Some previous approaches to family violence offenders have assumed that these offenders exclusively commit violent offences against partners or family members and do not commit other types of crime. This is known as ‘specialisation’ in offending. A substantial amount of research has been conducted examining specialisation in criminal offending, but fewer studies have focused on specialisation in family violence, particularly in the Australian context.
This study examines the recorded family violence incidents and non-family violence offences for a cohort of family violence perpetrators over a five year period from 2012 to 2016. Forty percent of the cohort were classified as generalist perpetrators who were recorded for non-family violence offences in addition to family violence incidents, while 60% were specialists who were only recorded for family violence incidents and related offences. A logistic regression model was constructed to examine the differences between generalist and specialist perpetrators in terms of perpetrator and incident characteristics. Similar to the findings of previous studies, female perpetrators were less likely to be generalists than males, and perpetrators who were younger at the time of their first family incident during the study period were more likely to be generalists those who were older at the time of their first family incident. The current study also reports the relationship between generalisation amongst FV perpetrators and a number of other factors that have not been examined in previous research studies.