NTV Discussion Paper: Predominant Aggressor Identification And Victim Misidentification
Identifying predominant aggressors remains a challenge to family violence responses.
A predominant aggressor is defined here as the person exerting the greatest amount of harm and control over their partner or family member through any number of abusive behaviours.
As recognised in Victoria’s Royal Commission into Family Violence, failure to accurately identify and assess predominant aggressors is directly related to the misidentification of victims of family violence, which can have devastating effects on the lives of victims and their families.
NTV’s discussion paper highlights the need for all parts of the family violence intervention system to bring greater attention to the complexities of family violence perpetrators, their behaviours, motives, and presentations to more effectively identify, assess and manage risk. NTV highlights the negative role that victim and perpetrator stereotypes play.
Additionally, we explore the impact incident-based understandings of family violence can have on predominant aggressor assessments and victim misidentification.
The paper concludes by arguing that greater stakeholder coordination, and policy, institutional, and financial investment is needed in order to shift focus to the perpetrator and grapple with the full complexity of family violence perpetration and predominant aggressor assessment.
Without a complex understanding of the nature of violence perpetration, assessments of predominant aggressors are likely to be limited and misidentification is likely to continue.
Expert Advisory Committee on Perpetrator Interventions Report
We are pleased to announce that Expert Advisory Committee on Perpetrator Interventions (EACPI) Final Report has been released and can be found here.
NTV was an active member on this committee, providing expert advice on shifting the focus of responsibility in family violence away from victim survivors to men who use family violence.
The committee explored men’s role in taking responsibility for their use of violence and where and how men who use violence receive reinforcing messages from the service system and broader community.
The report makes 22 recommendations focused on strengthening existing perpetrator interventions, supporting emerging interventions, connecting with support services for other needs, identifying key areas for further work and research, and strengthening the foundations of the perpetrator intervention system. It also highlights that the service system and community must work together to hold perpetrators to account and keep them in view.
- Trials in community and justice settings for people who use violence from diverse communities and with complex needs have commenced and are being evaluated. This includes trial interventions working with Aboriginal communities, diverse communities, people with cognitive impairment, and women, transgender, intersex and gender diverse people.
- The EACPI Principles for Perpetrator Interventions have been embedded in the men’s behaviour change program minimum standards and case management guidelines to strengthen practice.
- The Family Violence Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management Framework (MARAM) tool and practice guidance for perpetrators is under development and will provide workforces across a range of specialisations with the tools to work safely with perpetrators of family violence to maintain engagement and support change.
- Victoria Police have rolled out 31 Family Violence Investigation Units across the state to work with high risk family violence cases, and improve the safety of victim survivors through police responses. This is supported with tools to help identify risk and prioritise interventions.
- There are five specialist family violence courts opening throughout 2019/20 which prioritise safety support and service. They include specialist Magistrates, larger multi-disciplinary teams of operational staff, practitioners, partner agencies and other court-based services to deliver a coordinated response.
- FSV’s Centre for Workforce Excellence is finalising Strengthening the Foundations: First Rolling Action Plan to the family violence 10 Year Industry Plan. This will include initiatives to build the supply, knowledge and skills of the workforces that have a role in working with victims and perpetrators of family violence, including children. Initiatives will include accredited training courses for these workforces, and an attraction campaign and health and wellbeing framework.
- The Perpetrator Accountability Steering Committee, a dedicated inter-departmental governance committee, has been established to help strengthen the focus of perpetrator accountability across our reform work.
NTV looks forward to working with FSV and other sector partners in implementing the 22 recommendations.
New South Wales Listening Tour Report
In January 2019, No to Violence led a regional Listening Tour in NSW to hear what’s needed to better prevent and respond to domestic and family violence in local communities.
At every stop, we heard front line service providers and community leaders tell us they were underfunded, overstretched and struggling to adequately prevent and respond to men’s family violence.
With the valuable insights of this tour and many other meetings in NSW towns over the last 18 months, we have produced a report that calls for a much bolder investment from NSW leaders to ending men’s violence.
Ahead of the NSW election on 23 March, No to Violence is now asking NSW politicians to commit:
- $40m dedicated men’s behaviour change sector funding
- $1m to develop a range of interventions with men who use violence
- $800k to develop a practice framework to work with young men using intimate partner and family violence.
These are just a few of the must-haves No to Violence is asking for in its NSW Listening Tour Report which you can read in full below.
Victorian Listening Tour Report
The tour provided humbling and educative insights into specific issues at each stop and gave us an opportunity to identify common themes that emerged across state. As the largest peak body in Australia representing organisations and individuals working directly with men to end family violence, our priority is to ensure there is continued bipartisan rigour and support applied to policy commitments arising from the Royal Commission into Family Violence, backed up by solid funding to support men’s family violence prevention and interventions in Victoria.
Read the report: Victorian Listening Tour Report
Victorian Aboriginal Men’s Programs Literature Review
This literature review provides a brief overview of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men’s services aimed at addressing the behaviors that lead to family violence. In doing so, it also provides an explanation of the meaning of social and emotional wellbeing, to help establish an understanding of how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities think about wellness and what conditions are required for individuals and communities to thrive. By providing a brief overview of what constitutes social and emotional wellbeing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, the review will also seek to identify how culture informs approaches to Aboriginal men’s behavior change programs. The review will then present some examples of Indigenous men’s programs, which focus on healing and cultural strengthening as a means, inter alia , to address family violence. This is then followed by a discussion of the challenges in evaluating Aboriginal programs, including the challenges in collecting relevant data to support successful outcomes. These challenges have resulted in a paucity of reliable evaluations of Aboriginal men’s programs, but nonetheless, the review will provide examples of outcomes from evaluations that have been undertaken of existing Aboriginal men’s family violence programs.
Online programs for men who use family violence
The following position statement explores the complexities of translating MBCP practice from in-person to online delivery. The paper explores the fundamentals of MBCP practice and the inherent challenges in translating programs to an online platform. While some supplementary interventions to MBCP have been developed, it remains unclear how a MBCP itself can be translated to an online setting. The statement concludes by recommending that current online interventions not be used as a substitute for in-person MBCP due to a number of programmatic, delivery and safety concerns, and should instead only be used to complement in-person MBCP.
Fathering programs for men who use family violence
No to Violence (NTV) believes that fathering programs for men who use family violence have a key role to play in supporting men to fulfil their role as a non-abusive father and parent, to increase women and children’s safety and to support men to have respectful relationships with their partner/ex-partner.