A team effort: Preventing violence against women through sport

Family Violence, Report

Sport has great potential to influence social change and prevent violence against women by creating inclusive, equitable, healthy and safe environments for men and women, boys and girls. This evidence guide collates the academic literature and research evidence regarding sport as a setting for the prevention of violence against women. It provides a summary of current prevention initiatives, and draws from an analysis of these and the wider literature to outline 10 key elements of promising practice in sport settings.

ANROWS Research Summary: The impacts of domestic and family violence on children

Early years, Family Violence, Young People, Report

This summary is designed for practitioners and policy-makers who want to know more about ANROWS research on the impacts of domestic and family violence (DFV) on children. It outlines the major issues found in ANROWS research relevant to children, the factors preventing effective service delivery and the policy and practice changes recommended by the researchers. It concludes with future research directions.

Beyond borders: How to make the global compacts on migration and refugees work for uprooted children

Youth Justice, Report

The rights, protection and wellbeing of migrant and refugee children should be central commitments of global migration policies, UNICEF has said in a new report. The report outlines best practice for children’s care and protection, and includes case studies of governments and communities working to support and integrate them and their families. Key themes include keeping families together, keeping refugee and migrant children learning, and combatting discrimination. The case studies are diverse, spanning across country income levels, and can be replicated in different contexts around the world.

Bridging the divide: Supporting children and young people in their middle years

Early years, Report

Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand (Good Shepherd) undertook this research to highlight some of the unique challenges faced by children and young people in their ‘middle years’ (between the ages of 8 – 12 years). The middle years are a critical time of development and change. Children can face difficulties transitioning from primary to high school, caring for parents or younger siblings, being subject to inappropriate sexualisation and sexual exploitation, and being denied the opportunity to have meaningful input into decisions that affect their lives. Good Shepherd makes recommendations to government, schools and the community sector to ensure that we are better able to meet the needs of children and young people in their middle years.

Bright futures: Spotlight on the wellbeing of young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD), Report

This report from VicHealth discusses issues that affect the wellbeing of young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds. The report finds that migrant and refugee students are less likely to find full-time employment after graduation (45%) compared with Australian-born students (69%) due to racial discrimination, lack of understanding of the local job market and overseas skills and qualifications not being recognised. The research shows that refugee and young migrant communities also bring with them many unique qualities, such as global networks, new ideas and an entrepreneurial spirit, which can enrich Australian society.

Child Abuse Royal Commission’s Final Report

Safety and wellbeing, Report

On 15 December 2017, the Final Report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was delivered to the Governor-General of Australia and released. The Royal Commission’s Final Report comprises of 17 volumes and includes a total of 189 new recommendations, many of which are aimed at making institutions safer for children.

This report was developed in collaboration with Melbourne University and identifies gaps in published literature pertaining to 5 key focus areas; Aboriginal children and families, out of home care, high-risk young people, trauma-informed practice, children with disabilities and their families and family violence.

Children and Young People in Out of Home Care in Tasmania

Out of Home Care (OOHC), Report

This report by the Tasmanian Commissioner for Children and Young People, Mark Morrissey, presents findings aimed at improving the wellbeing of children and young people living in out of home care. Although he found that the 1,100 children in state care were ‘generally experiencing acceptable outcomes’, he also identifies a number of issues with the system. Morrissey presents seven recommendations to improve the OOHC system in Tasmania.

Children’s social care innovation programme: Final evaluation report

Mental Health, Evaluation, Report

The UK Department for Education has published an overview of the evaluation of the children’s social care innovation program in England 2014 to 2016. The report includes findings from project evaluations that show reductions in children entering care, children living in residential care and increased reunification with birth families. From these evaluations, a number of recommendations for best practice emerge, including the adoption of a family focused, strengths-based approach that supports families to take responsibility for their own lives; multi-professional teams including workers in family violence, mental health and drug and alcohol; and a ‘key worker’ to provide consistency.

Collective impact: Evidence and implications for practice

Safety and wellbeing, Report

This paper explores the collective impact framework and its ability to create transformational change on complex social issues. It provides an overview of the development of collective impact in Australia, drawing on case studies to demonstrate the promise of place-based, collaborative initiatives. The collective impact framework has resonated with practitioners and communities both in Australia and abroad, however, the evidence base for collective impact is still growing.

