Push to check for intimate partner sexual violence: new report
Tuesday, 14 March 2023
A Monash University paper has found a lack of response to intimate partner sexual violence within the domestic and family violence perpetrator intervention space.
The paper found that alarmingly one in five practitioners report rarely or never risk assess for intimate partner sexual violence in their review of family violence perpetrators.
Forty per cent of the practitioners reported risk assessing for intimate partner sexual violence perpetration somewhat or less frequently compared to other forms of family violence.
Lead author Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre Postdoctoral Research Fellow Nicola Helps said more training is needed to better identify and respond to intimate partner sexual violence.
“The study highlights significant gaps in identification, assessment, and response to intimate partner sexual violence in current work with family violence perpetrators,” Dr Helps said.
The study reveals varied practice across perpetrator intervention programs related to addressing intimate partner sexual violence.
“Our study highlights limitations to practitioners training and comfort in relation to intimate partner sexual violence. Importantly, practitioners spoke about wanting further training to support improved practice in responding to intimate partner sexual violence,” Dr Helps said.
“There is an opportunity to develop training to better support practitioners to undertake this work.”
The study, conducted in partnership with No to Violence, found that one in four professionals reported not having any training about intimate partner sexual violence.
No to Violence Chief Executive Officer Jacqui Watt said the specialist men’s intervention workforce needs better training to consistently recognise and respond to intimate partner sexual violence in their work.
“Unless all frontline workers are well-versed in assessing risk of sexual violence alongside family violence, we can’t assess the risk he is posting to the family,” Ms Watt said.
The findings support the need to ensure practitioners can access resources for practitioners to undertake perpetrator intervention work related to intimate partner sexual violence.
Almost 100 practitioners who work across domestic family violence perpetrator intervention programs took part in the survey, which includes those working with domestic and family violence perpetrators and victim-survivors, trainers and other professionals.
The findings highlight the need to address sexual violence, as identified in the National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-2023, as an area of focus.
Stop the cycle of violence. If you are concerned about your behaviour, or about someone using violence, call Men’s Referral Service on 1300 766 491.