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Profile of family violence in the Australian Capital Territory, 2007–08

Overview

This section presents a description of incidents recorded as family violence during the 2007–08 financial year and the victims and offenders involved. The data for this section was provided by ACT Policing, the ACT Magistrates’ Court and ACTCS. Data was also extracted from the 2007–08 annual reports of the ODPP and DVCS.

These data only reflect those incidents that have come to the attention of relevant authorities. As family violence is widely acknowledged to be under-reported (eg see Signal & Taylor 2008), such data cannot accurately represent the full extent of family violence that occurs within the ACT community.

The terms victim and offender are generally used throughout this section to facilitate ease of understanding. The Tables, Figures and discussion relating to ODPP and Magistrates’ Court data use the term defendant rather than offender to reflect the important principle that until a matter has been adjudicated and a person found guilty of an offence, the person is presumed innocent of all charges.

ACT Policing data

Police have discretion over both the arrest and charge of alleged offenders and will only lay charges where they feel there is sufficient evidence. This is often done in consultation with the ODPP who may advise on what charges should be laid after analysing the evidence (ODPP 2008).

In the data, family violence matters were extracted from PROMIS where an incident or apprehension was identified or flagged (using the family violence tick box) and/or where theoffence and relationship between victim and offender was recorded as family related (based on the definitions provided under the Domestic Violence and Protection Orders ACT 2001). Incidents include those that involved the police and those where they received a notification. Each incident is recorded by ACT Policing as a separate event even if the time between them is relatively short.

ACT Magistrates’ Court data

All charges identified as relating to family violence are flagged on the court’s case management system. These charges are ‘flagged’ as family violence either:

  • by ACT Policing prior to registration at the Magistrates’ Court; or
  • after being identified by the magistrate or prosecution during court proceedings.

All of these charges are subject to procedures within the family violence stream, notwithstanding that they may not all be family violence charges.

Previously published data

The primary sources of previously published public data on ACT family violence incidents include evaluations of the FVIP conducted by Urbis Keys Young (2001 and Keys Young (2000)), analysis of incidents reported to police between July 2003 and June 2004 (Taylor 2006), an overview of criminal justice intervention in family violence in the Australian Capital Territory (Holder & Caruana 2006) and analysis of spouse–ex-spouse incidents attended by police and subsequent action (Holder 2007). While these data cannot directly be compared with the 2007–08 data extracted for this report, they are presented here to provide an overview of the types of data that have been available for analysis in the past and the trends in family violence incidents apparent at the time.

The 2000 Keys Young (2000) evaluation highlighted a number of problems with the ACT Policing data system, leading the evaluators to not use these figures for comparative purposes in the 2001 evaluation. The 2000 evaluation data is, therefore, not presented in this report. Previously published policing data from the 2001 evaluation represents family violence incidents from the 1999 calendar year and as more recent analyses is available from Taylor (2006), these data are not included in this report except in the brief description of incidents relating to Table 5. The victim survey data from the 2001 evaluation is presented, where relevant, in this report in the section Experience of family violence. Holder and Caruana (2006) provided data from the ODPP and ACT Magistrates’ Court, which has been replicated in this report.

Table 5: Family violence incidents attended by ACT Policing by incident description, 1999–2003–04a
Incident description 1999b 2001–02c 2002–03d 2003–04e
n % n % n % n %
Disturbance 832 56 1,641 45 1,351 42 1,283 46
Assault 150 10 419 12 455 14 337 12
Check welfare/premises 110 7 463 13 416 13 404 14
Routine assistance 98 7 168 5 147 5 94 3
Breach DVO 68 5 300 8 232 7 162 6
Domestic violence incidentf 89 6 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Otherg (eg intoxicated person, criminal damage, psychiatric incident) 129 9 623 17 581 18 511 18
Total offences recorded 1,476 3,614 3,182 2,791

a: Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding

b: Calendar year

c: Financial year 4 incidents missing

d: Financial year 6 incidents missing

e: Financial year 2 incidents missing

f: 1999 data only

g: Also includes sexual assault, suspicious activity and nuisance categories from 2001–02–2003–04 financial years

Source: Taylor (2006); Urbis Keys Young (2001)

Summary of 2007–08 findings

ACT Policing recorded 2,807 family violence incidents during the 2007–08 financial year. On average, eight incidents per day occurred throughout the financial year. Seventy-seven percent of the incidents took place in a private home.

Victims are counted once for every incident they are involved in; therefore, there were 1,143 victims recorded, representing 979 distinct individuals. Victims were 2.7 times more likely to be female than male. Forty-eight percent of all incidents occurred between intimate partners. Where the offender is a young offender, 54 percent of victims were their parents.

Female victims were most likely to be between 25 and 34 years of age (25%) and male victims were most likely to be between 35 and 44 years of age (20%). Four percent of victims were aged 14 years and younger and two percent were aged 65 years and over.

Offenders are counted once for every incident they are involved in; therefore, there were 780 offenders recorded, representing 652 distinct individuals. The largest proportion of offenders was between 25 and 34 years (30%), regardless of gender or Indigenous status. Three percent of victims were also offenders during the same time period.

In 2007–08, a total of 403 adult and 32 young person defendants appeared in the ACT Magistrates’ Court facing 677 and 54 charges respectively. This represents a decrease of 17 percent in the number of overall defendants and a seven percent decrease in charges from the previous financial year. This data is provided as an indicator of court activity, but does not necessarily reflect a decrease in family violence incidents as police data from 2006–07 is not available for comparison. The length of time taken to finalise matters has remained relatively consistent over the 10 year operation of the FVIP. A slight majority of matters (54%) are finalised within 13 weeks.

One hundred and ninety-seven distinct adult offenders and nine distinct young offenders were convicted of family violence-related offences. Adult offenders were most likely to receive a GBO (44%) as the most severe sentence outcome. Eighty-nine percent of young offenders received a probation order.

Fifteen (8%) of the adult family violence offenders convicted in 2007–08 had a previous family violence conviction in either 2005–06 or 2006–07.

In 2007–08, 111 adult offenders were referred to be assessed for participation in the Family Violence Self-Change Program. Thirty-nine offenders were assessed as suitable, 15 were referred to alternative programs, eight offenders completed the program in 2007–08 and others were continuing to participate at various stages of the program.

The DVCS continues to provide support to victims of family violence. Overall, provision of court support has fallen by 35 percent over the last two financial years due to resourcing issues. Overall, provision of telephone support has risen by eight percent over the same timeframe. DVCS reports that children and young people reside in 65 percent of client homes who receive a crisis visit.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander involvement in family violence

The proportion of Indigenous people involved in incidents as either victims or offenders is distributed throughout the following sections of this report. A short summary of these data is presented here; however, it should be noted that the representation of Indigenous involvement in family violence incidents is indicative only.

The true volume of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander involvement in incidents of family violence is not known. This is, in part, because family violence is under-reported and also because of the way Indigenous status is recorded. A 2009 report published by the VoCC provides an overview of the available research and data in the Australian Capital Territory (VoCC 2009). ACT Policing records Indigenous status for all offenders where an offence has been recorded; however, there will inevitably be some incidents where no offence is recorded. In 2007–08, no offence was recorded in 50 percent of incidents. The ACT Magistrates’ Court does not record Indigenous status, so there is currently no way to measure the number of Indigenous people appearing on charges before the court. ACT Policing records the Indigenous status of victims for all incidents where it is known. In 2007–08, the data reflect that for 31 percent of victims, Indigenous status was not known and therefore, the data on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victimisation may not be accurate.

ACT policing data reflects that:

  • a small proportion of the total number of unique offenders are identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander (8%; n=64);
    • 77 percent (n=49) were male and 23 percent (n=15) were female; and
    • 86 percent of male offenders (n=42) and 73 percent of female offenders (n=11) were 20 years of age and over.
  • a small proportion of the total number of victims were identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander (4%; n=47);
    • 79 percent of the victims were women (n=37) and 21 percent were male (n=10); and
    • 70 percent of female victims (n=26) and 50 percent of male victims (n=5) were 20 years of age and over.
  • for incidents where the relationship between victim and offender was recorded:
    • the proportion of Indigenous victims by category (spouse/ex-spouse, parent, sibling, child) were similar to the findings for non-Indigenous victims); and
    • the majority of Indigenous victims were the spouse/ex-spouse of the offender.

Notably, 23 percent of Indigenous victims and only 12 percent of non-Indigenous victims were of ‘other’ relationship to their offender, including immediate family, step or other relations. This may reflect the difference in kinship ties between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. The Indigenous status of the offender by Indigenous status of victim is unknown.

Data

Incident descriptions

Time and day

In 2007–08, 2,807 family violence incidents were recorded by ACT Policing. Figure 3 demonstrates that there was little fluctuation between months, with an average of 234 incidents being recorded every month, with a low of 197 in November 2007 and a peak of 300 in March 2008.

Figure 3: Incidents by month reported, 2007–08 (n)

Figure 3

Source: ACT Policing specific data request April 2009

Figure 4 reflects little fluctuation between days of incident occurrence with a slight decline mid-week. On average, there were eight family violence incidents per day over the 2007–08 financial year.

Figure 4: Incidents by day, 2007–08 (n)

Figure 4

Note: 9 incidents excluded due to missing data. n=2,798

Source: ACT Policing specific data request April 2009

Figure 5 demonstrates that the number of incidents are characterised by periods of increase and decline throughout the day. Reports of incidents tend to increase between 5.00 am and 8.00 am, fluctuate until noon and then follow an upward trend until 9.00 pm when they begin to decline.