WEstjustice has launched their 'Couch Surfing Limbo' report which explores the challenges faced by young couch surfers. Common challenges experienced by this group include exploitation, abuse, and the complexities of navigating a predominantly adult homelessness service system. The report also provides insight into the issues faced by couch providers – the informal carers that look after young couch surfers in their homes.

Covid-19 and early intervention: Evidence, challenges and risks relating to virtual and digital delivery

Technology, COVID-19, Report

This report from the Early Intervention Foundation (EIF) sets out the evidence on virtual and digital delivery of interventions across a range of relevant domains, highlights the challenges and risks associated with remote delivery methods, and provides the findings from an EIF survey asking intervention developers and providers about their response to the Covid-19 crisis. It is intended to support the sector as it rapidly adapts to the constraints on delivery imposed by widespread social distancing and lockdown.

COVID-19 Impact Report: Responding to the needs of children and families

Families and parenting, COVID-19, Report

This impact report from CFECFW is based on a review of data gathered by the CFECFW during the period March-June 2020, sometimes called the ‘first wave’ of the coronavirus in Victoria. During the four months covered by this report, CSOs across Victoria demonstrated their ability to respond quickly to the unprecedented challenges facing their clients and workers by implementing creative solutions and workarounds in the face of restrictions on face to face engagement. This report also highlights the challenges experienced by families and workers, the ‘pragmatic problem-solving’ of our CSOs as they transformed their service delivery models, and the lessons learned.

Crossover Children: Examining Initial Criminal Justice System Contact Among Child Protection- Involved Youth

Youth Justice, Out of Home Care (OOHC), Report

This article is part of a series of reports and articles seeking to understand the circumstances that lead to children and young people becoming ‘cross-over kids’; involved in both the child protection and criminal justice systems. It looks at cross-over children’s initial charges.

Domestic and family violence protection orders in Australia: An investigation of information-sharing and enforcement with a focus on interstate orders

Family Violence, Report

Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) has released a report summarising the findings of research undertaken by the Queensland Centre for Domestic and Family Violence Research regarding the enforcement of Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DPVOs). Inconsistencies and competing interests at the intersections of domestic and family violence, child protection, and family law remain a barrier to effective implementation and enforcement of DVPOs.

Educational opportunity for all: Overcoming inequality throughout the life course

Education, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD), Report

According to a new OECD report, too many children from disadvantaged backgrounds are falling behind in education and being disadvantaged in the future job market. Only a few OECD countries offer people from disadvantaged backgrounds equal opportunity to succeed as their more well-off peers, including Japan, Korea and the Netherlands. To address this level of inequality, investment in good quality early childhood education and care is needed, especially for children from disadvantaged families.

Enabling young people’s participation in residential care decision-making

Out of Home Care (OOHC), Young People, Report, Literature Review

This brief from the Centre for Excellence in Therapeutic Care discusses what is needed to create genuine participation for young people in residential care. It discusses why youth participation is important and beneficial for designing services, programs and policies in this setting. It also covers a number of different models for participation, and implications for practitioners and organisations in using these approaches.

Engaging Students: Creating Classrooms that Improve Learning

Education, Report

The Grattan Institute's Engaging students: Creating classrooms that improve learning examines the hidden problem of student disengagement in Australian schools, reporting that as many as 40% of Australia’s school students are unproductive in a given year. The report draws on a number of major Australian studies from the past 10 years, finding that though classrooms are not out of control, many students are not engaged in learning. The paper offers a number of classroom level and system wide recommendations to improve student engagement. Teacher support is identified as a significant factor in improving student engagement, with a number of recommendations relating to teacher training and mentoring. Also important is the targeting of disadvantaged schools, where student engagement is lowest.

Evidence to Action Note: What risk factors are associated with being placed in out-of-home care?

Out of Home Care (OOHC), Report

This evidence to action note from the NSW Department of Communities and Justice summarises the findings of the NSW Child Development Study, which examined 17 risk factors to see if they could accurately predict whether a child would enter out-of-home care (OOHC) by the age of 13-14 years. The study identified six risk factors that can jointly classify children with an OOHC placement with 95% accuracy. This summary note discusses the implications of these findings for policy and practice.

