ANROWS Research Project: Improving safety through better engagement and retention of perpetrators across the systems of interventions
Curtin University is leading a national project to inform the processes required to shift system focus onto the perpetrators of family and domestic violence, and alleviate the burden placed on women and children.

Traditionally, the responsibility of the protection and safety of victims of domestic, family and sexual violence has been placed upon the victim themselves to initiate all actions. In contrast the perpetrator was required to comply with conditions placed on him by authorities, and in situations where men don’t comply there may or may not be consequences for such breaches, often depending on circumstances rather than a consistent response from the State

In response to this unsafe and unjust situation, there is a concerted effort to place a greater system focus on the perpetrator. Such a shift emphasises perpetrator accountability and responsibility for their violent behaviour in an effort to reduce the source of the risk: the perpetrator’s use of violence. This more proactive approach to ending future violence recognises the need to engage with both victims and perpetrators of family violence, while also increasing the emphasis on perpetrator visibility and accountability.

The project will inform the processes which are required for shifts in system orientation to be established. The project, funded by the Australian National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS), will be led by Professor Donna Chung, Curtin University, with the research expertise of Mr Damian Green, Professor Reinie Cordier, Ms Elena Campbell, Professor Jan Breckenridge, Dr Michael Salter, Professor Siobhan Austin, Professor Patrick O’Leary and Mr Rodney Vlais.

To develop clear future directions which place the spotlight on the perpetrator, manage his risk and shift the burden away from women and children being responsible for their own safety, the project examines various parts of the perpetrator intervention system to understand how it can best be reshaped to achieve this shift.

The research will:

  • Provide a comprehensive analysis of research in integrated systems and interventions for perpetrators, and undertake service mapping of current domestic and family violence and sexual violence responses incorporating interventions across the continuum of responses from primary prevention to tertiary interventions; and
  • Examine how the tracking, engagement and retention of perpetrators within Systems of Perpetrator Interventions (SIPs) can be enhanced.

The projects’ components include:



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Butchart, A., Brown, D., Khanh-Huynh, A., Corse, P., Florquin, N., & Muggah, R. (2008). Manual for estimating the economic costs of injuries due to interpersonal and self-directed violence. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organisation. Retrieved from

Jewell, L. M., & Wormith, J. S. (2010). Variables associated with attrition from domestic violence treatment programs targeting male batterers. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 37(10), 1086-1113.

Perfect Moment. (2010). Strength to Change – Return on Investment Study.  Retrieved from

Stroshine, M., & Robinson, A. (2003). The decision to end abusive relationships: the role of offender characteristics. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 30(1), 97-117.

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