Changes Impacting Referrals to Man Alive Stopping Violence Programmes

between 1 January 2009 and 30 June 2012

Executive Summary

This study was undertaken by WAVES Trust as a result of concerns raised by Man Alive with the Waitakere Taskforce on Family Violence that the numbers of referrals received to stopping violence programmes (SVPs) had dropped substantially over the last two years.  It is recognised that some of the decline to Man Alive programmes is the result of referrals to other providers such as Te Whanau o Waipareira Trust.  However, the decline was evident well before Waipareira began receiving referrals from the Courts suggesting that there are other contributing factors. 

The following report focuses on men’s access to Man Alive SVPs through the pathway initiated by police FV callouts and mandated by the Waitakere Family Violence (FV) Court.  We explore evidence of the impact of two changes in police policies occurring in 2010: the introduction of a new arrest policy from 1 January 2010 and the introduction of Police Safety Orders (PSOs) from 1 July 2010.

Key Findings:

  • Since implementation of the new arrest policy:
    • The arrest rate to June 2012 (number of arrests as a percentage of all callouts) has declined by 42% of 2009 levels and has yet to plateau.
    • After adjusting for delays in court processing, the average number of cases heard by Waitakere FV Court has declined by 34% from 2008/9 averages and by 38% in 2012.
    • Referrals received by Man Alive prior to the introduction of a new provider have averaged 48% of arrests.  Up to the end of 2011 referrals received from the FV Court had declined by 30%.
  • Within the FV Court:
    • The volume of cases finalised has declined by 38% to end June 2012.
    • But the proportion of successful cases (73%) and unsuccessful cases (27%) has not changed.
    • The lack of change in the proportions of successful and unsuccessful cases means that for the reduction in every one unsuccessful case there has been a corresponding loss of three successful cases that may have referred to an SVP.
  • The decline in referrals to Man Alive has been compounded by the introduction of a new provider.
  • Further investigation is needed to determine whether:
    • The new arrest policy has the same impact across all criminal jurisdictions of the District Court as the Waitakere FV Court.
    • To what extend the FV Court protocols and delays may be undoing the policy’s influence
    • The influence of other social factors on increased reporting and declining arrests rates
  • In relation to concerns about the impact of PSOs on arrest rates, we could not find evidence to substantiate these concerns but there is some evidence that PSOs may have had an unintended consequence of preventing offences occurring.  It is important to note that there is a lack of information available to assess these concerns, particularly around serial recipients of PSOs in Waitakere.  We recommend better monitoring by police and the family violence sector going forward.