Families in Australia Survey: Life During COVID-19

Families and parenting, COVID-19, Report

The AIFS Life during COVID-19 survey ran from May 1 to June 9 2020 and had 7,306 participants from around Australia. It was the first survey in the Families in Australia Survey series. The aim was to understand how Australian families coped with the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the greatest health, social and economic challenges in history. The findings in this report are drawn from our first analyses of the survey data. Later reports will add to, and expand on, these findings.

Healing Foundation Report – Looking Where the Light Is: creating and restoring safety and healing

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Safety and wellbeing, Report

This report from the Healing Foundation offers a cultural framework for addressing child sexual abuse in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. It views sexual abuse holistically exploring impacts on children, families and communities as well as exploring processes for healing, wellbeing and safety.

Help-seeking Needs and Gaps for Preventing Child Sexual Abuse

Safety and wellbeing, Report

This report from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse explores the service needs and help-seeking behaviours of professionals, parents and community members in relation to child sexual abuse. The report evaluates the effectiveness of existing services that respond to the needs of these groups and makes suggestions for improvement. It concludes that there are limited programs and services targeted to these particular groups, and those that do exist are not well coordinated. It also suggests that programs are often unregulated, under-evaluated and that there is a lack of understanding of child sexual-abuse related issues within the community. A whole of community response and a focus on primary prevention would do much to improve our response to child sexual abuse.

Identifying early intervention and prevention pathways for child protection concerns raised in pregnancy

Families and parenting, Report

This research project seeks to understand the concerns and identify the risk and protective factors for child abuse and neglect during pregnancy. It highlights two clear target groups for child abuse prevention and early intervention efforts in pregnancy: first time parents who have their own histories of abuse or neglect as children; and parents who had at least one child who was known to child protection. These families have the most to gain from early intervention and prevention efforts.

Inpatient care for children and adolescents with mental disorders

Mental Health, Safety and wellbeing, Report

This Evidence Check from the Sax Institute synthesises the best available research evidence about when inpatient care is the most effective and appropriate form of care for children and adolescents with moderate to severe mental disorders. Indicators such as risk of self-harm or suicide, poor physical health and family-related characteristics are considered. The report emphasises that developing a comprehensive range of mental health services for children and adolescents should be an important policy focus for Australia.

Investing in communities not prisons

Youth Justice, Report

The Victorian youth justice advocacy coalition, Smart Justice for Young People (SJ4YP), has published a report aimed at strengthening the understanding of a justice reinvestment approach and exploring how it might be implemented in Victoria. Justice reinvestment is an approach to the criminal justice system that redirects funding away from incarcerating people in youth detention and towards community-based initiatives aimed at addressing the root causes of crime. This report looks at case studies of justice reinvestment in the US, New Zealand and Europe.

Kids and food: Challenges families face

Families and parenting, Report

The Royal Children’s Hospital National Child Health Poll has surveyed a sample of 1980 parents of children aged 0-18 years. The findings show that many Australian parents struggle to make healthy food choices for their children for a range of reasons. Many parents find it difficult to know which foods are healthy, particularly when it comes to added sugar. Other barriers to healthy eating habits include preparation time and cost. Parents could benefit from additional resources to help them in making healthy and cost effective meals for their families.

Lessons learned from Term 2 remote and flexible learning

Education, Technology, COVID-19, Report

These three reports (an independent analysis, Parliamentary secretary report and report on focus groups) have been released from the Victorian Government about the experience of remote and flexible learning in Term 2 for students, teachers and families during coronavirus (COVID-19). The reports were informed by more than 3600 submissions from teachers, parents, students and education experts as part of a community consultation process. The reports provide insight from government, independent and Catholic schools into the experiences of students, teachers and educators who had to quickly adapt in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Making the grade: A progress report and next steps for Integrated Student Supports

Education, Mental Health, Report

Integrated Student Supports (ISS) models in schools recognise that students’ unmet non-academic needs can undermine their academic success. ISS offers specific services and supports to students and their families, such as housing assistance mental health services, to build a foundation for academic success. This review synthesises the existing evidence relating to the ISS approach to schooling. Several strong evaluations show support for the ISS model, highlighting flow-on effects for long-term family outcomes.