Figure 5: Incidents by time of day reported, 2007–08 (n)

Figure 5

Note: 9 incidents excluded due to missing data. n=2,798

Source: ACT Policing specific data request April 2009

Figure 6 demonstrates that the number of incidents reported was relatively consistent across day and time. The proportion of incidents reported over the weekend (from 5.00 pm Friday to 6.00 am Monday) is 38 percent. Using the same time parameters (5:00 pm to 6:00 am) across all other possible three day combinations reveals similar proportions—39 percent, Saturday to Tuesday, 38 percent Sunday to Wednesday, 34 percent Monday to Thursday, 33 percent Tuesday to Friday, 34 percent Wednesday to Saturday and 38 percent Thursday to Sunday.

Figure 6: Incidents by time and day reported, 2007–08 (n)

Figure 6

Note: 9 incidents excluded due to missing data. n=2,798

Source: ACT Policing specific data request April 2009

Previous analysis conducted by Taylor (2006) is generally consistent with the current findings. The 2003–04 data recorded 2,793 separate incidents of family violence (compared with 3,188 incidents in 2002–03 and 3,618 incidents in 2001–02). When comparing the number of incidents recorded in 2007–08 (n=2,807) with the 2003–04 figures, it appears that the overall number has remained relatively constant; however, given the four year gap in available data, it is unknown whether these data reflect a trend or whether peaks and troughs were evident in the intervening years.

Comparisons between the 2003–04 and 2007–08 incident date and time found that incidents of family violence tended to:

  • occur more frequently on Saturdays and Sundays in 2003–04 and Sundays and Mondays in 2007–08;
  • tended to peak between 6.00 pm and 10.00 pm in both financial years; and
  • tended to remain relatively constant by month in both financial years.

Australian and international media reports frequently draw links between peaks of family violence incidents and particular timeframes (eg weekends), as well as specific times of the year, such as December and January. However, the available research on fluctuations in family violence incidents is inconsistent. For example, in their analysis of NSW family homicides, Australian researchers Nguyen da Huong and Salmelainen (1992) found that family homicides were more likely to occur in December than in any other month of the year. While Taylor’s (2006) research identified a peak in domestic violence incidents during weekends, it did not identify dramatic spikes in the reporting of incidents during the months of December or January.

The 2007–08 data does not support dominant perceptions concerning higher rates of family violence occurring in weekends and during December and January. Indeed, this report found that there was a peak of family violence incidents in the month of March. This could be linked to a calendar event such as the Easter holiday period. This report also revealed that there was proportionally no difference in the number of incidents on any specific days of the week.

A thorough investigation of family violence incident peaks is relevant to both service providers and policymakers as any increase in incidents has significant consequences for the victims (Braaf & Gilbert 2007). A more nuanced understanding of the link between the frequency of family violence and times of the week and/or year could assist in more effectively targeting appropriate resources so as to minimise incidents. As the available research findings are inconsistent and the data on incident peaks is not conclusive, further research and more sophisticated data collection and trend analysis is required.

Location

Table 4 reflects that, of the 1,143 recorded victims, the majority were victimised in a private home (77%), followed by a public place (10%) and car park (4%). These figures represent the number of victims of selected offence types. Selected offences include all homicide, sexual-related, assault, threats, property damage and breach of order offences that can be linked to a family violence incident. Victims are counted once for every incident in which they are a victim.

Table 4: Victims by location (type) of offence, 2007–08 (n)
Location n
Car park 46
Church (including all religious) 2
Garage (attached to residence) 6
Garage (not attached to residence) 1
Hospital (including all health except chemist/surgery) 4
Hotel/motel 6
House 882
Licensed premises 9
Office 5
Other 39
Police station 1
Public place (including street/path/bicycle path) 118
Recreational centre 1
School (including all educational and surrounds) 6
Shop 17
Total victims 1,143

Source: ACT Policing specific data request April 2009

Previously reported data (Taylor 2006) found that in 2002–03 and 2003–04, 85 and 86 percent of incidents, respectively, occurred in private homes. These results are not directly comparable with the 2007–08 data, as the earlier data reflects the proportion of incidents occurring in a private home against the total incidents (or police call outs) and the current data is the proportion of incidents occurring in a private home against the number of victims. Multiple incidents may have been recorded against each victim.

ACT Policing data provided for the 2001 evaluation and the 2003–04 analysis conducted by Taylor (2006) provided descriptions of incidents that were not easily extractable and therefore not included in the 2007–08 analysis. These data reflect that ‘disturbances’ accounted for the greatest proportion of confirmed incident types (46% in 2003–04; 56% in 1999). Table 5 depicts the number of incident types recorded by police as reported by Taylor (2006) and Urbis Keys Young (2001). These data are replicated in this report to provide an indication of the types of activities police engaged in and cannot be used to make any assessment about current activities. At the time the Urbis Keys Young data was analysed, ‘family violence’ was not a mandatory field within the PROMIS database, therefore, the representation of family violence incidents may not be accurate. It should be noted that both this data and that in Taylor (2006) reflect the ‘all family violence’ definition utilised by ACT Policing, which includes violence between any family members and persons in domestic relationships. Analysis of the ‘spouse/ex-spouse’ category alone reveals some crucial differences (Holder 2007).

Further contextual incident information was available for the 2001–02–2003–04 data. Figure 7 depicts the number of offences and how they were further characterised for each of the three financial years for which data is available. These data reflect that roughly equal proportions of offences were categorised against each descriptor across each financial year. Further data is required to determine if this remains the same in the current data.

Figure 7: Previous family violence incidents by categorisation 2001–02–2003–04 (n)

Figure 7

Note: 2001–02 data excludes 1 incident due to missing data

Source: Taylor 2006

Victim profile

Table 6 depicts the number of recorded victims by gender, age and Indigenous status. The majority of victims, where gender was known (n=1,085), were female (74%). The 2003–04 data (Taylor 2006) identified an almost equivalent proportion of female victims (75%). Four percent of all victims in 2007–08 were identified as Indigenous; however, Indigenous status was not known for 31 percent of the victims. Indigenous victims represent six percent of victims where Indigenous status was recorded (n=726). In a number of cases, insufficient details were recorded, which meant that 58 victims appeared with unknown gender, age and Indigenous status. This generally means that no offence was recorded for these victims. Indigenous status was not recorded in the 2003–04 analysis.

Table 6: Victim demographics, 2007–08 (n)
Age group (yrs) Indigenous Non-Indigenous Unknown
Male Female Male Female Male Female Unknown
9 and under 4 2 19 24 9 9 0
10–14 1 2 6 15 11 3 0
15–19 0 7 16 65 9 42 0
20–24 1 7 19 85 9 43 0
25–34 0 10 30 126 19 64 0
35–44 2 6 42 107 14 52 0
45–54 2 2 20 56 13 32 0
55–64 0 0 17 22 7 7 0
65 and over 0 1 5 5 2 3 0
Age not specified 0 0 0 0 5 6 58
Total 10 37 174 505 98 261 58

n=1,143

Source: ACT Policing specific data request April 2009

Figure 8 reflects that victims between the ages of 25 and 34 made up the highest proportion of victims by age category (23%), followed by victims aged between 35 and 44 years (21%), where age was specified (n=1,085). In 2003–04, 88 percent of victims were aged 18 years or older compared with 78 percent of 2007–08 victims aged 20 years or older. As the proportion of 2007–08 victims aged 18 and 19 is not known, these two measures are not strictly comparable.

Figure 8: Victims by age group in years, 2007–08

Figure 8

Source: ACT Policing specific data request April 2009

The United Nations Statistical Division defines children as persons under the age of 14 and young people as individuals aged 14 to 24 inclusive. Table 6 identifies the frequency of involvement in family violence incidents against these definitions, as they reflect the manner in which age is recorded within ACT Policing. It should be noted however, that OCYFS, which investigates all allegations of child abuse and neglect, uses different definitions, identifying children as persons less than 12 years and young people as persons 12 to 18 in accordance with the Children and Young People Act 2008 and the Legislation Act 2001.

Involvement in family violence incidents was recorded for 979 distinct individuals of whom 604 (62%) were adult, 273 (28%) were young people and 102 (10%) were children. There were 41 Indigenous victims of family violence, representing six percent of the total victims where Indigenous status was known and recorded (n=672). The high proportion of victims with unknown Indigenous status recorded requires caution to be exercised before making a claim to over-representation of Indigenous family violence victims in the Australian Capital Territory.

Family violence victims were most likely to have been victimised only once during the 2007–08 financial year. Table 7 reflects that 92 percent of victims were victimised only once, seven percent twice and one percent, three times or more.

Table 7: Family violence incidents by victim Indigenous status, age group and involvement, 2007–08
Victim ATSI status and age group Times person was a victim during the period (n)
Once only Twice Three or more times
Indigenous Children 7 1 0
Young people 10 1 1
Adult 18 3 0
Total 35 5 1
Non-Indigenous Children 60 2 0
Young people 151 18 1
Adult 359 31 9
Total 570 51 10
Unknown Indigenous status Children 32 0 0
Young people 87 3 1
Adult 178 6 0
Total 297 9 1
Total victims Children 99 3 0
Young people 248 22 3
Adult 555 40 9
Combined total 902 65 12

Source: ACT policing specific data request April 2009

Offender profile

These figures represent the number of unique or distinct persons apprehended by ACT Policing during family violence incidents. Offenders are counted once for every incident in which they are an offender. Offenders include those who were detained for intoxication but not charged.

