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Violence against women and their children affects everybody. It impacts on the health, wellbeing and safety of a significant proportion of Australians throughout all states and territories and places an enormous burden on the nation’s economy across family and community services, health and hospitals, income-support and criminal justice systems.

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Knowledge transfer and exchange

ANROWS host activities as part of its knowledge transfer and exchange (KTE) work, including public lectures, workshops and research launches. Details of upcoming ANROWS activities and news are available from the list on the right.

ANROWS

About ANROWS

ANROWS was established by the Commonwealth and all state and territory governments of Australia to produce, disseminate and assist in applying evidence for policy and practice addressing violence against women and their children.

KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER

Knowledge translation resources

To support the take-up of evidence, ANROWS offers a range of resources developed from research to support practitioners and policy-makers in delivering evidence-based interventions.


PI.17.05

Community-based approaches to sexual offender reintegration

Completed
March 2020

Community safety is improved when sexual offenders are supported to reintegrate into communities.


This research led by Associate Professor Kelly Richards from QUT contributes to our understanding of how community-based programs affect recidivism. Very little research of this kind has been conducted in Australia.

The project examined two community-based, non-therapeutic programs providing reintegration support for high-risk sexual offenders exiting prison: South Australia’s Circles of Support and Accountability program, and the Cultural Mentoring Program in Townsville, Queensland.

The qualitative research involved interviews with offenders supported through the programs, program staff/Elders, volunteers, victims/survivors and service providers.

Circles of Support and Accountability was shown to help participants build new identities as non-offenders, while holding members to account by providing them with a network of community-based volunteers. The CMP works with released Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders, building strong and positive non-offending cultural identities with a focus on connections with family, culture and Country.

Victims/survivors were consulted on the effectiveness of the reintegration programs. While views were diverse, victims/survivors said that these programs help increase their sense of safety as the perpetrator is being monitored by services who are able to report concerns.

This research indicates that by contributing to community safety, the programs are an important investment in the wellbeing of women who have experienced sexual violence.

Recommendations include funding for the expansion of these programs, followed by support for a larger-scale evaluation.

Victims/survivors who were interviewed also called for strategies that:

  • physically distance victims/survivors from offenders
  • provide victims/survivors with information on the release of offenders
  • offer pathways to affordable and accessible therapeutic interventions for both victims/survivors and perpetrators
  • ensure monitoring of perpetrators and provide them with help addressing their offending-related needs.

These safety needs were found to align closely with the goals of the two programs that were studied.


Researchers

Project Lead

Associate Professor Kelly Richards, Queensland University of Technology

Research expertise

Associate Professor Kieran McCartan, University of the West of England

Dr Jodi Death, Queensland University of Technology

Research partners

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representative, Cultural Mentoring Program

Ms Carol Ronkin, Bravehearts Foundation

Mr Leigh Garrett, Offenders Aid and Rehabilitation Service of South Australia

Senior representative, Queensland Corrective Services


Downloads

Research report

Community-based approaches to sexual offender reintegration

Download

Research summary

Community-based approaches to sexual offender reintegration: Key findings and future directions

Download
see also

Fact sheet

Circles of Support and Accountability: An overview

Download

Budget

$98,143

Funded by Commonwealth Department of Social Services.

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