The Introduction of Bilateral Electronic Monitoring for High Risk Family Violence Perpetrators in Tasmania

Ms Ebba Herrlander Birgerson1, Professor Roberta Julian1, Dr Romy Winter1

1University Of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia

This paper describes an evaluation of a two-year trial of bi-lateral (perpetrator and victim) electronic monitoring of high-risk family violence perpetrators in Tasmania. Observations of key activities and semi-structured interviews with stakeholders, and perpetrator and victim participants, are being conducted throughout this project to assess its effectiveness against its objectives, as well as the use of EM in a small jurisdiction. This is the first time EM is utilised in Tasmania, and its implementation required legislative changes and multi-agency collaboration. Family violence perpetrators are selected by the Tasmania Police Family Violence Unit on the basis of changes in their circumstances, such as breaching an existing order or release from incarceration. The process uses selection criteria to deem participants as eligible to participate or not. The uniqueness of this Tasmanian trial is that victims are offered a victim device. This is an opt-in service that allows victims to alert the monitoring unit if the perpetrator approaches them. The presentation will focus on the findings to date – one year into the trial – such as the planning and implementation of EM and an internal monitoring unit, data of participants and breaches, compliance by both perpetrators and victims, and multi-agency collaboration. It will also touch on participants’ experiences of the program, and whether EM impacts their day-to-day behaviour and/or feelings of safety. The presentation will draw on the international literature on EM in the context of family violence to identify issues for consideration as the trial moves into its second year.


Biography:

Ebba Herrlander Birgerson is a researcher with the Tasmanian Institute of Law Enforcement Studies (TILES) at the University of Tasmania. She holds a Master of Police Studies from the University of Tasmania and a Bachelor of Criminology and Criminal Justice from Griffith University, where she received a Griffith Award for Academic Excellence in 2015. Her research interests focus on reintegration and the factors that impact the success of people returning from prison, but also in ‘what works’ in criminal justice and what kind of system we should strive towards.

Roberta Julian is a Professor of Sociology and Foundation Director of the Tasmanian Institute of Law Enforcement Studies (TILES) at the University of Tasmania. She conducts research and teaches in police studies and criminology with a focus on refugees and community policing, family violence, sexual assault, youth justice, and inter-agency collaboration. She currently leads an innovative program of research in the emerging field of forensic studies that critically examines the use of forensic science in the criminal justice system. Roberta is a member of the Board of Studies at the Australian Institute of Police Management, Vice-President of the Tasmanian Branch of the Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society and Tasmanian representative for the Australian Institute of Professional Intelligence Officers.

Romy Winter (PhD) teaches in the Police Studies and Emergency Management program at the University of Tasmania and is leader of the Violence and Abuse Research Unit (VARU) within the Tasmanian Institute of Law Enforcement Studies (TILES). Her research interests include risk factors for interpersonal violence; policing of family violence and vulnerable populations; the impact of violence on children; improving understanding of emotional abuse in violent relationships and police education/professionalisation.

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