Table 8 identifies that the majority of offenders were non-Indigenous males (76%). Female offenders accounted for 17 percent of all offenders. Female offenders represent 17 percent of non-Indigenous offenders and 23 percent of Indigenous offenders. A higher proportion of offences by gender involved females than males in the 19 years and under category (29% and 15% respectively). The proportion of male and female offenders in 2007–08 is roughly equivalent to that in 2003–04, when figures reflect that 79 percent of offenders were male and 21 percent were female.

Table 8: Offender demographics, 2007–08 (n)
Indigenous Non-Indigenous Total
Age group (yrs) Male Female Male Female Male Female
10–14 3 0 19 13 22 13
15–19 4 4 72 22 76 26
20–24 11 2 98 17 109 19
25–34 14 5 190 23 204 28
35–44 13 3 136 32 149 35
45–54 4 1 57 12 61 13
55–64 0 0 18 2 18 2
65 and over 0 0 4 0 4 0
Age not specified 0 0 1 0 1 0
Total 49 15 595 121 644 136

Source: ACT Policing specific data request April 2009

Figure 9 reflects the proportion of offenders by age category as recorded by ACT Policing. The largest proportion of offenders was aged between 25 and 34 years (30%) regardless of gender or Indigenous status.

Figure 9: Offenders by age group in years, 2007–08

Figure 9

Source: ACT Policing specific data request April 2009

In 2003–04, 90 percent of offenders were aged 18 years or older compared with 82 percent of 2007–08 offenders aged 20 years or older. However, data from 2003–04 with respect to age is not directly comparable with the 2007–08 data because the age categories used in the analyses are different. The 2003–04 data described the proportion of offenders who were adult (18 years and older). For the purposes of comparison, the 2007–08 data age categories of 19 years and under must be used and will therefore include 18 and 19 year old offenders who would be part of the adult population under the previous analysis and for the purposes of court outcomes. In addition, the 2003–04 data reflect the total number of offenders involved in incidents. Therefore, some offenders will have been counted more than once. The 2007–08 data reflects the number of offenders as distinct individuals.

Table 9 identifies the number of times an offender was involved in incidents of family violence during the 2007–08 financial year. Both male and female offenders were more likely to have been involved only once during the time period (84% male and 92% respectively). Sixteen percent of male offenders and eight percent of female offenders were involved in multiple incidents.

Table 9: Family violence offenders by number of incidents, 2007–08 (n)
Offender sex and age Times person was an offender during the period (n)
Once only Twice Three or more times

Male

10 to 14 years 13 2 1
15 to 19 years 62 7 0
20 to 24 years 67 15 3
25 to 34 years 148 18 6
35 to 44 years 83 13 11
45 to 54 years 50 4 1
55 to 64 years 16 1 0
65 years and older 2 1 0
Age not specified 1 0 0
Total 442 61 22

Female

10 to 14 years 11 1 0
15 to 19 years 24 1 0
20 to 24 years 17 1 0
25 to 34 years 26 1 0
35 to 44 years 24 6 0
45 to 54 years 13 0 0
55 to 64 years 2 0 0
65 years and older 0 0 0
Age not specified 0 0 0
Total 117 10 0

Total offender

10 to 14 years 24 3 1
15 to 19 years 86 8 0
20 to 24 years 84 16 3
25 to 34 years 174 19 6
35 to 44 years 107 19 11
45 to 54 years 63 4 1
55 to 64 years 18 1 0
65 years and older 2 1 0
Age not specified 1 0 0
Total 559 71 22

Note: n=652 unique persons as offenders

Source: ACT Policing specific data request April 2009

Overall, offenders aged between 20 and 44 years accounted for 80 percent of multiple incidents with 11 males aged 35 to 44 years involved in three or more incidents.

Table 10 reflects that 33 percent of Indigenous male offenders and 14 percent of non-Indigenous male offenders were involved in multiple incidents of family violence. Thirteen percent of Indigenous female offenders and seven percent of non-Indigenous female offenders were involved in incidents. These data do not necessarily mean that Indigenous offenders are more likely to be involved in multiple incidents, as there is no contextual information accompanying the data from which to draw any inferences. Forty percent of the incidents that involved Indigenous offenders on two or more occasions involved a person 35–44 years of age. Thirty-three percent of single incidents attributed to Indigenous persons involved people 25–34 years of age; 22 percent were 35–44 years and 15 percent were 15–19 years.

Table 10: Offender Indigenous status and involvement in family violence incidents, 2007–08 (n)
Offender ATSI status and sex Times person was an offender during the period (n)
Once only Twice Three or more times
Indigenous Male 27 11 2
Female 13 2 0
Total 40 13 2
Non-indigenous Male 415 50 20
Female 104 8 0
Total 519 58 20
Total offenders Male 442 61 22
Female 117 10 0
Total 559 71 22

Note: n=652 unique persons as offenders

Source: ACT Policing specific data request April 2009

The following Tables reflect the number of family violence victims by the gender of the victim and the gender (see Table 11) or age (see Table 12) of the offender. These Tables include all unique victims where at least one person was apprehended for homicide, sexual offences, assault, threats, property damage and breach of order offences that ACT Policing linked to a family violence incident. Some information appears as unknown as it was either not fully recorded or not easily extractable from the PROMIS database.

Table 11: Family violence victims and offenders by gender, 2007–08 (n)
Offender sex Victim sex
Male Female Unknown
Male 66 372 194
Female 49 40 45

Note: n=766 unique victims where at least 1 person was apprehended for selected offences

Source: ACT Policing specific data request April 2009

Table 12: Family violence victims and offenders by gender, 2007–08 (n)
Offender age (yrs) Victim sex
Male Female Unknown
10–14 9 15 11
15–19 19 43 39
20–24 20 76 33
25–34 29 127 66
35–44 26 92 62
45–54 10 45 19
55–64 2 11 7
65+ 0 3 1
Age not specified 0 0 1

Note: n=766, victims of selected offence types where at least 1 person was apprehended

Source: ACT Policing specific data request April 2009

Where the gender of both the victim and offender was known:

  • 15 percent of male offenders victimised another male;
  • 85 percent of male offenders victimised a female;
  • 55 percent of female offenders victimised a male; and
  • 45 percent of female offenders victimised another female.

Where the gender of the victim was known, females were between 1.6 and 5.6 times more likely than males to be the victim of each age category of offender (excluding offenders aged 65 years and older for whom all recorded victims were female).

Where the age of the offender was specified, 18 percent of offenders were 19 years or under. Persons aged 18 years and over, if charged, would be subject to the adult criminal justice process. The vast majority of offenders (minimum 82%) would be subject to the adult criminal justice process, although it is not possible to definitively ascertain the exact proportion due to the age categories utilised by ACT Policing.

Relationships between victims and offenders

Table 13 represents the relationships between victims and offenders for all recorded victims of selected offence types and for the victims of these selected offence types where at least one person was apprehended. Selected offence types include all homicide, sexual-related, assault, threats, property damage and breach of order offences that can be linked to a family violence incident.

Table 13: Family violence victims by relationship of offender to victim, 2007–08a
Victim type Victims of selected offence types Victims of selected offence types where at least one person was apprehended
n % n %
Child 121 11 79 10
Immediate family (other) 48 4 15 2
Parent 121 11 43 6
Partner, spouse etc 276 24 200 26
Sibling 68 6 32 4
Ex-partner 270 24 146 19
Relationship not further specified 43 4 7 1
Relative (not immediate family) 47 4 18 2
Known (not related) 91 8 40 5
Relationship not recorded 58 5 186 24
Total victims 1,143 766

a: Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding

Note: Known (not related) includes step-family relationships (victims of selected offence types n=1,143; victims of selected offence types where at least 1 person was apprehended n=766)

Source: ACT Policing specific data request April 2009

These data reflect general consistency between the proportion of offences recorded and the proportion of offences where a person is apprehended by relationship between the victim and offender. Forty-eight percent of all victims and 45 percent of victims where a person was apprehended were current or former partners of the offender. Twenty-two percent of all selected offences and 16 percent of offences where a person was apprehended occurred between parents and their children.

Relationship by Indigenous status

ACT Policing recorded 766 incidents where at least one offender was apprehended for selected offences. For 186 incidents (24%), the relationship between the victim and offender was not recorded. Figure 10 reflects the relationship between victims and offenders by Indigenous status for all incidents where the relationship was recorded (n=580). The proportion of offences committed between Indigenous people, between non-Indigenous people or between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people is unknown. Although ACT Policing data records Indigenous status for both offenders and victims, these data are not collated.

Figure 10: Victims by Indigenous status and relationship to offender, 2007–08 (n)

Figure 10

Note: Known (not related)=step family relationships; Relationship not further specified=other relative (not specified)

Source: ACT Policing specific data request April 2009

These data reflect that:

  • 60 percent of non-Indigenous victims and 53 percent of Indigenous victims were the current or former intimate partner of the offender;
  • 14 percent of non-Indigenous victims and 11 percent of Indigenous victims were the parent of the offender;
  • five percent of non-Indigenous victims and six percent of Indigenous victims were the sibling of the offender;
  • eight percent of non-Indigenous victims and two percent of Indigenous victims were the child of the offender; and
  • 12 percent of non-Indigenous victims and 23 percent of Indigenous victims were identified by other relationships with the offender including immediate family, step and other relative relationships.

