More research needed to understand suitable perpetrator interventions

Release date: 09/12/2015

Media release

Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash

Minister for Women,  Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service

A new report released today highlights the need for more research to build our understanding of ‘what works’ to effectively hold male perpetrators of domestic, family and sexual violence to account.

The landmark report by Australia’s Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) maps where perpetrators may come in contact with our civil, criminal, and service systems.

Minister for Women Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash said the report is a crucial first step in understanding what perpetrator interventions work, who they work for, when they work and how.

Key findings from the report, Perpetrator Interventions: State of Knowledge Paper show:

  • the number of programmes for perpetrators varies by state and territory
  • perpetrators often disengage from programmes where availability is limited and waitlists are used
  • there is a shortage of services available to perpetrators in rural and remote areas
  • there are notable differences in perpetrator interventions for domestic and family violence and interventions for sexual assault.

“We know inadequate and poorly targeted perpetrator interventions are a consistent barrier to achieving accountability and men’s behaviour change,” Minister Cash said.

“To keep women and their children safe we must hold perpetrators of domestic, family and sexual violence to account.”

The Government recognises that in order to ensure victims are protected, all parts of the system that intervene with perpetrators must be part of the solution. This includes our police, courts, corrections and community services.

Minister Cash reiterated the Coalition Government’s commitment to addressing domestic, family and sexual violence and noted that adequate perpetrator interventions was crucial to seeing long term change realised.

“Let’s be clear, how we intervene with perpetrators can change the future for women and their children,” Minister Cash said.

“This is why in 2015, COAG agreed to take urgent collective action to address this unacceptable level of violence against women.”

“One of the specific measures COAG agreed to was to consider national standards to ensure perpetrators of violence against women are held to account at the same standard across Australia, with implementation scheduled for 2016.”

The Commonwealth Government has invested $3 million in the ANROWS Perpetrator Interventions Research Programme to strengthen the evidence base.

This research will support the National Outcome Standards for Perpetrator Interventions being developed by the Commonwealth, states and territories.

These national outcome standards will guide the way our governments and community partners respond to and engage with male perpetrators of domestic, family and sexual violence.

“I would like to congratulate ANROWS for undertaking this crucial research – the first of its kind in Australia. This will enable all of us to continue to improve the effectiveness of perpetrator interventions,” Minister Cash said.