Jesuit Social Services welcomes the opportunity to respond to the Victorian Parliament’s Inquiry into capturing data on family violence perpetrators in Victoria.

In the past few years, we undertook two major pieces of research, “The Man Box” and “Identifying and understanding child sexual offending behaviours and attitudes among Australian men.” These studies are among a small handful of studies that have sought to gain insight into perpetration of violence and child sexual abuse in Australia. They have allowed us to gain insight not only into the prevalence and nature of perpetration in Australia, but also into the challenges associated with undertaking research with a focus on perpetration.

In this submission, we describe our experience collecting data on perpetration and some of our insights into the challenges associated with this, including limitations related to anonymity, difficulties in streamlining and obtaining as much data as is, in principle, available – including resourcing this process – and, importantly, the reluctance by stakeholders to collaborate on studies that relate to sexual violence and child sexual abuse.

On this basis, we make the following three recommendations:

  • Fund research into perpetration
  • Develop improved and nation-wide guidance on how to conduct research on perpetration
  • Develop ways to capture existing data on perpetration.