EXTERNALLY-FUNDED RESEARCH PROJECTS
Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women perpetrators of violence: a trial of a prison-based intervention (Beyond Violence)
The project is being conducted in WA and NSW, and is a collaboration between Australian and North American researchers. In Australia, as elsewhere, most violence is perpetrated by men, and addressing and eliminating male violence – especially that relating to women and children – is a national priority (COAG, 2012; DSS, 2014).
Historically, women’s use of violence has attracted a much lower profile than male violence and our understanding of the contextual factors behind it is limited (Bartels, 2010). As a consequence, women’s violence has been relatively neglected in research, national surveys and policy initiatives, impeding evidence-based responses to this issue (Swan et al., 2008). Despite violent acts constituting a growing proportion of offence charges among women there are no focused violent offender programs available in Australian prisons designed to target women’s use of violence – as exist for men – which impacts on their ability to secure parole and return to their families/children.
This research trials a tertiary prevention program for incarcerated women, Beyond Violence, which deals with the violence and trauma these women have experienced, as well as the violence they have committed. The program is gender-specific and ‘privileges’ women’s experiences of victimisation, their social roles as women in their communities, substance use and/or mental health issues.
Aims of the research include:
Primary aim: Evaluate the effectiveness of a targeted substance, mental health and violence intervention (Beyond Violence) in reducing recidivism among Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women with a current and/or historical convictions for a violent offence.
Secondary aim: Examine the effectiveness of a targeted substance use, mental health and violence intervention (Beyond Violence) on 6, 12 and 24 month measures of (a) depression; (b) symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); (c) anger; and (d) substance use in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women with current and/or historic convictions for a violent offence.
Prof Tony Butler
National Health and Medical Research Council
Project start & End Dates
January 2016 – December 2020