applying behavioural insights to family violence singapore x · dr rory gallagher managing...
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Dr Rory GallagherManaging Director, BIT Australia
Applying Behavioural Insights to
Family ViolenceNational Family Violence Networking System Conference
Singapore,27 November 2018
© The Behavioural Insights Team
What are Behavioural Insights?
Most policy concerns human behaviour
Need for more nuanced models and tools
Behavioural insights are
about human behaviour
that can be used to make
public policy and service
delivery more effective.
People can be unpredictable, so we are
interested in insights that have been
tested and shown to be effective.
We focus on changing behaviour,
rather than attitudes or beliefs.
Insights should be useful and
practical for policymakers.
Where do the Insights come from?
Quantitative & Qualitative
Trials (esp. RCTs)
Data science & ML
Co-design & innovation
A simple framework: EAST
4 global case studies
© The Behavioural Insights Team
• Across Australia police respond to a
family violence matter every two
minutes. This equates to 240,000
matters every year, and accounts for
60 per cent of police time.
• In NSW, 1 in 5 Apprehend Domestic
Orders are breached, with 7,700
breaches per year.
• ADVOs are not well understood by
defendants and victims. The Flesch-
Kincaid reading ease test indicated
that people require 13.5 years of
education to understand the Order.
• Simplified language, with plain English
examples of what the Orders mean in
• Prioritised key messages, such as the
consequences of breaching the order at
• Personalised the form, so use names and
active language (e.g. you > the
• Added behaviour change messages, e.g.
challenging normalisation of DV: ‘most
relationships don’t involve fear and
In December 2016, the new Orders were rolled out across
NSW. There are an estimated 65,000 provisional, interim
and final Orders made per year.
The revised letters have been translated into 29 languages
and accessible versions have been created.
● SMS reminder sent to ADVO recipient a day
before court appointment
● Sent each time the client had to attend court
● Behaviourally informed:
‒ plain English
‒ sent from NSW Police
‒ court reminder + direction not to breach
‒ contact details for Men’s Referral Service14
Some clients responded to the SMS
• Over 10,000 messages were sent (Jan 2018)
• Over 100 responses have been received
- 26% said thanks or thank you
- 31% said that it was a wrong number
Who received the intervention?
• Our total sample size
(control and intervention)
was 4,388 ADVO recipients
across 8,314 court
• Between 30 May 2016 to 1
January 2018 (18 months
5 courts in
75% had a
11% identified as
Fewer people missed their court appointments
The impact on attendance increases when looking at those that
received the SMS
NSW Police and Courts Service saved resources
• For every client that fails to attend court, they are served their order by two police officers. It is estimated that this costs $651 per visit
• Intervention led to less court listings and faster finalisation
No significant impact on ADVO breach rates within 180 days
Reduce court non-
Reduce DV re-
offending (i.e. assaults)
Reduce ADVO breach
Reduce time to finalise
Our secondary outcomes
'What's your plan?’ session
• If-then plan
• Goal &
• Positive outcome
• Follow-up text
• Follow up phone call
Luke, 48yrs, has just received his
Final Orders, which include Order
1 (do not assault or harass).
Luke and Emily are living
separately. Luke knows he
struggles with his temper and has
attended anger management
sessions in the past.
I could use the anger
management techniques I already
know or try and avoid discussions
that are likely to get off track.
What might make this goal
I get angry when Emily uses
discussions about the kids to
argue about other things.
What can you do before or when
The link between alcohol and
• Evidence strongly suggests that alcohol is an
aggravating factor in family violence.
• Almost half of DV incidents recorded by police
• Alcohol outlet density is positively associated
with DV (Livingston, 2011).
• Male-to-female violence is:
• Up to 11x more likely on a day the male
partner consumes alcohol.
• Up to 20x more likely on the male partner’s
‘heavy drinking’ day (Stuart, 2005).
• Violence is most likely triggered by problematic
drinking, not drinking per se (Foran & O’Leary,
Scoping study on alcohol monitoring and messaging