EXTERNALLY FUNDED RESEARCH PROJECTS
Perpetrator program attrition and participant engagement strategies
Since the Royal Commission into Family Violence (RCFV) there has been substantive investment in the development and delivery of perpetrator interventions, including men’s behaviour change programs. There remains, however, limited understanding of what factors influence a perpetrator’s engagement in, and disengagement from an intervention, and how this impacts program attrition rates state-wide. This project will directly address that gap in knowledge by developing evidence-based strategies to enhance perpetrator engagement in interventions, and in turn, to minimise program attrition rates.
The project will be carried out across five stages of data collection ensuring breadth and depth of insights. Data will be collected from men who use violence, victim-survivors, and practitioners, as well as via a systematic evidence review and program attrition data collection. This project will enhance the evidence base in Victoria on perpetrator program attrition and client engagement strategies.
The project has four key aims:
1. To better understand the risk and protective factors impacting participant engagement and disengagement from perpetrator programs.
2. To identify key points within an intervention where disengagement and attrition may be more common, such as particular program topics or changes in personal circumstances.
3. To generate perpetrator, lived experience and practitioner-informed new knowledge on effective engagement and retention strategies, with a strong focus on perpetrators at higher risk of not engaging.
4. To inform improved service delivery and best practice, including to support the evidence-informed development of culturally appropriate, holistic and flexible program guidelines.
To achieve these research aims the project will consider the extent to which program timeliness, accessibility, cultural appropriateness, individual circumstances, holistic support, and flexible responses impact upon participant engagement and program attrition rates.
This project employs a multi-method research approach to be carried out across five phases:
Phase 1: Systematic review of national and international evidence on risk and protective factors that predict disengagement from programs as well as effective engagement strategies.
Phase 2: Collation of program attrition data to generate a baseline understanding of statewide attrition rates.
Phase 3: Survey and in-depth interviews with program participants will be conducted upon program completion or at program exit (for clients that disengage before program completion).
Phase 4: In-depth interviews with affected family members who are engaged with a family contact worker and consent to participating in an interview upon the client’s completion of, or disengagement from, a program. Interviews will explore views on client’s engagement with the program, as well as predictive and protective factors.
Phase 5: Focus groups with men’s services practitioners to explore professional views on client engagement and disengagement, including retention and motivational work to keep clients engaged.
A thematic analysis of the data collected across the five phases will be conducted to identify key factors that influence program engagement across different client cohorts, including those at high-risk of disengagement, and to identify protective factors that enhance engagement.