This document pulls together five strands of research. The first is a collection of demographic data concerning 502 participants who were referred to and attended programmes at Stopping Violence Dunedin (SVD) between July 2014-July 2015. The second project involved following up all Corrections Department referrals that could be traced through the appropriate systems by asking the Department for data on re-offending in the year following July 2015. The third strand is a focus group project describing conclusions gleaned from discussion in four focus groups drawn from the participants and facilitated by an external group leader. Fourth, a series of phone interviews using a structured interview template was conducted with a random sample of participants. The results were analysed for themes by an external researcher, who also designed the template. The fifth element is a clinical picture, obtained by using a Psychiatric Diagnostic Screening Questionnaire, of participants who attended programmes during Monday-Friday 14-18 November 2016. This latter was not part of the original research design, but deepens and adds to the significance of the results from the four other projects.
Overall, stopping violence programmes seem to be effective in that lower recidivism rates are associated with programme completion. Specifically, participants report reduced anger and violence, better self-control, greater capacity for empathy and improvements in communication associated with social functioning and family relationships. The clinical data obtained from the one-week ‘snapshot’ suggests elevated levels of distress above population norms. There are questions about alternative interpretations of results, and improved design for further study is suggested.