Perpetrators of FDV are primarily identified by security measures, whereas survivors and witnesses are primarily identified through self-disclosure
Largely, perpetrators of FDV are identified by the Department of Justice (the Department) through a range of security measures, most of which hinge on proactive security practices. We found this to be good practice. However, the Department cannot identify long term trends of FDV perpetrators, as it has only been accurately collecting this information since 2019.
Reasonably, survivors and witnesses are identified if and, when they self-disclose. This highlights the importance of a trauma informed model of care and treating prisoners with respect and dignity.
Prisoners face multiple barriers accessing FDV programs
People in custody are confronted by many challenges when accessing criminogenic treatment programs, including FDV programs. Barriers for adults include: delays in being assessed for those programs; not having sufficient program participants with the same need, at the same facility; and short sentences after spending a long time on remand (a period when they are ineligible for participation). These latter two issues are demonstrably worse in youth custody where the average daily population is low, and stays are short.
We also found that prisoners may be required to move to another facility to complete a treatment program, and that a Department-commissioned review of programs found few reached the threshold of meeting criminogenic needs. Furthermore, while the Department is aware that prisoners cannot access FDV programs, it does not routinely track the impact of not accessing programs on parole decisions.
Other supports for perpetrators, survivors and witnesses of FDV are ad hoc
We found the Department’s Psychological Health Services were over stretched with over a third of prisoners across the state receiving support at high risk with long wait times and too few staff. Furthermore, we found that voluntary programs have a limited focus on FDV and that prisoners feel they cannot access the Aboriginal Visitor Scheme for support. Most prisoners said that chaplains and prison support officers would help them.