New Family and Domestic Violence Initiative to Strengthen Earlier Perpetrator Intervention

Expressions of interest have opened to trial a new initiative to strengthen earlier intervention and hold perpetrators of family and domestic violence to account.

The $3.125 million Innovative Perpetrator Response Initiative, funded by the Commonwealth Government, supports Western Australia to trial direct, targeted engagement with men after police call-outs to family and domestic violence incidents.

The trial will see new men’s workers join five of WA’s Family and Domestic Violence Response Teams (FDVRT) in Northam, Bunbury, Midland, Joondalup and Fremantle.

The new workers will work with male perpetrators of family violence to undertake risk assessment, case management and referrals to men’s behaviour change programs.

The trial aims to hold perpetrators accountable, prevent them from reoffending, and improve victim-survivor safety.

The funding is provided through an extension to the National Partnership Agreement on Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence Responses 2021-2027.

The expressions of interest process is targeted to organisations already delivering specialist men’s intervention programs and have an existing service or grant agreement with the Department of Communities.

The expression of interest process is now open (5 October) until 5 November 2023 for eligible organisations via Tenders WA.

Comments attributable to Federal Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth:

“Under the First Action Plan of the National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children 2022-2032, both the Commonwealth and States have committed to joint action to strengthen systems and services, to better hold people who choose to use violence to account,” Minister Rishworth said.

“Through these programs, we are not only holding offenders accountable, but also improving the safety of women and children experiencing, or at risk of experiencing family, domestic, and sexual violence.

“We need to build the evidence base of what works to change perpetrator behaviour, because if we don't actually address it, we are going to just see this cycle go over and over again.”

Comments attributable to the Federal Assistant Minister for Social Services and Federal Assistant Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence Justine Elliot:

“The Albanese Labor Government is committed to working with all state and territory governments under the National Partnership on Family, Domestic, and Sexual Violence Responses, to carry out vital projects that address violence in our community, particularly through these innovative perpetrator trials.

“These programs are about early intervention and response, to support accountability and change the behaviour of those perpetrating violence, and provide better support for families experiencing family and domestic violence through a dedicated perpetrator response.

“To achieve our shared goal of ending violence against women and children in one generation we need sustained collective action to address the drivers of gender- based violence and holding those who choose to use violence to account is a key part of that.”

Comments attributed to WA Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence Minister Sabine Winton:

“Violence against partners or family members is unacceptable, and perpetrators should always be held accountable. There is no excuse for violence.

“To stop the cycle, we need to work with perpetrators to have them take responsibility for their actions and seek help.

“By introducing this innovative perpetrator response into our Family and Domestic Violence Response Teams, we are building and strengthening early engagement with perpetrators and improving information sharing and collaboration between agencies and family and domestic violence services.”

“It is vital perpetrators are held to account through early intervention and supported to seek the help and strategies they need to change their behaviour.