Investigating perpetrator behaviour patterns through their Men’s Behaviour Change journey

Ms Jessica Burley1

1Monash University, Berwick, Australia

There is currently a national focus on the impact of domestic and family violence across Australian communities. Significant funding has been allocated to assist with the response and prevention of family violence. Men’s Behaviour Change Programs (MBCP) continue to be one of the most prominent perpetrator interventions utilised in Australia, however, the evidence base on use and effectiveness remains limited. Understanding who the men are that access these programs and the type of behaviours they are engaging in will assist in forming an evidence-based understanding of program design, delivery, engagement strategies and outcomes.

This presentation draws on data derived as part of a wider study examining interventions with men using family violence. This presentation focuses on findings from an analysis of Abusive Behaviour Inventory forms completed when men enter, are mid-way (12 weeks approximately) and exit (24-27 weeks) an Australian-based MBCP over a 12-month period. In general, men reported a range of abusive behaviours on entry, minimal at the mid-way point and virtually none during the exit interview. Despite this seemingly positive result, case management notes during the mid-way and exit interviews reveal a wide spectrum of insight and accountability from the men. This data informs improved understandings into perpetrator behaviour patterns, in particular the heavy use of intimidation and emotional abuse to coercively control their partner. These findings reinforce the importance of understanding the role coercive control tactics play in abusive relationships and to what extent MBCP’s can effect change.


Jessica Burley is a Francine McNiff scholar completing her PhD through the Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre at Monash University. She received first class honours for her Masters in Criminology and Criminal Justice from Griffith University. Prior to commencing her PhD she was the Program Manager of the Social Science department at Holmesglen, a higher and vocational education institution in Victoria.


Dec 08 2021