Between 1995 and mid-2001 there was a large increase in the number of penalties imposed on income support recipients for breaches of social security rules and requirements. This increase paralleled the expansion of obligations and requirements placed on IS recipients of workforce age, along with the introduction of the competitive employment services market (the Job Network). 'Breaching', as it is commonly known, has become highly controversial and has attracted considerable attention from advocacy groups and the media. It has been the subject of an independent review, set up by welfare agencies, examination by the Commonwealth Ombudsman's Office and internal inquiries by Centrelink. These have resulted in a number of policy and procedural changes, one effect of which has been a reduction from the previous levels of breaching. For this reason the Department of Family and Community Services commissioned a study of the impacts of breaching from the Social Policy Research Centre, under its Social Policy Research Services Agreement for 2002. The research aims to assist in future policy development and is particularly relevant given the extension of participation requirements.