Relationship by age

For adult offenders over 20 years of age where the relationship between the victim and offender was recorded (n=473), victims were most likely to be the current or former partner of the offender. Current or former partners were the victims of

  • 67 percent of 20–24 year old offenders;
  • 65 percent of 25–34 year old offenders ;
  • 76 percent of 35–44 year old offenders;
  • 64 percent of 45–54 year old offenders; and
  • 73 percent of 55–64 year old offenders.

Three offenders were identified as over 65 years of age, two of whom were the partner of their victim.

One hundred and thirty-four of the 766 offenders apprehended for selected offence types were identified as 10–19 years of age. These young offenders represent 17 percent of total offenders apprehended for selected offences. Selected offences include all homicide, sexual-related, assault, threats, property damage and breach of order offences that can be linked to a family violence incident. Victims are counted once for every incident in which they are a victim.

Figure 11 represents the relationship between the victim and the offender where the offender is less than 20 years of age and where the relationship was recorded. Twenty-eight offenders were identified as 10–14 years and 67 offenders were identified as 15–19 years of age. Seventy-one percent of the 10–14 year old offenders and 43 percent of the 15–19 year old offenders offended against their parent.

Figure 11: Young offender relationships with victims by age, 2007–08 (n)

Figure 11

Note: Known (not related)=step family relationships

Source: ACT Policing specific data request April 2009

Relationship by gender

Of the 766 offenders of selected offence types where the gender of the offender and relationship between the victim and offender were recorded, 472 offenders were male and 101 were female.

Table 14 depicts the relationships between the victim and offender by gender. According to the figures presented below, the proportion of offences against each relationship type are relatively similar by gender except where the offender is the parent of the victim. In this sample, female parents are 75 percent more likely than male parents to offend against their children. For a large proportion of offences attributed to females (n=33, 25%), the relationship between the victim and offender was not recorded, therefore, these data are indicative only.

Table 14: Offenders by gender and type of relationship with victim, 2007–08a
  Male Female
n % n %
Child 62 13 17 17
Immediate family (other) 11 2 4 4
Parent 23 5 20 20
Partner, spouse etc 177 38 23 23
Sibling 27 6 5 5
Ex-partner 127 27 19 19
Known (not related) 31 7 9 9
Relative not immediate family 14 3 4 4

a: Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding

n=446

Source: ACT Policing specific data request April 2009

Table 15 reflects that five percent of male victims and two percent of female victims were also offenders during the 2007–08 financial year. Of the total 979 distinct victims recorded for the period, almost three percent were also offenders during the period.

Table 15: Victims by whether they were also an alleged offender over the same period, 2007–08 (n)
  Gender
Male Female
Offender and victim during the period 13 14
Victim only 254 698

Source: ACT Policing specific data request April 2009

Police attendance, charges and resolution

Dispatched patrols attended 2,358 (84%) of the 2,807 incidents recorded for the 2007–08 financial year. The most common incident types recorded for disclosed family violence offences were assault (46%), property damage and environmental issues (18%), good order and offences against justice procedures (14%), disturbances (10%) and sexual incidents (6%). Two family violence homicides were also recorded.

Table 16: Confirmed offence types by incident, 2007–08 (n)
Offence types FV offence disclosed Non-fv offence disclosed No offence disclosed Total incidents
Assault 494 1 6 501
Firearms or other weapons, bomb or chemical incident 0 0 2 2
Good order incident and offences against justice procedures 148 76 9 233
Burglary and trespass 3 34 1 38
Minor incident 26 5 615 646
Proactive policing 0 0 10 10
Death 2 0 1 3
Disturbance 103 33 611 747
Fire 2 0 1 3
Fraud 0 6 1 7
Sexual incident 65 3 3 71
Intoxicated person 2 3 13 18
Legal processes 0 2 33 35
Traffic incident (including collisions) 2 14 20 36
Missing person 0 0 13 13
Nuisance phone call 5 45 2 52
Property damage and environmental issues 193 1 1 195
Suspicious vehicles or persons 4 13 66 83
Robbery 1 2 0 3
Theft 8 69 4 81
Stolen motor vehicle or recovered stolen motor vehicle 0 21 4 25
Other offences against the person 5 0 0 5

Note: FV=family violence

Source: ACT Policing specific data request April 2009

Table 17 reflects that an offence was recorded in 50 percent of the 2,807 incidents attended by police, however, only half of these resulted in a person being apprehended. Taylor’s (2006) analysis identified that criminal action was taken by police in 16 percent of 2003–04 incidents, 20 percent of 2002–03 incidents and 19 percent of 2001–02 incidents (an average of 18% across the 3 financial years). It is unknown whether the 2007–08 data is representative of an increase in arrests in the intervening years or whether it is indicative of an increase in the one year only. Further, these figures represent criminal action taken in all family violence incidents. A 2007 analysis of the family violence ‘spouse/ex-spouse’ category recorded by police identified that criminal action was taken in about 30 percent of incidents (Holder 2007).

Table 17: Incidents by method of police resolution, 2007–08a
Resolution Incidents
n %
No offence—person taken into custody for intoxication 15 0.5
No offence or further action taken 1,378 49.0
Offence but no charge—no person apprehended 713 25.0
Offence but no charge—person apprehended for intoxication 12 0.4
Person apprehended for offence 689 25.0
Total 2,807

a: Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding

Source: ACT Policing specific data request April 2009

Of the 15 persons taken into protective custody for intoxication in 2007–08 and 12 persons apprehended for intoxication, five (19%) were the partner or ex-partner of the victim and 22 (81%) had another relationship to the victim.

Table 18 depicts the number of charges and formal resolutions for other offence types by relationship status. Of the 1,495 offence resolutions recorded:

  • 94 percent resulted in formal charges.
  • The most common offence types leading to formal charges were assault (40%), breach of order (20%) and property damage (12%) offences. These three offence categories also constituted the greatest proportion of 2003–04 charges, however, in a different order (assault 42%; property damage 17%; breach of order 12%).
  • The most common offence types leading to formal resolution but no charge were breach of order (22%), assault (21%) and good order (16%) offences.
  • 779 (52%) of offences occurred between current or former intimate partners.
  • 716 (48%) of offences occurred between persons where a relationship other than partner/ex-partner existed between the victim and offender.
  • Assault offences accounted for 44 percent of the partner/ex-partner offences and 35 percent of the other relationship offences.
  • Two homicides were recorded.
  • Sexual offences accounted for three percent of total offences (1% of the partner/ex-partner offences and five percent of the other relationship offences).
  • Nine kidnap offences were recorded.
  • 45 (3%) of offences were threats, harassment and other person offences.
  • 38 (3%) of offences were firearms or weapons offences.

Comparing these data with the Taylor (2006) analysis of 2003–04 data finds a similar proportion of offences under known categories. However, the number of charges laid in 2003–04 was considerably lower than in the current analysis (884 versus 1,403) and the categories of offences are different. Assault charges comprised 42 percent of the 2003–04 charges and 40 percent of the 2007–08 sample. Threats and related charges accounted for three percent of each year’s charges. Each of both sexual and weapons offences accounted for two percent of the 2003–04 charges and three percent of the 2007–08 charges. Property offences accounted for 17 percent of the 2003–04 charges but it is not clear whether this category constitutes offences other than property damage, which accounted for 12 percent of 2007–08 charges. Breach of order offences were higher in the current review period (20% versus 12% in 2003–04)

Table 18: Criminal charges laid by type of charge, 2007–08 (n)
Formal charge
Offences type Partner/ex-partner Other relationship of offender to victim
Homicide offences 2 0
Assault offence 338 227
Sexual offences 11 33
Kidnap 5 4
Threats, harassment and other person offences 33 12
Robbery 4 0
Burglary 12 7
Fraud and related offences 5 0
Motor vehicle theft 2 9
Theft other than motor vehicle 10 15
Property damage 98 77
Breach of order 160 125
Firearms and weapons 16 21
Good order offences including trespass and breach of the peace 18 59
Drug offences 8 8
Traffic offences 17 39
Other offences 16 12
Total 755 648
Formal resolution but not charged
Offences type Partner/ex-partner Other relationship of offender to victim
Assault offence 2 17
Burglary 0 4
Fraud and related offences 1 0
Motor vehicle theft 0 4
Theft other than motor vehicle 0 3
Property damage 6 5
Breach of order 5 17
Firearms and weapons 0 1
Good order offences including trespass and breach of the peace 6 9
Drug offences 2 4
Other offences 2 4
Total 24 68

Note: Formal charges include summons, arrests and charges before the court. Formal resolutions include formal cautions, diversionary cautions and simple cannabis offence notices

Source: ACT policing specific data request April 2009

Prosecution of family violence incidents

The data for the following Table and Figures was sourced from ODPP annual reports for the relevant financial years. These data are presented to provide a sense of the workload of the ODPP over the last three financial years in relation to the prosecution of family violence matters. These data are not directly comparable to either ACT Policing data or the data received from the Magistrates’ Court. This is because each ‘matter’ as defined by the ODPP may include multiple charges for each defendant. Defendants may also be involved in more than one matter. The ODPP data presented from 2003–04 through 2007–08 includes all charges that were laid from an incident whether family violence or not, therefore, direct comparison between 2007–08 data and data from years prior to 2003–04 is not possible.

