventions in sentencing of recidivist and high risk family violence offenders, utilising:

  • case analysis of  sentencing remarks from cases of both male and female-perpetrated intimate partner homicide between 2011-2016 about perpetrator interventions undertaken by the offender;
  • interviews with judicial officers; and
  • documentary and policy analysis.

It aims to document the extent to which histories of perpetrator interventions are present, and the influence of these on sentencing, including an exploration of the views of magistrates and judicial officers on their use. Visit ANROWS for the full project description.

A National Expert Advisory Group has been established to support this project, comprising: Nicholas Cowdery AM QC, Professor Heather Douglas, Emeritus Professor Arie Freiberg AM, Her Honour, Judge Felicity Hampel, Professor Elena Marchetti, Her Honour, Magistrate Pauline Spencer, Professor Julie Stubbs, Rodney Vlais, Professor Lorana Bartels. We are very grateful to the Advisory Group for their advice and recommendations on this project.