Lecturer in Criminology, University of Western Sydney
The prediction and management of recidivism 
has become increasingly important in the field of 
domestic violence. It is well recognised that recidivism 
is high amongst domestic violence perpetrators and 
there is a cohort of perpetrators who are resistant to 
intervention or treatment (Gondolf 2002). Provocative 
research from the Winnipeg Family Violence Courts 
in Canada found that from 1992 to 2002, the thirty 
most frequent offenders appeared in the court 2263 
times, accumulated 1843 charges, were responsible 
for 862 police incidents, were subject to 551 court 
cases and had 319 court convictions (ursel 2011) 
Key points
Some men who abuse their partners are considered particularly high risk due to the frequency and/or
severity of their violence, and their resistance to current intervention strategies.
Risk assessment and management practices have become increasingly prominent in agency responses to
these offenders.
The way in which‘risk’ is defined, assessed and managed varies between research studies and between
agencies, and does not always reflect the complexities of practice or the lives of domestic violence offenders, 
victims and survivors.
Established approaches to the reduction and management of domestic violence risk have drawn on the
traditional justice principles of punishment, deterrence, incapacitation and rehabilitation.
The use of these approaches has changed as evidence has accumulated that neither the threat of
punishment, nor treatment, is curtailing the risk posed by very dangerous offenders.
Emerging approaches to risk assessment and management include a focus on offender surveillance,
individualised and comprehensive approaches to treatment, and outcome-orientated partnerships that 
integrate policing and judicial responses with health and welfare services.
Preliminary research suggests that interventions responsive to both perpetrator risk and need are more likely
to be effective than interventions that adopt a standardised approach.
The social connectedness of the perpetrator is a primary determinant of both his risk and his need, and
further research is needed into interventions that reduce risk by addressing the complex needs of offenders.

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