Table 19: Prosecution of family violence by year, 2005–06–2007–08 (n)
2005–06 2006–07 2007–08
Number of matters prosecuted involving an FV offence 947 1,085 1,264
Number of matters commenced and completed 553 630 673
Number of matters finalised without going to hearing 256 296 241
Number of defendants convicted of one or more FV offencesa 253 299 297
Number of defendants whose matters were discontinuedb 38 52 45
Number of defendants whose matters went to hearing and were found not guilty 4 14 7

a: Including where offence proved without a conviction being recorded

b: Reasons for discontinuing matters include—insufficient evidence, not in the public interest to proceed, witness credibility/reliability

Source: ODPP 2008, 2007, 2006

Figure 12 represents the percentage of family violence matters finalised without going to hearing, indicating an early plea of guilt. Thirty-six percent of matters were finalised by an early guilty plea in 2007–08, a decrease of almost 19 percent from the previous year. Early pleas of guilt are generally viewed favourably by the court system due to time and cost savings associated with case preparation and hearing. Benefits may also exist for victims who are shielded from the court process and facing the accused, as they are not required to testify. Early pleas of guilt may be attributed to the improved evidence collection and case preparation of both ACT Policing and the ODPP. The apparent decline in pleas of guilt in the 2007–08 financial year can not necessarily be attributed to any one cause, although the ODPP 2007–08 annual report suggests that there is a continuing trend of persons accused of crime exercising their right to have their matters committed for trial from the Magistrates’ Court to the Supreme Court. The ODPP annual report acknowledges an increase in the number and complexity of family violence prosecutions.

Figure 12: Matters finalised by early plea of guilt by year, 1998–99–2007–08 (%)

Figure 12

Source: ODPP 2008, 2007, 2006

Although the data sets are not directly comparable, Figure 13 reflects a slight downward trend in the proportion of family violence matters commenced and completed per financial year against the number of family violence matters prosecuted in that year. In 2007–08, slightly more than half (53%) of the total matters prosecuted were commenced and completed in that year. If there has been an increase in the complexity of family violence matters this could result in them taking longer to finalise.

Figure 13: Family violence matters prosecuted and commenced and completed by year, 1998–99–2007–08 (n)

Figure 13

Source: ODPP 2008, 2007, 2006

Figure 14 reflects the total number of persons convicted of family violence offences. These data reflect convictions in the Magistrate’s and Supreme Courts and are therefore not directly comparable to the Magistrates’ Court data presented in the following sections of this report. Two hundred and ninety-seven persons were convicted in the 2007–08 financial year.

Figure 14: Defendants convicted of one or more family violence offences by year, 1998–99–2007–08 (n)

Figure 14

Source: ODPP 2008, 2007, 2006

ACT Magistrates’ Court defendant profiles

A note on the data

The term defendant, as used in the Magistrates’ Court data, refers to a person against whom one or more criminal charges have been laid, typically relating to the same incident and that are heard together by the court. The term folder is used synonymously with the term defendant in the Magistrates’ Court database. Defendant therefore does not refer to distinct individuals, as each person may have multiple folders (ie they may have been involved in multiple incidents during the time period).

When reviewing these data, it is necessary to note that some of the family violence cases finalised in 2007–08 will have commenced in the previous year. It is also worth noting that some of the family violence cases first coming before the Magistrates’ Court in 2007–08 will not be finalised until 2008–09.

Where available, data show results for the full 10 years of the FVIP’s operation. While the court records the gender of offenders, it does not record Indigenous status.

Gender of defendants

During the 2007–08 financial year, 435 defendants appeared before in the Magistrates’ Court on family violence charges. Four hundred and three (93%) of these defendants were adults and 32 (7%) were persons appearing in the Children’s Court whose offences were committed when they were aged over 10 and under 18 years. Figure 15 depicts the number of defendants by gender. Of the total defendants, 83 percent were male. Of the adult defendants, 88 percent were male. By contrast, 78 percent of Children’s Court defendants were female. In 2006–07, the majority of both the adult and Children’s Court defendants were male (88 and 75% respectively). The reasons for the increase in female young person’s appearing in the Children’s Court in 2007–08 are unknown. It may reflect an actual increase in offending or changes in policing practices. Data was not requested from the Magistrates’ Court as to the nature of charges against persons who were not convicted. As none of these female young persons were convicted, no contextual information can be provided.

Figure 15: Gender of defendants by year, 1998–99–2007–08 (n)

Figure 15

Note: Data includes defendants before the Children’s Court and adult Magistrates’ Court

Source: ACT Magistrates’ Court; Holder & Caruana 2006

Figure 16 represents the number of family violence charges heard by the adult Magistrates’ Court and the Children’s Court during the 10 years of operation of the FVIP. In 2007–08, 731 family violence charges were heard by the courts. Holder and Caruana (2006) suggest that the increase in charges between 2001–02 and 2002–03 may be attributed to the expansion of the policing aspects of the FVIP in the ACT region after 2001, followed by revisions to charging practices in 2003.

Figure 16: New family violence charges in Magistrates’ and Children’s Courts by year, 1998–99–2007–08 (n)

Figure 16

Source: ACT Magistrates Court; Holder & Caruana 2006

Figure 17 depicts the number of family violence charges finalised by financial year. Charges are finalised by guilty or not guilty findings, committal for trial to the Supreme Court or where there is no evidence to offer (NETO). There was a 15 percent decrease in the number of charges finalised in 2007–08 from the previous financial year. The number of charges finalised is not directly comparable to the number of charges brought before the courts (see Figure 14), as matters may have commenced in the previous year.

Figure 17: Family violence charges finalised in Magistrates’ and Children’s Courts by year, 1998–99–2007–08 (n)

Figure 17

Source: ACT Magistrates Court; Holder & Caruana 2006

Figure 18 depicts the number of new family violence charges, alongside the number of family violence charges finalised per financial year. These data are not directly comparable because matters may have been commenced and completed in different years. This Figure demonstrates that similar proportions of charges are brought before the court and finalised in each financial year, which suggests that the majority of matters are finalised within a one year period and that there is a relatively consistent flow of matters to the court.

Figure 18: New family violence charges and family violence charges finalised by year, 1998–99–2007–08 (n)

Figure 18

Source: ACT Magistrates Court; Holder & Caruana 2006

Court finalisation of matters

Table 20 depicts the number of charges by finalisation method over the 10 year operation of the FVIP. Charges may be finalised by way of NETO, committal for trial or sentencing to the Supreme Court, or guilty or not guilty. During the 2007–08 financial year, equal proportions of charges (47%) resulted in convictions (identified by a guilty finding) and no convictions (identified by a not guilty finding or NETO). Five percent of charges were referred to the Supreme Court. Over the 10 year operation of the FVIP:

  • almost half (49%) of the charges have resulted in a finding of guilt (either through a plea or proven charge);
  • 30 percent have been finalised by no evidence to offer by the prosecution;
  • 16 percent of charges resulted in a not guilty finding; and
  • six percent of charges have been committed to the Supreme Court.

These results have been relatively consistent through the 10 years for which data is available.

Table 20: Finalisation method of adult and young person family violence charges, 1998–99–2007–08
Guilty NETO Not guilty Committed to Supreme Court Total
n % n % n % n % n
1998–99 114 34 118 35 34 10 68 20 334
1999–2000 178 48 133 37 41 11 16 4 368
2000–01 298 51 181 31 83 14 20 4 582
2001–02 413 55 211 28 86 12 34 5 744
2002–03 508 48 369 34 160 15 31 3 1,068
2003–04 434 46 317 34 170 18 18 2 939
2004–05 339 53 151 24 116 18 32 5 638
2005–06 304 47 135 21 137 21 73 11 649
2006–07 392 50 210 27 124 16 57 7 783
2007–08 316 47 178 27 134 20 35 5 663
Total 3,296 49 2,003 30 1,085 16 384 6 6,768

Note: NETO=no evidence to offer

Source: ACT Magistrates’ Court; Holder & Caruana 2006

Time taken to resolve family violence matters

One of the purposes of a specialist family violence court is to ‘fast track’ family violence matters through the courts. This is seen as beneficial to both victims and accused persons, as a resolution to matters can assist families to move on whether they remain together, separate or need to resolve family court matters. The FVIP does not have a prescribed timeframe for matters to be finalised, however, the Practice Directions for the family violence list identifies requirements for early listing and prosecutorial preparation of these matters.

A number of factors can affect the timeliness of case finalisation including case complexity, charge negotiation, the fitness of the accused person to enter a plea and changes to charges after a hearing has commenced. The time taken to finalise a case is recorded as the length of time between a defendant’s first appearance in court and the date of finalisation. Defendants may appear before the court for multiple charges to be heard together, as they are deemed to relate to the same incident. These charges constitute the defendant’s folder. Each charge within the folder may take a different amount of time to finalise, however, the case will not be recorded as finalised until all charges are dealt with. Some charges may be changed after the first court appearance, for example, where there is no evidence to offer by the prosecution and a lesser charge is presented to the court. In these circumstances, the new or changed charge will be added to the defendant’s folder. Time will be granted by the court for the prosecution and the defence to prepare the case and a new hearing date will be set. This will increase the amount of time taken to finalise the entire case.

Table 21 identifies the length of time taken to finalise family violence cases in the Children’s Court over the 2006–07 and 2007–08 financial years. The timeframe can be compared with the length of time to finalise all cases. In 2007–08, 61 percent of family violence cases and 46 percent of all cases were finalised within 13 weeks. Eleven percent of family violence cases took over one year to finalise, however, this figure represents only four cases.

