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Feature: AIC hosts the US National Network for Safe Communities

In February 2019 the AIC hosted a visit from the US National Network for Safe Communities. The National Network is part of New York City’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice. It was established in 2009 and works with city governments, local police agencies and community representatives in more than 80 cities in the United States and other countries to implement strategies proven to reduce crime and improve safety.

The National Network’s Intimate Partner Violence Intervention Strategy employs a focused deterrence approach to the problem of domestic violence. Specifically, the strategy seeks to remove the burden of preventing violence from victims, intervene early in the repeat victimisation process, make it clear to offenders that violence will not be tolerated, and take action to deter offenders and, if necessary, incapacitate them.

The visit gave researchers and policymakers an opportunity to learn about the Intimate Partner Violence Intervention Strategy and about the National Network’s methods. Rachel Teicher, the Director of the Intimate Partner Violence Intervention Strategy, spoke about her work at three events in Canberra and Sydney, co-hosted by the AIC and the University of Sydney. She talked about the ideas behind the strategy and how it works. She also discussed the results of trials conducted across the United States, which found the strategy effective in reducing intimate partner homicide, calls for service and victim injuries.

The strategy involves building a coalition of police, community members, service providers and victims’ advocates who work together to intervene early and often. They not only support victims but show offenders that even low-level violence will have consequences. Offenders are told about the legal sanctions they will face if they reoffend and are also offered help.

These events provided a valuable opportunity to learn about an innovative and data-driven approach to reducing domestic violence, and its possible application to the Australian context.

Photos of Rachel Teicher and Christopher Dowling speaking at the event held in Sydney on the Intimate Partner Violence Intervention strategy.