Glossary for the National Outcome Standards for Perpetrator Interventions


People involved in acts of violence



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People involved in acts of violence

Perpetrator is the term used in the NOSPI to describe males who commit domestic and family violence against women or children, or who commit sexual violence against women. The term ‘sexual violence offender’ can also be used to describe male perpetrators of sexual violence in the context of clinical services for sex offenders. It is important to note that interventions with perpetrators of child sexual abuse are not covered by the NOSPI due to the highly specialised nature of many interventions with child sex offenders.

The term perpetrator reinforces the serious nature of domestic, family and sexual violence. The term is intended to cover all men who commit one or more identified acts of domestic or family violence against women and their children, or sexual violence against women, whether or not they have ever been arrested, charged with a crime, or had an intervention order issued against them.

Some people prefer to use the phrase ‘men who use violence’ because they consider it labels the behaviour rather than the person, acknowledging that their perpetration of violence does not define them, and that many of the men who perpetrate violence have experienced their own trauma and difficulties in their lifetimes.

For the purposes of the NOSPI the term ‘perpetrator’ will be primarily used for consistency with the National Plan, as well as to keep a focus on the serious nature of the behaviour. However, where appropriate the NOSPI may refer to ‘men who use violence’ with the same meaning as ‘perpetrator’.



Victim/survivor is the term used in the NOSPI to describe women and their children who have experienced domestic, family and sexual violence by a male perpetrator. Some people prefer to use the phrase ‘women who experience violence’ because they consider it labels the behaviour perpetrated against the women rather than the woman herself and acknowledges the efforts many victims of violence make to protect themselves and their children from domestic and family violence . To balance these perspectives the term ‘victim/survivor’ is primarily used in the NOSPI, however, the phrase ‘women [and their children] who experience violence’ may be used in the NOSPI with the same meaning as ‘victim/survivor’.




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