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17 March 2020

Policing repeat domestic violence: Would focused deterrence work in Australia?

The Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) today released a paper Policing repeat domestic violence: Would focused deterrence work in Australia?

Against a backdrop of persistently high rates of repeat domestic violence, and with calls to reduce the risk to current and future victims, this paper explores whether focused deterrence could reduce repeat domestic violence in Australian communities.

“Focused deterrence is a police-led intervention that increases offender accountability and ensures appropriately targeted responses to victims,” AIC Deputy Director Dr Brown said.

“This model has been shown in the United States to be effective in reducing serious forms of domestic violence, including homicide,” he said.

This paper is the culmination of three years of research by the AIC into patterns of domestic violence and policing strategies to reduce repeat victimisation. Responses to domestic violence need to be timely, targeted at individuals at the greatest risk of further violence, and graduated, meaning they increase in intensity when the risk of harm to the victim increases. Focused deterrence models could help to reduce repeat domestic violence in Australia.

By reducing repeat offending and shifting the burden of preventing violence away from the victim, the focused deterrence approach can deliver additional benefits to those provided by existing criminal justice responses.

This paper recommends trialing focused deterrence to reduce domestic violence reoffending in an Australian pilot site. The model should be developed with the local community, supported by local partners and subject to rigorous evaluation and monitoring.

To view the paper visit: www.aic.gov.au

Last updated
17 March 2020