Following Greens MP Abigail Boyd’s successful call for papers in the Legislative Council, the NSW Government has released documents concerning its funding of the Kirby Institute’s controversial ReINVEST program, a program examining whether a common antidepressant (sertraline) can be used to control impulsive behaviours in domestic violence offenders.
The documents reveal that the trial will fail to meet its key objectives due to low recruitment and poor compliance of participants, and will require an additional $13.5 million in public funding to turn it around.
These revelations are in addition to already reported concerns for the safety and well-being of the victim-survivors of participants in the trial.
Greens MP and Spokesperson for Domestic Abuse & Violence Abigail Boyd said:
“These documents show that we were right to be concerned about the scientific validity of the ReINVEST trial.
“It is frankly outrageous that the Kirby Institute will have nothing to show for the $6.9m of public funds allocated to them. The preliminary findings do not stand up to any kind of real scrutiny. Even Jackie Fitzgerald, the Executive Director of BOSCAR agrees, saying in an internal email that giving them more money would be ‘throwing good money after bad’.
“We are constantly told there is no funding available for sorely-needed evidence-based programs to reduce domestic abuse. Yet here the NSW Government has committed $6.9 million for a trial that is wholly ineffective at best, and downright dangerous at worst.
“The NSW Liberal-National Government needs to stop dabbling in experimental and potentially dangerous treatments, and start getting serious about funding the evidence-based interventions the domestic violence sector has been calling for.”