Individuals – Wan et al. (2018)

Study Reference:

Wan, W. Y., Thorburn, H., Poynton, S., & Trimboli, L. (2018). Assessing the impact of NSW's Safer Pathway Program on recorded crime outcomes-an aggregate-level analysis. BOCSAR NSW Crime and Justice Bulletins, 23.

Location in the Matrix; Methodological Rigor; Outcome:

Individuals; Focused; Reactive; Rigorous; Mixed findings

What police practice or strategy was examined?

This study evaluated the effect of the Safer Pathway program, a domestic violence prevention program implemented in New South Wales. Noting high levels of repeat victimization for domestic violence, the program was designed to provide a coordinated response to high-risk domestic violence cases. The intervention was implemented in nine Local Area Commands (LAC), and involved improved information sharing, the use of a Domestic Violence Safety Assessment Tool (DVSAT) to identify high-risk victims, an electronic referral platform for victims, local co-ordination points (LCP) to assist domestic violence victims, and safety action meetings (SAM) where agencies discussed high-risk cases and planned responses. Five of the LACs began program implementation in September 2014, while the remaining four LACs implemented the program in July 2015.

How was the intervention evaluated?

The intervention was evaluated using quasi-experimental time series designs with treatment LACs matched to LACs that did not receive the program based on predicted future rates of domestic violence re-victimization. Each treatment LAC was matched with one control LAC, resulting in nine matched pairs. Researchers compared treatment and control groups across seven different monthly outcome measures, including the number of domestic violence (DV) incidents, the number of persons of interest charged by the police for a DV incident, the number of victims of DV incidents, and the number of police calls for DV incidents. The evaluation period spanned 96 months, from January 2009-December 2016. Researchers analyzed differences in these measures across both treatment and control groups overall and across individual matched pairs.

What were the key findings?

There was a small but significant overall decrease in DV incidents, persons of interest proceeded against, and DV victims for treatment areas compared to control areas. However, these results were only for the areas that implemented the program in July 2015. There were no significant changes in the other outcome measures, and no significant overall findings were noted for the areas that implemented the program in September 2014. Additionally, findings for the individual matched pairs of LACs were mixed but largely nonsignificant, with some pairs showing significant decreases in outcome measures for treatment areas compared to control areas, and others showing significant increases.

What were the implications for law enforcement?

The authors suggest that the Safer Pathway program may have some small but meaningful benefits. The mixed results may be caused by inconsistent program delivery in some locations.

Where can I find more information about this intervention, similar types of intervention, or related studies?