Author Don Weatherburn and Sara Rahman
Published August 2018
Report Type Crime and Justice Bulletin No. 215
Subject Assault; Domestic violence; Offenders
Keywords Domestic and family violence, assault, general offending, specialisation, versatility

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To assess:
(a) the extent to which DV offenders specialise in DV offending
(b) the type and frequency of involvement in non-DV offences by DV offenders and
(c) the similarities and differences between DV assault offenders and non-DV assault offenders.


To address the first two questions we examine non-DV offending by offenders convicted in New South Wales (NSW) of a DV offence between 2008 and 2017. To address the third we use classification techniques to determine how well DV assault offenders and non-DV assault offenders can be separated on the basis of demographic and criminal justice variables or (in a separate sub-analysis) how well they can be separated on the basis of the Level of Service InventoryRevised (LSI-R).


A little over a third (35.25%) of the cohort had a DV conviction as their only conviction. The remainder (64.75%) had at least one general (non-DV) offence. DV offences accounted for only 38 per cent of all the offences committed by DV offenders between 2008 and 2017. DV offenders committed more than 2.5 times as many non-DV offences as DV offences. The 65,183 DV offenders who committed at least one non-DV offence, between them generated a total of 385,741 proven non-DV offences The most common non-DV offences committed by DV offenders in the cohort were traffic offences (27.99% of all non-DV offences), theft offences (14.67% of all non-DV offences) and drug offences (12.31% of all non-DV offences). DV assault offenders and non-DV assault offenders differ very little in terms of their demographic and criminal justice profile or in terms of their LSI-R profile.


Policing strategies aimed at deterring or incapacitating domestic violence offenders are likely to produce spillover benefits in terms of other forms of crime. Further research is urgently needed to determine what works in reducing the risk of DV reoffending for those who specialise in DV and those whose offending involves both DV and non-DV offences.

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