Maltreatment and Delinquency: Examining the Contexts of Offending Amongst Child Protection-Involved Children

Youth Justice, Family Violence, Out of Home Care (OOHC), Report

This article is part of a series of reports and articles seeking to understand the circumstances that lead to children and young people becoming ‘cross-over kids’ who involved in both the child protection and criminal justice systems.

Policy roundtable – Emerging patterns in place-based approaches: International perspectives

Safety and wellbeing, Report

The Centre for Community Child Health at the Royal Children’s Hospital has released a summary report of the emerging patterns in place-based approaches to child welfare. It highlights the need to invest in place-based interventions as a strategy for improving outcomes for children living in disadvantaged locations. It focuses on replicable learnings from researchers and practitioners in place-based programs across the UK, US and Australia.

Power to Kids: Respecting Sexual Safety Evaluation Report

Out of Home Care (OOHC), Safety and wellbeing, Report

This evaluation report examines the Power to Kids: Respecting Sexual Safety project at MacKillop Family Services. This project aimed to co-design, implement and evaluate strategies to prevent and intervene early in harmful sexual behaviour, child sexual exploitation and dating violence in residential care. The report concludes that primary prevention efforts are required that focus on respectful relationships and sexuality education, and secondary interventions should focus on reducing risk factors and enhancing protective factors. Further, tertiary prevention efforts need to involve assisting young people to exit exploitation and providing therapeutic responses for victims of sexual violence and for young people who carry out the violence.

Prevention of violence against women and safer pathways to services for migrant and refugee communities

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD), Family Violence, Report

This report from ANROWS covers research insights from the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Projects with Action Research (CALD PAR) initiative. In determining 'what works', researchers found that an intersectional and culturally safe approach to prevention and safer pathways work empowers CALD groups and individuals. This approach centres their voices and brings together communities and services to reduce violence.

Problem sexual behaviours and sexually abusive behaviours in Australian children and young people

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Out of Home Care (OOHC), Report

This paper reviews the available literature to summarise what we currently know about Australian children and young people who exhibit Problem Sexual Behaviours (PSAs) and Sexually Abusive Behaviours (SABs). Particular attention is paid to vulnerable populations such as Indigenous children and young people, and those in out-of-home care. It is argued that children and young people who demonstrate PSAs and SABs are in need of early therapeutic support.

Promising Practice Guide: Improving the Social and Emotional Wellbeing of Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People with Severe and Complex Mental Health Needs

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Mental Health, Young People, Report

This promising practice guide from Orygen draws on an emerging, yet disparate, evidence-base about promising practices aimed at improving the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people. It aims to support service providers, commissioners, and policy-makers to adopt strengths-based, equitable and culturally responsive approaches that better meet the needs of this high-risk population.

Remote data collection on violence against children during COVID-19: A conversation with experts on research priorities, measurement and ethics (Part 2)

Family Violence, Safety and wellbeing, Child maltreatment, Report

Part two of his two part report from UNICEF presents a conversation with experts on research priorities, measurement and ethics for collecting data with these vulnerable groups. This is framed in the context of COVID-19, which may lead to an increased risk of violence as a result of compounding structural, interpersonal and individual-level risk factors - including the increased economic strain placed on families, stay-at-home orders, school closures and other COVID-19 response measures.

Remote data collection on violence against women during COVID-19: A conversation with experts on ethics, measurement & research priorities (Part 1)

Family Violence, Safety and wellbeing, Report

Part one of this two part report from UNICEF presents a conversation with experts on research priorities, measurement and ethics for collecting data with these vulnerable groups. This is framed in the context of COVID-19, which may lead to an increased risk of violence as a result of compounding structural, interpersonal and individual-level risk factors - including the increased economic strain placed on families, stay-at-home orders, school closures and other COVID-19 response measures.

Spatial variation in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women’s access to 4 types of maternal health services

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Report

This report examines spatial variation in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women's access to hospitals with public birthing units and 3 other types of maternal health services. It finds that over 250,000 Indigenous women live more than a one hour drive away from a public birthing unit and that poorer access to maternal health services is associated with higher rates of pre-term birth and low birthweight.

