Second responder policing programs

About this review

This Intervention Review is primarily based on 1 systematic review and 15 primary studies, [published in 22 documents].

The review draws on the best available impact evaluation evidence. The studies were selected against a set selection criteria which is based on a rigorous and comprehensive search and screening process. This review includes impact evaluations of the intervention and therefore does not necessarily reflect all evidence on the intervention. Further materials on this intervention are listed under References and Further Reading.
See the Response Evidence and Gap Map to explore similar interventions. For detail about the individual studies, see the Included Studies section .For further information about the methods informing this review, please see the Intervention Review Technical Report (forthcoming).

Suggested citation: ANROWS. (2023). Second responder policing programs. Evidence Portal Intervention Review. ANROWS.

Info

Date Created: 07 September, 2023
Download PDF

Your PDF is being generated. Please wait...


Snapshot

Intervention

Police officers are teamed with ‘second responders’ to conduct follow-up visits following callouts for intimate partner violence

Key populations

Adult victims and survivors and perpetrators of intimate partner violence

Outcomes studied

Gender-based violence, Detection of violence, screening and support, Wellbeing and emotions, Health, Relationships

Impact of the intervention

One systematic review and meta-analysis provides initial impact results for IPV and victim use of services

Australian Evidence

0 studies presented findings from Australia and 0 studies reported on the experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Risk of bias

Classification pending

Intervention description

What are the key characteristics of the intervention?

Second responder programs involve police partnering with second responders to co-respond to callouts for intimate partner violence. Second responders are usually practitioners employed in social services, counselling, or advocacy roles. These practitioners usually provide the victim and survivor with support and resources around access to services like mental health, legal assistance, housing, or safety planning. They may refer a victim and survivor to other services or facilitate initial contact for them. The aim of the intervention is to address repeat violence.


What does the intervention involve?
Where is the intervention set?

Delivered via home visits during or after the police callout, with some using telephone contacts

How is the intervention delivered?

By police officers and second responder practitioners, usually face-to-face

How frequently is the intervention delivered?

Second responders usually make contact with victims and survivors within 24 hours to one week of police contact. Duration of this contact ranges from 10 to 45 minutes

What resources and costs are involved?

One study commented on the costs associated with the intervention

Theory of change

How is the intervention designed or theorised to work?

Second responder interventions are based on the theory that victims and survivors of domestic and family violence may be more receptive to future prevention opportunities such as safety planning or support service engagement immediately after an incident of violence has occurred. Most interventions focused on educating victims and survivors to understand the cyclical pattern of domestic and family violence and providing referrals to support services.

A few studies broadened the scope of participants to include families who were victims and survivors, rather than focusing on individuals. Further, a couple of studies focused on providing recovery opportunities to perpetrators of domestic and family violence. Despite the different populations, all studies anticipated a recent incident of domestic and family violence could act as a catalyst for greater recovery efforts.


Impact

This section speaks to the effectiveness of the studies.

The outcomes measured by the included studies include intimate partner violence and use of services. Findings in the impact table below draw from one high-quality systematic review and meta-analysis of the included studies.


✅ = Most systematic reviews and studies show effectiveness
🟢 = Most studies show effectiveness
🟨= Most systematic reviews and studies show no effect
🟡 = Most studies show no effect
⛔= Potentially harmful
🔵 = Mixed evidence
✖ = Insufficient causal evidence
🕓 = Not yet rated

Effectiveness rating
Outcome
Description

Victim and survivor use of services

One meta-analysis showed a statistically significant positive effect of the intervention on increasing victim and survivor use of services.

Intimate partner violence

One meta-analysis showed no effect of the intervention on decreasing intimate partner violence. However, it should be noted that this may be due to a greater willingness to report repeat violence

Key Populations

Has the impact of this intervention been tested with certain key populations?

This Intervention Review assessed the impact of second responder programs aimed at responding to intimate partner violence. The populations predominantly focused on adult women victims and survivors without targeting any specific sexual orientation. There were thirteen studies that considered perpetration, these studies focused on either male perpetrators of intimate partner violence or family groups. Only three studies focused explicitly on heterosexual relationships. The intervention was not designed for any specific cultural or ethnic groups, people with physical or mental disabilities, or health conditions.