Table 21: Length of time taken to finalise Children’s Court cases, 2006–07–2007–08
Family violence cases All cases
2006–07 2007–08 2006–07 2007–08
n % n % n % n %
Under 6 weeks 12 31 9 25 147 22 157 22
6 to 13 weeks 9 23 13 36 176 27 174 24
13 to 20 weeks 7 18 6 17 88 13 132 18
20 to 26 weeks 4 10 1 3 67 10 72 10
26 to 39 weeks 4 10 3 8 97 15 96 13
39 to 52 weeks 1 3 0 0 41 6 42 6
52 to 65 weeks 0 0 0 0 25 4 19 3
Over 65 weeks 2 5 4 11 21 3 25 4
Total 39 100 36 100 662 100 717 100

Source: ACT Magistrates’ Court

Table 22 identifies the length of time taken to finalise adult family violence cases in the Magistrates’ Court over the 2006–07 and 2007–08 financial years. The timeframe can be compared with the length of time to finalise all cases. In 2007–08, 54 percent of family violence cases and 61 percent of all cases were finalised within 13 weeks. Two percent of family violence cases took over one year to finalise, representing nine cases. As noted above, a number of factors influence the case finalisation time.

Table 22: Length of time taken to finalise adult Magistrates’ Court cases, 2006–07–2007–08a
Family violence cases All cases
2006–07 2007–08 2006–07 2007–08
n % n % n % n %
Under 6 weeks 118 24 111 30 1,346 24 1,340 24
6 to 13 weeks 129 26 90 24 1,801 32 2,003 36
13 to 20 weeks 71 14 67 18 771 14 843 15
20 to 26 weeks 64 13 40 11 349 6 373 7
26 to 39 weeks 69 14 34 9 487 9 454 8
39 to 52 weeks 23 5 14 4 197 3 166 3
52 to 65 weeks 4 1 9 2 112 2 86 2
Over 65 weeks 14 3 9 2 591 10 241 4
Total 492 374 5,654 5,506

a: Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding

Source: ACT Magistrates’ Court

Convictions

In 2007–08, 225 folders (defendants) were finalised by conviction for 321 family violence charges. Although charges may be proven without a conviction being recorded, these data only reflect charges where a conviction was recorded. The number of defendants reflected in Figure 19 does not compare to the number of defendants from Figure 15 (number of defendants by gender) because some of the charges may commence and finalise in different years.

Figure 19: Defendants convicted and charges where a conviction is recorded by year, 1998–99–2007–08 (n)

Figure 19

Source: ACT Magistrates’ Court; Holder & Caruana 2006

Of the 225 defendants depicted in Figure 18:

  • 214 are adult folders, representing 197 distinct offenders and 301 of the charges;
  • 192 of these folders are for adult male offenders (176 distinct offenders and 268 of the charges);
  • 22 of these folders are adult female offenders (21 distinct offenders and 33 of the charges); and
  • 11 are young male offenders’ folders (9 distinct offenders and 20 of the charges).

Figure 20 depicts the number of charges per defendant by gender during the 2007–08 financial year. The majority of adult defendants (72%) faced only one charge.

Figure 20: Convicted adult defendants by charges, 2007–08 (n)

Figure 20

Source: ACT Magistrates’ Court

The 301 charges reflected in Figure 17 were faced by 197 distinct offenders of whom 176 were men and 21 were women. Each person was convicted of one or more charges and had one or more folders (ie were counted as a defendant 1 or more times). In two circumstances, the identification number of an adult male folder was used for two distinct persons. These folders were counted twice, once for each distinct person, in order to accurately represent the number of adult defendants facing one or more charges. The number of adult male defendants for this Figure, therefore, equals 194 and the number of female defendants is 22 for a total of 216 defendants (or folders).

Figure 21 depicts the number of defendants and number of charges faced by the young offenders during the 2007–08 financial year. There were 11 distinct young offenders, however, one person had two separate folders, or cases. Fifty-four percent of these young offenders faced one charge, 27 precent faced two charges, one percent faced three charges and 18 percent faced five charges. All convicted defendants were male.

Figure 21: Convicted young offenders by charges, 2007–08 (n)

Figure 21

Source: ACT Magistrates’ Court

Sentence outcome

Young offender sentence outcomes and supervision

Nine young male offenders were convicted of 20 family violence charges during the 2007–08 financial year. The charges for which these young offenders were convicted are not represented in this report due to the small number of offenders and the potential for these persons to be identified by their charges. One young offender received a reprimand as the sentence outcome for his offence. The other eight young offenders (19 charges) received a probation order to be supervised by Community Youth Justice, OCYFS.

Adult offenders

Adult family violence offenders were convicted of 301 charges during the 2007–08 financial year. ACT Policing and the ODPP may lay charges against a person under ACT or Commonwealth legislation, including:

  • Domestic Violence and Protection Orders Act 2008;
  • Criminal Code 2002;
  • Bail Act 1992;
  • Crimes Act 1900 (ACT);
  • Crimes Act 1914 (Cth);
  • Commonwealth Criminal Code;
  • Prohibited Weapons Act 1996;
  • Drugs of Dependence Act 1989;
  • Road Transport (Alcohol and Drugs) Act 1977;
  • Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Act 1990;
  • Road Transport (General) Act 1999;
  • Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Act 1999; and
  • Road Transport (Vehicle Registration) Act 1999.

A range of sentencing options are available to the court under the Crimes (Sentencing) Act 2005.

Table 23 reflects adult sentence outcomes by the number of charges (n=301). The types of charges receiving a given sentence are also provided, however, conclusions about sentence appropriateness should not be drawn as the context of the case as presented to the court is not available for analysis.

One hundred and ninety-seven distinct offenders were convicted of the 301 charges identified in Table 21. One hundred and seventy-six (89%) of these offenders were male and 21 (11%) of these offenders were female. Each offender was convicted of one or more offences. Each distinct offender may have had one or more folders (ie they may have been convicted of an offence(s) relating to one or more incidents during the time period). All offenders with multiple folders were convicted of multiple offences. Of the 197 distinct offenders:

  • 159 men had one folder only; 42 of these men were convicted of multiple charges;
  • 16 men had two folders;
  • one man had three folders;
  • 20 women had one folder; seven of whom were convicted of multiple charges; and
  • one woman had two folders.

Sixty-seven of the 197 adult offenders charged with family violence offences in 2007–08 were convicted of multiple charges and therefore received more than one sentence outcome. Graphically depicting sentence outcome therefore requires an assessment of outcome severity. The degree of severity of outcome was assessed by the reviewer on the basis of the level of supervision and/or deprivation of liberty the offender could experience. Imprisonment is the most severe penalty the court may impose. Under the Crimes (Sentencing) Act 2005, offenders whose sentences of imprisonment are suspended, fully or in part, must be issued with a supervised or unsupervised GBO. The suspended sentence may be imposed in the future if the offender does not comply with the conditions of the order or reoffends during the period of the order. These sentence outcomes are therefore of greater severity than a periodic detention order, community service order (CSO), GBO or monetary penalty (including fines, court costs and victim compensation).

Figure 22 depicts the sentence outcome for adult male and female offenders. Adult offenders convicted of family violence offences in 2007–08 were most likely to receive a GBO (44%) as the most severe sentence outcome.

Of the 176 male offenders:

  • 40 percent received a GBO;
  • 23 percent received a monetary penalty;
  • 22 percent were given a fully suspended sentence;
  • seven percent received an order of imprisonment;
  • five percent received a periodic detention order;
  • two percent received a CSO; and
  • one person had a conviction recorded and no further penalty.

Of the 21 female offenders:

  • 71 percent received a GBO;
  • 14 percent received an order of imprisonment;
  • 10 percent received a periodic detention order; and
  • one person had a conviction recorded and no further penalty.
Figure 22: Adult sentence outcomes by gender, 2007–08 (n)

 

Source: ACT Magistrates’ Court

Conclusions about any apparent disproportional sentencing by sentence type and gender cannot be drawn as, although charges by gender are available for analysis, the small number of female offenders warrants the exclusion of that information from this report for privacy reasons. Table 23 provides an indication of the types of charges receiving various sentences and combinations of sentences.