Speaking Out About Youth Justice: The Views of WA Children and Young People

Youth Justice, Young People, Report

The Commissioner for Children and Young People in WA has released a report detailing the experiences of young people who have been in contact with the youth justice system. Along with their personal stories, the young people included in the study share what they think would support them in the community to break the cycle of reoffending. The 92 young people involved in the study communicated the belief that offending could be prevented by making appropriate supports and services available. Key supports included positive role models, living in a safe and stable home, participating in education or employment, being involved in community activities and being supported to deal with personal challenges and behavioural issues. For a large number of young offenders, the role models, family supports and other safety nets many of us take for granted are not present.

Strong families, safe kids: family violence response and prevention for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Family Violence, Report

While most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families have strong and healthy relationships, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are significantly more likely to experience family violence than non-Indigenous people. This policy paper outlines the impact of family violence on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, including the role of communal grief, disempowerment and trauma. It also investigates the key factors behind why current policy and practice responses are failing, and a detailed pathway for achieving change. Connection to culture and the right to self-determination are central to supporting families to be free from violence.

Supporting the Roadmap for Reform: Evidence-Informed Practice

Families and parenting, Report

This report gives an overview of evidence informed practice to facilitate a shift from outputs to outcomes based service delivery. It examines the sources of evidence-informed practice and provides a methodology for developing a Menu of evidence-informed practices and programs.

Supporting vulnerable households to achieve their housing goals: The role of impact investment

Safety and wellbeing, Report

This report from Australian Housing & Urban Research Institute (AHURI) was released as part of an inquiry into social impact investment (SII) for improving housing and homelessness outcomes. It discusses the real and perceived opportunities and risks of social impact investment for Australia’s housing and homelessness policies. SII has become an increasing focus of governments as a funding solution to entrenched social problems, such as homelessness. While there is much promise with various SII models, there needs to be further investigation of the benefits flowing from this approach in comparison to existing social service delivery models.

Swift, certain and fair approaches to sentencing family violence offenders

Family Violence, Report

This report by the Sentencing Advisory Council (SAC) outlines the common elements for accommodating ‘swift and certain justice’ approaches to family violence offenders in Victoria’s sentencing regime. Recommendations relate to human rights, accountability of family violence perpetrators, and information sharing between agencies. The SAC found insufficient evidence that a ‘swift, certain and fair’ approach to sentencing and sentence management of family violence offenders would be effective or appropriate in Victoria, and such an approach should not be implemented

Temporary Migration and Family Violence: An analysis of victimisation, vulnerability and support

Family Violence, Report

This report details findings from research on the experiences of family violence among migrant women living in Australia on temporary visas. It is the first major study in Australia exploring the intersection of migration status and family violence. The report explores specific issues such as the ways that migration status can be leveraged in the family violence context and the range of exploitative practices that occur, including trafficking and slavery-like situations of violence. The report offers recommendations to address gaps in protection and support of this vulnerable population.

The effects of pornography on children and young people

Safety and wellbeing, Report

The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) has released a report looking at the impact of exposure to and consumption of online pornography on children and young people. The report synthesises the existing research to draw out consistent themes and identify promising approaches to addressing the harms of online pornography.

The paradigm shifters: Entrepreneurial learning in schools

Education, Report

This Mitchell Institute report presents the background, design and findings from an innovative initiative called The paradigm shifters: Entrepreneurial learning in schools. It draws together international evidence to develop an understanding entrepreneurial education and its benefits. Global and digital transformations are creating both challenges and opportunities in terms of changing the way we learn, and creating new possibilities for students. This report showcases the Australian schools that are already adapting approaches to education to ensure that students access the knowledge and skills they need to thrive in an increasingly complex education and employment environment.

The PIPA project: Positive Interventions for Perpetrators of Adolescent violence in the home (AVITH)

Youth Justice, Family Violence, Report

This report from ANROWS contributes to an understanding of adolescent violence in the home (AVITH) and explores the development of a considered systemic response. It is drawn from a 2 year study that included a literature review, stakeholder engagement, interviews and focus groups with practitioners and reviews of 385 legal case files to examine the legal responses to AVITH in three jurisdictions: Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia.

Towards an adaptive education system in Australia

Education, Report

In its new discussion paper, the Grattan Institute argues that we need to rethink the ways that we are teaching students, supporting teachers and running schools. It argues that we need to create an education system that adapts and improves over time, and supports the translation of a growing body of research about what works best, into daily classroom practice. It proposes six ways Australia can make its education system more adaptive, thereby improving outcomes for children.