The table below gives an overview of whether or not the intervention was examined with some key populations. The inclusion of these populations was guided by the National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-2032 and Australia’s National Research Agenda to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children: 2020-2022.


🔴 = no studies
🟡 = at least 1 study mentions that population, but effectiveness wasn't tested with that population
🟢 = at least 1 study tests effectiveness with the population

Population What do we know about this group? Degree of knowledge
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

0 studies examine the effectiveness of the intervention with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Therefore, we cannot confirm the applicability of this intervention to this population.

Sexuality and gender diverse / LGBTIQA+

0 studies examine the effectiveness of the intervention with sexuality and gender diverse/LGBTIQA+. Therefore, we cannot confirm the applicability of this intervention to this population.

Specific age groups

0 studies examine the effectiveness of the intervention with specific age groups. Therefore, we cannot confirm the applicability of this intervention to this population.

Culturally diverse, migrant and refugee background

0 studies examine the effectiveness of the intervention with culturally diverse, migrant and refugee backgrounds. Therefore, we cannot confirm the applicability of this intervention to this population.

Disability

0 studies examine the effectiveness of the intervention with disabilities. Therefore, we cannot confirm the applicability of this intervention to this population.

Key considerations

This section summarises factors that may contribute to study results, factors that may be considered to facilitate better outcomes, and the transferability of the intervention to an Australian context.

What do we know about the intervention in Australia?

What should Australian stakeholders consider?

