The present study examines differences in the characteristics and recidivism risk of young people reported to police for family violence (FV) with a history of prior offending (generalists) and those only known to police for using FV (family-only).
A population-based cohort of youth aged 10–24 years (N = 5014) who were reported to police for using FV over a four-month period in 2019 was examined and FV-related risk and need data extracted, with a six-month follow-up period for further police-reported FV. All data was extracted from police databases. Logistic regression with odds ratios as a measure of effect size were used to compare generalist and family-only cohorts. Cox proportional hazards were used to assess time to FV recidivism among the two cohorts, and to assess whether diversity of prior offending was associated with risk of FV recidivism among generalist youth.
Generalists were more likely than family-only youth to be recorded as using FV in a high severity FV incident, be abusive across multiple relationships, and breach court orders. Generalists experienced a greater level of need and were more likely to engage in FV recidivism, and do so more quickly, than family-only youth. Diversity of prior offending among generalists was positively associated with risk of FV recidivism.
Compared to family-only youth, generalists represent a higher risk cohort with a greater level of need. History of prior offending among young people may be a simple and efficacious means of prioritising higher risk youth who use FV.