A domestic violence intervention program which has been piloted in South Australian prisons is being expanded following a $9.9 million State Budget boost, with more intervention workers and clinicians being hired to run the programs.

More than 100 Domestic Violence perpetrators participated in the first year of the Domestic and Family Violence Intervention Program (DFVIP) while in pilot stage, with the extra funding meaning this number will double in the current year.

This week, domestic violence experts from around the world have met in Adelaide for the ‘Prevalent and Preventable’ conference, focussed on the prevention of violence against women and their children.

South Australia has a coordinated approach to preventing domestic violence, and rehabilitation programs within prisons that target perpetrators are a relevant component.

The DFVIP program has been designed to challenge the mindset of those with a history of domestic violence and increase attitudes which are supportive of loving, trusting, safe and respectful relationships.

Increased capacity has seen the Department for Corrections (DCS) hire
five new intervention workers to run the program, with recruitment underway for additional 10 new regional clinicians in Mount Gambier and Port Augusta.

The program simultaneously seeks to improve the safety of the partners and children of these offenders, by providing them with independent counselling and support through a partnership with Women’s Safety Contact Services South Australia (WSSSA).

Background

Sentenced offenders who have been convicted of a domestic violence offence, or who present with a significant history of domestic violence behaviour are eligible for the DFVIP program.

Since February 2016, Women’s Safety Services South Australia (WSSSA) has provided support services to 104 women and 129 children who have been impacted by offenders who are participants of the DFVIP program.

Quotes attributable to Status of Women Minister Zoe Bettison

Protecting women and children from violence is complex and requires a coordinated effort from governments, the community and individuals.

This innovative program adds to the many practical measures the State Government has put in place to combat this issue. This includes the recent establishment of the Women’s Domestic Violence Court Assistance Service and the Multi-Agency Protection Service which brings together government and non-government agencies to enable quick and easy information sharing to help prevent domestic violence.

I’m particularly pleased that the Women’s Safety Contact Services South Australia is involved and supporting victims so the terrible of cycle of violence can be broken.

Violence against women and children cannot be tolerated and anything we can do to prevent it occurring is a step in the right direction.

Quotes attributable to Correctional Services Minister Peter Malinauskas

Sadly, an increasing number of those within our corrections system are there for domestic violence related offences.

Last year, we piloted the domestic violence program within our prisons with 100 offenders taking part. The additional funding from the State Budget means that this program is now moving past pilot stage and being expanded, which means increased impact.

Importantly, through our partnership with Women’s Safety Contact Services South Australia, we providing support to victims who are also able to provide valuable insights into the behaviour of individual offenders, which means a more targeted and tailored program.

No matter what the crime, rehabilitation is critical to the positive reintegration of a prisoner back into the community. The more we invest in rehabilitation, the less we will see repeat offenders, and the safer our communities will be.