Table 23: Adult offender sentence outcome by charges, 2007–08 (n)
Sentence outcome n Types of charges
Imp, LICC 1 Drive motor vehicle with alcohol in blood
Imp 36 Damage property over $1,000, Fail to appear after bail undertaking, possess offensive weapon, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, common assault, common assault summary offence, neglect a child, unlawful takeaway child under 12 years, breach/convict/sent/immediate release/fail behave, assault occasioning actual bodily harm (post 14/6/90), contravention of protection order, unlicensed driver/rider, no third party insurance, not stop vehicle of requested/signal, use unregistered/suspended vehicle
Imp, SSP, LICC 1 Furious/reckless/dangerous driving
Imp, SSP 1 Common assault
Rising of the Court 2 Unlicensed driver/rider, not stop vehicle of requested/signal
SSP, LICC 1 Drive while licence suspended
SSP 1 Common assault
SSF, PD, Monetary 1 Damage property over $1,000
SSF, CSO, Monetary 1 Assault occasioning actual bodily harm (post 14/6/90)
SSF, CSO, LICC 1 Drive motor vehicle with alcohol in blood
SSF, CSO 1 Common assault
SSF, Monetary 13 Assault occasioning actual bodily harm, common assault, common assault summary offence, contravention of protection order
SSF 47 Damage property over $1,000, cultivate a controlled plant, possess offensive weapon with intent, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, common assault, damage property (not exceeding $1,000), Stalking, possess knife without reasonable excuse, assault occasioning actual bodily harm (post 14/6/90), contravention of protection order
PD, Monetary, LICC 1 Drive while disqualified
PD, Monetary 4 Assault occasioning actual bodily harm, common assault, damage property (not exceeding $1,000), contravention of protection order
PD 4 Assault occasioning actual bodily harm, contravention of protection order
GBO, CSO, Monetary 2 Damage property over $1,000, contravention of protection order
GBO, CSO 4 Damage property over $1,000, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, damage property (not exceeding $1,000)
GBO, LICC, Monetary 1 Drive motor vehicle with alcohol in blood
GBO, Monetary 51 Damage property over $1,000, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, common assault, damage property (not exceeding $1,000), possess offensive weapon with intent, contravention of protection order
GBO 72 Damage property over $1,000, Fail to appear after bail undertaking, recklessly or intentionally inflict actual bodily harm, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, common assault, common assault summary offence, damage property (not exceeding $1,000), assault occasioning actual bodily harm (post 14/6/90), cancellation GBO suspended sentence, possess drug of dependence, contravention of protection order, trespass on premises, CTH- Trespass on premises, possess/use prohibited substance,
Monetary, LICC 2 Drive motor vehicle with alcohol in blood, burnout a vehicle
Monetary 51 Minor theft, damage property over $1,000, fail to appear after bail, undertaking, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, common assault, common assault summary offence, damage property (not exceeding $1,000), possess offensive weapon, possess offensive weapon with intent, breach/conv/no sentence/fail behave, possess prohibited substance, contravention of protection order, unlicensed driver/rider, no third party insurance, use unregistered/suspended vehicle
Convicted 2 Common assault

Note: IMP=Imprisonment, GBO=Good behaviour order, CSO=Community service order, LICC=Licence suspended, PD=Periodic detention, SSP=partially suspended sentence, SSF=fully suspended sentence, Monetary includes fines, court costs and victim compensation. All charge types taken from ACT Magistrates’ Court database

Source: ACT Magistrates’ Court

Supervision of offences

During the 2007–08 financial year, offenders sentenced to periods of imprisonment were supervised by the NSW Department of Corrective Services. ACTCS supervised persons remanded in custody awaiting adjudication of their case or sentencing and offenders serving periodic detention orders. ACTCS may supervise offenders remanded on bail, serving a GBO or serving a CSO if the supervision is directed by the court.

The level of supervision an offender may experience depends on the order they receive from the court and the level of risk of reoffending they present. This level of risk is assessed by a risk assessment instrument. Both NSW Corrective Services and ACTCS utilise the Level of Service Inventory—Revised and may supplement this assessment tool with others designed for specific offence behaviours. Depending on the level of assessed risk, offenders may be supervised on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis and have their progress on agreed outcomes monitored.

From the sentence outcome information supplied by the Magistrates’ Court (see Figure 22), it is possible to provide an indication of the number of persons supervised by ACTCS on new family violence offence-related orders during the 2007–08 financial year.

Figure 23 depicts the proportion of offenders supervised by ACTCS, NSW Corrective Services, receiving no supervision or likely receiving supervision from ACTCS based on the following decision criteria of the reviewer:

  • all persons receiving monetary penalties or a recorded conviction are counted as receiving no supervision for their offence (n=43)
  • persons sentenced to terms of imprisonment are identified as receiving supervision from New South Wales (n=16)
  • persons receiving periodic detention orders or CSOs are identified as receiving supervision from ACTCS. CSOs are, at a minimum, monitored by ACTCS and each of the four offenders receiving a CSO were also given a GBO, making it highly probable that they received supervision in addition to monitoring (n=14).
  • persons receiving a GBO or fully suspended sentence were assessed as likely to receive supervision from ACTCS. The majority of GBOs are accompanied by supervision by ACTCS’ Probation and Parole Unit. Some GBOs, however, are unsupervised and the Magistrates’ Court data does not differentiate on this basis, therefore, it is not possible to determine if these orders were supervised or not (n=124).
Figure 23: Offenders by supervising authority, 2007–08

Figure 23

Source: ACT Magistrates’ Court

Family Violence Self-Change Program participation

ACTCS policy is to refer all offenders identified as family violence offenders to the Offender Interventions Program (OIP) Unit for assessment as to their suitability to participate in the FVSC Program. In some circumstances, assessment for the program is mandated by the court as part of the offender’s order.

Table 24 reflects that 111 persons were referred for assessment to the OIP Unit in 2007–08. One of these offenders was female. In 2006–07, 70 male offenders were referred to the OIP Unit. Depending on the hearing date on which the person was convicted, offenders may be convicted in one year but not referred to the program until the following year.

Table 24: Family Violence Self-Change Program participation, 2006–07–2007–08 (n)
2006–07 2007–08
Referrals 70 111
Type of order originating referral
Good behaviour 65 96
Bail 5 12
Parole 0 3
Assessed as suitable 36 39
Program commencements 31 28
Program completions 13 8
Departures/expulsions 18 15
Breach actions on failure to comply 5 5
Number of partner contacts n/a 25

Source: ACTCS

Of the 111 persons referred to the OIP Unit, 39 (35%) were assessed as suitable to undertake the FVSC Program. Ability to work in groups, literacy levels and/or problematic alcohol and/or other drug use will, among other factors, affect whether the person is found suitable. The program can be modified for persons from non-English speaking backgrounds and one-on-one interventions are conducted in some circumstances. In addition, those offenders assessed as posing less risk of reoffending may be referred to alternate agencies for interventions, including Relationships Australia’s ‘Anger Management for Men’, the Canberra Men’s Centre’s anger management program or alcohol and other drug rehabilitation centres such as Mancare.

The length of the order and the level of participant engagement with their program will affect completion levels. Completion in the previous Learning to Relate without Violence and Abuse program was based on attending 24 group sessions. Completion of the FVSC Program requires program participants to finish a four-step program. Completion of each ‘step’ is contingent upon attendance, homework completion and demonstrating competency in the skills. Therefore, although only eight program completions were recorded in 2007–08, there may have been participants who had attained some skill acquisition up to step 2, 3 or 4.

Not all offenders will be assessed for, commence and/or complete the program within one financial year. Therefore, the data on these variables are not necessarily comparable and it is not possible to determine the actual participation levels of these offenders.

Additional information obtained from the OIP Unit provides more contextual information in relation to the 111 referrals from 2007–08. These data suggest that 35 persons (32%) were assessed as unsuitable, 15 (14%) were referred to alternative programs, 11 (10%) had insufficient time left on their order and 11 (10%) failed to attend their assessment appointment.

The differences in program completion rates between 2006–07 and 2007–08 may be attributed to the move of the OIP Unit from the Symonston site to the Eclipse House offices in mid 2007. The move resulted in a loss of participant capacity due to smaller room sizes and the loss of the specialist Program Support Team of probation and parole officers (PPOs), including weekly case tracking. When the OIP unit was at Symonston, there was a team of four specialist PPOs who only worked with offenders undertaking programs. Program and PPO staff liaised closely and met weekly to monitor offender progress and problems. This meeting was seen to be of benefit by providing opportunities for timely accountability on needed actions and discussion of relevant practice issues. With the OIP and PPO staff now located at Eclipse House, offenders are allocated among the entire PPO staff and liaison between units is conducted on an individual rather than team basis.

In 2007–08, CentaCare was funded to operate a Family Violence Partner Support Program. The CentaCare annual report describes the aim of the partner contact telephone support service as a means to discuss the client’s ongoing safety and that of any children, and to offer information about the support that is available. Thirty-three clients initiated contact with CentaCare at a point of crisis in 2007–08.

Reoffending

None of the ACT criminal justice agencies records reoffending data. There are no agreed upon definitions of reoffending and no agreed upon measures. Recidivism analysis, undertaken by the VoCC in 2007, showed 12 percent (n=66) of persons appearing before the Magistrates Court in 2003–04 reappeared in 2005–06 (VoCC 2007). For the purposes of this review, the exploration of reoffending was limited to the identification of persons receiving multiple family violence convictions in the ACT Magistrates’ Court between 2005–06 and 2007–08. These data are indicative only, as offenders may not be charged with offences at subsequent incidents and/or they may commit offences in a manner that decreases the likelihood of police being able to charge an offender or of victims making reports.

Convictions recorded in 2007–08 were compared within that financial year to determine the proportion of offenders involved in multiple incidents within one financial year. Offenders were counted as being involved in more than one incident if they had multiple folders recorded within the Magistrates’ Court data in the 2007–08 financial year. Each matter heard before the court is assigned a folder number that may pertain to multiple charges. Multiple folders suggests more than one occasion where a charge(s) have been laid against the offender. Sixteen male offenders and one female offender had two folders and one male offender had three folders. In each of these circumstances, the hearing dates for all folders were the same, suggesting that the incidents were close enough together that no intervention was likely to have taken place between them. These 18 offenders, likely to have reoffended within the 2007–08 financial year, represent eight percent of the convicted offenders for the financial year. Two young offenders (22%) had two folders recorded in the 2007–08 financial year, suggesting involvement in multiple incidents.

Reoffending was also measured by a comparison of convictions between financial years. Table 25 reflects the number of adult offenders convicted in 2007–08 for a family violence offence who had also been convicted of a family violence offence in one of the two previous financial years. No young offenders convicted in 2007–08 had a recorded conviction in either the 2005–06 or 2006–07 financial year.

