Perpetrator interventions


  • Judicial College of Victoria, Family Violence Bench Book (2014).
    5.4.2 discusses the preferred approach to men’s behaviour change programs. 5.4.4 discusses judicial responses to men’s behaviour. 3.6 discusses the court’s power to order a respondent to attend counselling.


  • Neilson, Linda C, Domestic Violence Electronic Bench Book (National Judicial Institute, 2017).

    Section 7.2.3: Stress and anger rationalization

    ‘While stress and anger often accompany domestic violence, they do not explain it. Most people who experience stress and anger do not engage in DV. Moreover … stress and anger do not explain the cumulative, patterned nature of domestic violence, the associated pattern of coercion and control, nor why the violence is often employed strategically – in the privacy of the home.

    While debate continues as to whether or not there is value in teaching anger management as a component of specialized domestic violence intervention programs, anger management by itself is not considered useful for the following reasons:

    Anger management does not focus on the underlying causes of DV; worse, anger management programs can serve to enhance skills of coercion and control.

    More particularly such programs:

    • Have no proven lasting effect on domestic violence;
    • Lack standards to ensure those offering such programs have specialized DV expertise;
    • Offer a false sense of hope and safety when, in fact, there is little evidence such programs help;
    • Focus attention on intimate partner behaviours that trigger anger instead of focusing attention on violator perceptions and actions that give rise to domestic violence;
    • Imply that it is the targeted party’s behaviour that causes the violator to engage in domestic violence;
    • Shifts responsibility for the domestic violence onto the targeted partner by implying it is the latter's behavior that causes the violator to engage in domestic violence; and,
    • Teach new control skills when the goal is eradication of the need to control.’

    Section 20.8.4: What if the domestic violator has mental health, alcohol or drug abuse problems?

    ‘A domestic violator’s mental health problems and alcohol or drug abuse increases the risk of serious injury for all family members. Consequently, these issues, and access to services, should be addressed in any agreement or order together with reporting mechanisms and review processes to ensure accountability and provisions to ensure notification in the event of non-compliance.

    Some violators will require mental health or substance abuse treatment in order to benefit from domestic violence intervention.’