What about family violence?
Traditionally “swift, certain and fair” approaches have been used to exclusively or primarily target drug and alcohol offenders. There is not currently any SCF program in operation, in Australia or elsewhere, that exclusively targets family violence offending.
Some SCF programs indirectly include family violence offenders in their cohort by, for example, targeting offenders with drug and alcohol issues. South Dakota’s alcohol-targeted program was found to reduce family violence arrests over a five-year period by nine per cent. Victoria’s Drug Court, which also targets offenders with substance-abuse issues, has a similar model to a “swift, certain and fair” approach. But there are a few key differences.
First, Drug Court participants are required to attend regular court hearings, while participants in a SCF program usually only come back to court if they have been non-compliant.
Second, the Drug Court uses a system of accrued sanctions, such that if an offender’s accrued prison days, for example, exceed a week, the offender is required to serve that time in custody. Participants in a SCF program are immediately sanctioned for each and every violation.