Nine adult offenders convicted in 2007–08 had a previous conviction in 2006–07. Six adult offenders convicted in 2007–08 had a previous conviction in 2005–06. These 15 offenders represent eight percent of the offenders convicted in 2007–08. Fourteen were male and one (person 11, see Table 25) was female. None of these offenders had been convicted in all three of the financial years from which data was analysed. For comparison purposes, convictions in 2006–07 were compared with convictions in 2005–06. Eight male offenders were found to have reoffended between these years.

Table 25 reflects the number of persons reconvicted for a family violence offence in multiple years. It does not reflect the number of persons who may have been accused of a family violence offence or other offence but not had the accusation proven. It does not reflect incidents that were not reported to police. It does not reflect whether the victim was the same person or another person. It is, therefore, only indicative of the reoffending of persons convicted in 2007–08. The Table depicts the charge(s) and outcome(s) for each offender. These are provided for information purposes. No conclusions or inferences should be drawn about the appropriateness of the sentence as there is no contextual information about the matter. The time between hearings has been provided as an indicator of the span of time between offences.

Table 25: Reoffending by individuals, 2007–08
Charge(s) Outcome Previous charge(s) Outcome Time between hearings (whole months)
1 Stalking SSF Obstruct/hinder police Fine 6
Contravention of Protection Order SSF Common Assault GBO
2 Cancel good behaviour order/Suspended Sentence

GBO Common Assault (summary) SSF, Fine, CICL 6
3 Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm IMP Damage property over $1,000 GBO 8
Damage Property over $1000 IMP
4 Common Assault (summary) GBO Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm GBO, CSO 13
Common Assault GBO Fail to Appear GBO
5 Common Assault SSF Possess offensive weapon SSF 14
6 Common Assault SSF 2x Contravention of Protection Order 2xIMP, SSP 14
Contravention of Protection Order SSF
7 Common Assault CSO 2x Contravention of Protection Order GBO, CSO 15
8 Contravention of Protection Order SSF 3x Contravention of Protection Order 3xSSF 16
9 Common assault IMP, SSP Common Assault GBO 17
10 Common assault Common assault 17
Drive motor vehicle with alcohol in blood Contravention of Protection Order
11 Contravention of Protection Order GBO Common Assault GBO

19
Drive motor vehicle with alcohol in blood GBO, Fine, LICC Contravention of Protection Order GBO
Use unregistered/suspended vehicle Fine    
No Third party insurance Fine
12 Common assault SSF Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm GBO 21
13 Contravention of Protection Order IMP 2xContravention of Protection Order SSF; SSF,CICL 23
Breach/Convict/Sent/Fail Behave IMP
Damage property over $1000 IMP
2 x Common Assault 2xIMP
Possess offensive weapon IMP
14 Common assault SSF, Fine, CICL 2x Common assault IMP; IMP,SSP 24
15 Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm GBO,CSO 2x Damage property not exceeding $1,000 2xIMP 25

Note: SSF=fully suspended sentence, GBO=Good behaviour order, CICL=CIC Levy, IMP=imprisonment, CSO=community service order, SSP=partially suspended sentence, LICC=licence suspended

Source: ACT Magistrates’ Court

Victim support

Data was extracted from the DVCS 2007–08 annual report to reflect the types of work undertaken by the service. DVCS provides victim support and advocacy through a range of services. Their primary focus is on crisis support through on-location visits at the time of police attendance at family violence incidents and through their 24 hour telephone service. DVCS also provides extensive follow-up with clients, providing information about bail, case status and referral to other support services. In addition, DVCS, in partnership with the OCYFS, developed the Young People Outreach Worker project to engage children and young people who use violence in the family home.

Figure 24 depicts the number of occasions DVCS provided court support to clients by the type of support provided—to obtain a domestic violence protection order or support during a hearing over a family violence criminal matter. The Figure demonstrates that over the last five financial years, the majority of court support has been provided to individuals when they are seeking domestic violence protection orders. Over the last two financial years, the amount of this support has decreased by 48 percent and between 2006–07 and 2007–08, overall provision of court support was reduced by 35 percent. DVCS states that they have been required to reduce court support as a result of increasing demand and an inability to rationalise service delivery in other areas. DVCS also states that changes to hearing times of DVO applications has limited the number of clients they can offer support to at any one time (DVCS 2008).

Figure 24: DVCS provision of court support by type and year, 2003–04–2007–08 (n)

Figure 24

Source: DVCS annual report 2008

Figure 25 depicts the destination of victims and offenders following a crisis visit. The number of victims and offenders are not equal and it is not known whether one or more of the incidents had multiple victims or offenders. In addition, the destination for 143 offenders and 21 victims is unknown. These data, however, provide some insight into where victims and offenders are located after a crisis visit. Figure 25 reflects that, of the crisis visits attended where the destination is known, the majority of victims (62%) and a large proportion of offenders (46%) remain in their home following a crisis visit. Thirty-five percent of offenders and three percent of victims are taken into police custody.

Figure 25: Destination of victim and offender following crisis visit, 2007–08 (n)

Figure 25

Source: DVCS annual report 2008

Figure 26 demonstrates that the majority of telephone calls to DVCS are follow-up calls. These calls may include questions from victims about the case, requests for information or referral to other support services and calls to discuss general areas of concern.

Figure 26: Telephone contacts made to DVCS by year, 2003–04–2007–08 (n)

Figure 26

Note: ‘Other’ calls include hoax calls and prior to 2007–08, calls in relation to the offender family violence intervention program

Source: DVCS annual report 2008

Figure 27 depicts the number of children residing in DVCS client homes over the last five financial years. It is important to note that DVCS attributes the increase in recorded resident children and young people from 2005–06 onwards to improved recording practices rather than an actual increase. DVCS further reports that in 2007–08, 65 percent of the crisis visits they attended had children and/or young people residing in the home. The well-documented potential negative impacts of family violence on children and young people suggest a need to further identify the support available for these children and young people.

Figure 27: Children residing in DVCS client homes by year, 2003–04–2007–08 (n)

Figure 27

Source: DVCS annual report 2008

Discussion

Caution should be exercised if drawing conclusions from these data. Incidents reported to and recorded by ACT Policing constitute only some of the family violence experienced by residents of the Australian Capital Territory. The proportion of unreported incidents is unknown. The FVIP concentrates on those incidents that proceed to prosecution. These incidents only constitute approximately half of the incidents reported to police. Therefore, while some FVIP agencies will only be involved in approximately half of the incidents, DVCS and ACT Policing will provide support at all of the reported incidents.

Data informing the operation of the FVIP is almost exclusively provided by the Magistrates’ Court and ACT Policing. FVIP agencies, however, have different data needs and varying internal resources to collect data. The primary purposes of data collection for the Magistrates’ Court and ACT Policing are to understand or estimate operational requirements and meet reporting requirements to other agencies such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Productivity Commission. Victims, offenders and defendants are generally recorded once for each incident in which these terms apply, not as distinct individuals. Operationally, for the police, court and ODPP this is necessary to allocate resources. To ascertain the operational needs of support and monitoring agencies such as DVCS and ACTCS, distinct numbers of individuals may be of more relevance.

Data is important for the purposes of determining community and primary prevention responses to family violence. Support services need to be available for all persons affected by family violence, including the children and young people who reside in homes where family violence occurs. Indicative levels of family violence are also important for government and policymakers to assess levels of communication, education and health service provision required for the community at large.

For FVIP partner agencies, knowledge of the incidence of family violence is critical for allocating resources to operational areas. Of the FVIP agencies, only DVCS and the Family Violence Team within the ODPP are concerned with family violence as their core business. For all other agencies, addressing family violence is only part of their role. The data shows a consistent flow of cases and persons through the court and police processes. On average, seven incidents of family violence are recorded by ACT Policing per day. Each of these incidents would require the attendance, or notification, of DVCS and considerable operational time from ACT Policing dedicated to evidence collection. The number of child concern notifications to Care and Protection Services is also affected by incidence of family violence. In 2007–08, 65 percent of DVCS attended crisis visits had children or young people residing in the home.

Considerable time is also expended by both the ODPP and courts in presenting evidence and hearing family violence matters. Over the 10 year period of the FVIP, an average of 214 defendants per year have been convicted of family violence offences in the Magistrates’ Court. From a total of 68 family violence convictions in 1998–99, the number has risen by 238 percent. An additional 38 matters on average per year have been referred to the Supreme Court. These data demonstrate not only a considerable amount of operational time but also, to some extent, the success of the specialist jurisdiction and court processes.

While these data provide some information to assist FVIP partner agencies to make operational decisions, they are not able to provide contextual information to determine, beyond an indication, if what the FVIP seeks to achieve is being accomplished.

Fluctuations in the number of defendants per year could be attributed to either fewer incidences of family violence or less reporting. The apparent increase in Children’s Court defendants could signify an increase in family violence behaviours by this age group, increased reporting or changes to police or prosecution responses to alleged incidents.

There is some evidence from these data that partner agencies are working together towards the common purposes of the FVIP. Police are attending the vast majority of incidents that are reported. Charges are being laid and formal resolution is occuring. DVCS is providing early victim support. It also appears, from the range of charges pursued and numbers of defendants appearing before the court, that prosecution is being rigorously undertaken. Offenders are being held accountable by the court, in a timely manner and ACTCS is providing an intervention program. All of these undertakings should contribute to the primary FVIP purpose of improving victim safety.