Modelling the behavioural patterns of family violence aggressors

Apriel  Jolliffe Simpson1, Chaitanya Joshi1, Devon Polaschek1

1University Of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand


Patterns of family violence differ over time in terms of the frequency of episodes, and the severity of harm within them. However, this complexity is not captured by traditional risk assessment instruments, many of which were validated to simply predict the likelihood of another episode occurring. Because family violence often reoccurs, predicting recurrence has limited utility in practice; instead, we would benefit from knowing the probability of aggressors escalating or deescalating the seriousness or frequency of their harmful behaviour. Therefore, in this study we modelled the behavioural patterns of 2115 family violence aggressors using information reported to New Zealand Police over a two-year period. We currently know very little about the behavioural patterns of family violence aggressors over time, and this research has the potential to aid improvement in current risk assessment practices implemented by police and other agencies responsible for responding to family violence.


Apriel Jolliffe Simpson is a PhD student in Te Kura Whatu Oho Mauri School of Psychology, and a research assistant in Te Puna Haumaru New Zealand Institute of Security and Crime Science, University of Waikato. Her research interests include family violence, forensic psychology, evidence-based policing, and crime science.