In the paper “Integrated responses to domestic violence: Legally mandated intervention programs for male perpetrators” Day et. al. explores the outcomes of court mandated programs designed for men that have perpetrated domestic violence. The first section of this paper explores the outcomes of programs initiated in Queensland to stop men from reoffending and the results were positive.
A second item that was looked at was the Gold Coast Domestic Violence Integrated Response (GCDVIR) service which has a focus on court mandated interventions. The goal of this service is to enhance victims’ safety, stop the second instance of a victimisation in the future. The program is able to function thanks to the cooperation of several community partners which are Domestic Violence Prevention Centre Gold Coast, Gold Coast Women’s Refuges, the Gold Coast Hospital, Community Corrections (including Southport and Burleigh Heads Probation and Parole), Southport and Coolangatta Magistrates Courts and the Queensland Police Service Gold Coast. This program runs for 24 weeks as well and is a partnership between Southport Community Corrections and the Domestic Violence Prevention Centre. The data indicates that over time of attending the program men’s attitudes changed in four key areas: use of minimisation, use of denial, use of blame and use of manipulation.
The men involved in the program were not first time offenders either. Only four out of the 38 men had just one conviction prior to entering the program. The data regarding the men’s family history was also reported with the men stating that they had experienced domestic violence or other physical violence in the home when they were growing up.
In addition to family history, data was also taken to explore the statistics on the perpetrators’ usage of alcohol and drugs. It was found that alcohol did play a major role in how severe the violence was and also reduces the chances that the perpetrator would see positive benefits from the program. In fact in many cases it was considered to be a trigger in causing the violent acts to occur. The frequency of alcohol and substance abuse also indicated as to how frequently the violence occurred.
When assessing how the men felt about the violence that was perpetrated, the majority felt that the violence of “moderately serious” and they all felt that it was unacceptable to resort to violence while overcoming a conflict. Regardless of the men’s views in the program, the women did not feel that the partner’s participation in the programs helped them to feel significantly more safe and instead believed that they needed to take steps on their own to ensure that they remain safe from the perpetrators.
Overall the view remains optimistic about the success of these programs as they did effect some change. However further study and adjustments will need to be made in order to increase the rate of success with the programs. In addition, some studies will need to be done to further assess how these programs can assist men with substance abuse issues and still be effective.