Included studies

Characteristics of primary studies included in the Intervention Review
Study and location Design Intervention Sample Outcome categories
Stover et al. (2010) United States Quasi-experimental study with a control group Comparison: Treatment as usual police services Qualitative data: No Domestic Violence Home Visit Intervention
Duration and format: face-to-face, individual home visits, delivered by police and community-based patrol officers
Setting: Home
Costs: not reported
NExp = 52,
NComp = 55
Adult women victims/survivors
Health, Child health, behaviour and development, Social and material support
Scott et al. (2015) Canada Quasi-experimental study with a control group Comparison: No treatment Qualitative data: No Second responder program
Duration and format: Face-to-face, individual risk, needs, and responsivity-focused second-responder program delivered by therapists
Setting: Specialist DFV services
Costs: not reported
NExp = 40,
NComp = 40
Adult male perpetrators
Gender-based violence
Messing et al. (2014; 2015) United States Quasi-experimental study with a control group
Comparison: Treatment as usual police services
Qualitative data: No
Lethality Assessment Program
Duration and format: face-to-face, individual, delivered by social workers, first responders or police
Setting: Various, at the scene of the incident
Costs: Not reported
NExp = 657,
NComp = 342
Adult women victims/survivors
Behaviours, Gender-based violence, Health
Davis et al. (2007; 2010) United States Randomised controlled trial
Comparison: No treatment
Qualitative data: No
Second responder program
Duration and format: Individual, 30-45 minute visit within 24hrs of DV incident, delivered by police including a trained female domestic violence detective
Setting: Home
Costs: Not reported
NExp = 74,
NComp = 76
Adult women victims/survivors
Gender-based violence, Detection of violence, screening and support
Koppensteiner et al. (2015) United Kingdom Randomised controlled trial
Comparison: Treatment as usual, police services
Qualitative data: No
Project 360 Referrals offered during phone contact with system-based advocates
Duration and format: Individual face-to-face, 1-week varying by victim/survivor needs, delivered by community engagement workers
Setting: Telephone (phone calls excluding text messaging)
Costs: Not provided
NExp = 117,
NComp = 97
Adult women victims/survivors
Wellbeing and emotions, Detection of violence, screening and support
Koppensteiner et al. (2017) United Kingdom Randomised controlled trial
Comparison: Treatment as usual, police services
Qualitative data: No
Project 360
Duration and format: Individual face-to-face, 1-week varying by victim/survivor needs, delivered by community engagement workers
Setting: Telephone (phone calls excluding text messaging)
Costs: total estimated incremental cost over the 6-month period for Project 360 was £45,300, £174 per victim engagement
NExp = 110,
NComp = 104
Adult women victims/survivors
Social and material support, Detection of violence, screening and support. Health. Wellbeing and emotions, Relationships
Deprince et al. (2012) United States Quasi-experimental study with a control group
Comparison: No treatment
Qualitative data: No
Second responder program
Duration and format: Individual telephone format, delivered by police and system-based advocate
Setting: Home
Costs: Not provided
NExp = 50, NComp = 53
Adult women victims/survivors
Gender-based violence
Friday et al. (2006); Exum et al. (2014) United States Quasi-experimental study with a control group Comparison: Treatment as usual, police services Qualitative data: No Charlotte Domestic Violence Unit
Duration and format: Individual, face-to-face delivered by police sergeant, detectives, counsellors and volunteers
Setting: Home
Costs: Not provided
NExp = 220, NComp = 670
Adult women victims/survivors
Gender-based violence
Davis & Weisburd (2008); Peterson et al. (2022) Systematic review Second responder programs Adult women victims/survivors Gender-based violence
Davis et al. (2021) [Research design as coded]
Comparison: Treatment as usual, police services
Qualitative data: No
Second responder program
Duration and format: Individual, face-to-face delivered by police
Setting: Home
Costs: Not provided
Adult women victims/survivors Gender-based violence
Regoeczi et al. (2018) United States Quasi-experimental study with a control group
Comparison: Treatment as usual, police services
Qualitative data: No
Second responder program
Duration and format: Individual, face-to-face delivered by Social worker, Police, Court workers, Prosecutor or judges
Setting: Home
Costs: Not provided
Adult women victims/survivors Gender-based violence
Mizrachi (2019) United States Single group pre-post study
Comparison: N/A
Qualitative data: No
Lethality Assessment Program
Duration and format: Individual, face-to-face delivered by police
Setting: Scene of domestic violence incident
Costs: Not provided
N=954
Adult women victims/survivors
Gender-based violence
Stover et al. (2009) United States Quasi-experimental study with a control group
Comparison: No treatment
Qualitative data: No
Duration and format: Individual, face-to-face delivered by police and social workers
Setting: Home
Costs: Not provided
Adult women victims/survivors Gender-based violence
Davis et al. (2008) United States Systematic review Second responder programs Adult women victims/survivors Gender-based violence
Hovell et al. (2006) United States Quasi-experimental study with a control group
Comparison: No treatment
Qualitative data: No
Family Violence Response Team
Duration and format: Individual, face-to-face delivered by police and social workers
Setting: Home
Costs: Not provided
Adult women victims/survivors (Latino/a or Hispanic : 62.5%) Detection of violence, screening and support
Casey et al. (2007) United States Quasi-experimental study with a control group
Comparison: Treatment as usual, police services
Qualitative data: No
Second responder programs
Duration and format: Individual, face-to-face delivered by police and social workers
Setting: Home
Costs: Not provided Duration and format: Individual, delivered by social workers and police Setting: Home Costs: Not provided
Adult women victims/survivors Gender-based violence
Davis & Taylor (1997) United States Randomised controlled trial
Comparison: No treatment
Qualitative data: No
Second responder programs
Duration and format: Individual, delivered by social workers and police
Setting: Home
Costs: Not provided
Adult women victims/survivors Gender-based violence, Social and material support
Greenspan et al. (2005) United States Quasi-experimental study with a control group
Comparison: Treatment as usual, police services
Qualitative data: No
Richmond Second Responder Program
Duration and format: Individual, delivered by social works and police
Setting: Home
Costs: Not provided
NExp = 60,
NComp = 60
Adult women victims/survivors
Gender-based violence

References and further reading

Included studies

Additional evidence on the intervention

This list contains other evidence that was not eligible for the Intervention Review based on our selection criteria but may provide further information regarding the intervention.