Small numbers of family violence offenders create big impact!

Over the summer I received a tweet from the Sentencing Council in Victoria which reported half of reported domestic violence harm was caused by 2% of offenders. The report, by the Cambridge Centre for Evidence-Based Policing, used a harm index based on time spent in prison to analyse the offences of 36,228 people charged in relation to 214,814 cases of domestic and family violence in WA between 2010 and 2015.

While there remains questions around the methodology due to only using ‘known cases’, that is, those in public domain, it is nevertheless a sobering statistic. Family violence does not exist outside of other behaviours and increasingly we know that our high-risk cohorts are more likely to have multiple issues. New Zealand’s University of Otago’s Dunedin Multidisciplinary Study supports this view. The study is an internationally renowned research programme that has followed the progress of 1,000 children born in Dunedin, New Zealand in 1972-73, from birth to midlife.

They found that a small segment of the population accounts for a disproportionate share of costly service use across a society’s health care, criminal justice, and social welfare systems – and paediatric tests of brain health can identify these adults as young as age three, new findings out of the University of Otago’s Dunedin Multidisciplinary Study suggest.

As reported (with Study members’ permission), the research team analysed government administrative databases and electronic medical records. The team found that nearly 80 per cent of adult economic burden can be attributed to just 20 per cent of the Study members. In addition they determined that this “high cost” group accounted for 81 per cent of criminal convictions, 66 per cent of welfare benefits, 78 per cent of prescription fills and also had a 40 per cent obesity rate.

Having worked in the sector for a long-time, it is no surprise to me that this population are incredibly violence prone, moving through multiple relationships, leaving a path of distress and trauma in their wake. If we are to seriously address this population and truly break the cycle of abusive practice, then we need more that a short Men’s Behaviour Change program. This requires some serious wrap-around interventions.

Published on Wednesday, January 18th, 2017, under Family violence, Offender work

One Response to “Small numbers of family violence offenders create big impact!”

  1. I couldn’t agree more about the fact that we need more than just the existing short MBC program. Clearly from the MBC statistics of the “success” rate of actual behavioural change, which I was told was just 2% when I attended the FV Summit in Sydney February last year, the program is not working to reduce the incidence of FV because the perpetrators of violence are somehow benefiting from their behaviours. By clarifying what their “pay off” is, it’s possible to create change.

Leave a Reply