10 Years On: Global Progress & Delay in Ending Violence against Children – The Rhetoric & the Reality

Youth Justice, Early years, Family Violence

The International NGO Council on Violence against Children has published a report focused on violence that affects children across the globe. This report comments on the many forms of violence perpetrated against children, including child detention rates, child marriage, and physical violence and punishment. It calls on the global community to address the root causes of violence and promote a culture of respect for the rights of the child.

2017 State of the Family Report – The meaning of home

Families and parenting, Family Violence

The Meaning of Home is Anglicare Australia's 17th State of the Family report. It explores the qualities of a home and its importance to the people Anglicare works with. It is a collection of articles and portraits on the different dimensions and interpretations of home. Many of the stories included in the report describe the struggle of finding a home; from children who have experienced family violence in their home, to new parents who are just learning how to create a nurturing home for their children.

The Australian Human Rights Commission launched 'Conversations in Gender Equality' on International Women’s day. Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Kate Jenkins, consulted with more 1000 people from every state and territory in Australia to build a comprehensive picture of women’s experiences of gender inequality Participants in the consultation come from a diverse range of communities and with a variety of life experiences. Key themes discussed include negative attitudes and everyday sexism, women’s economic security, violence against women, and living in rural, regional and remote areas. The report aims to raise awareness of gender inequality throughout Australia and to shed light on the everyday struggles women experience across many life domains.

A familiar face: Violence in the lives of children and adolescents

Family Violence

Close to three-quarters of the world’s children aged two to four years old experience physical or verbal violence, or both, by their caregivers at home, according to a new UNICEF report. The report sheds light on four specific forms of violence: violent discipline and exposure to domestic abuse during early childhood; violence at school; violent deaths among adolescents; and sexual violence in childhood and adolescence. The research found that as many as 15 million girls worldwide aged 15 to 19 years old have been raped or sexually assaulted in their lifetime. It is recommended that a national approach to preventing violence against children should address systemic societal beliefs and attitudes that perpetuate the problem, in any setting, including in the home, school, and community.

A National System for Domestic and Family Violence Death Review

Family Violence, Child maltreatment

This report identifies the steps needed to expand domestic and family death review mechanisms to all Australian jurisdictions and ensure that recommendations made to Federal Government agencies in death review processes are actioned.

A team effort: Preventing violence against women through sport

Family Violence

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.

Alcohol/Drug-Involved Family Violence in Australia: Final report

Family Violence, Alcohol and Other Drugs

Alcohol/Drug-Involved Family Violence in Australia (ADIVA) has set out to investigate the links between family violence and alcohol and other drug (AOD) use in Australia. It draws on data from an Australia wide personal safety survey and police attendance data. Findings show that alcohol was involved in 29% of family violence incidences, and that 12% of family violence incidents were drug-related. Significant challenges include the intergenerational nature of the cycle of violence, and the impact of trauma on children. The paper makes recommendations that would address AOD use in repeat offenders.

Annual alcohol poll 2017: Attitudes and behaviours

Family Violence, Alcohol and Other Drugs

This report by The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education summarises findings of the 2017 nation-wide survey that explored community attitudes towards alcohol. For the first time, Australians were asked in 2017 if they thought there was a link between alcohol and family violence. Ninety-two percent of Australians believe that there is a link between the two, and 80% indicate that they think governments should be doing more to address the role that alcohol plays in family violence.

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

Early years, Family Violence, Young People

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.

This resource sheet presents a snapshot of data describing child protection activity in Australia. It looks at the figures from each state and territory, including the number of investigated and substantiated reports of harm, the most common types of substantiated reports, and characteristics of children who are the subjects of reports.

This resource sheet provides an overview of the statistics on child deaths resulting from abuse and neglect, and information on the recording of child deaths in Australia. In 2015-16 in Victoria, the Department of Health and Human Services referred 38 cases of children (an increase of 59% from the previous year) who had died and were known to child protection up to 12 months before their death to the commission for inquiry. Common causes of death included non-accidental trauma and self-harm.

This updated resource sheet provides a snapshot of the rates of involvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in child protection and out-of-home care. In Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are almost seven times more likely than non-Indigenous children to be the subject of substantiated reports of harm or risk of harm. Further, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are 9.8 times more likely than non-Indigenous children to be in out-of-home care. The experience of poverty, assimilation policies, intergenerational trauma and discrimination is discussed in relation to the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the Child protection system.

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.

The latest issue of Children Australia includes a range of articles about social work practice and children experiencing vulnerability, including articles about the leadership of young people in family violence prevention, the engagement of refugee families in early childhood services, and the therapeutic supports required for child to recover from family violence.

Monash University’s Gender and Family Violence Program has produced a research brief on the topic of coercive control. This briefing paper brings together research regarding coercive control to support prevention and intervention efforts. Coercive control is understood as a gendered pattern of behaviour using the tactics of intimidation, control and degradation to take away the victim’s freedom. This paper offers brief recommendations for practice as these relate to police and criminal justice responses.

Community Based Prevention of Violence Against Women and Their Children: A Toolkit for Practitioners

Family Violence

Ourwatch has launched an evidence-based toolkit for practitioners and community service organisations to engage their community to prevent violence against women. It addresses the gendered drivers of violence against women and provides a suite of strategies to help practitioners respond to them. The toolkit encourages a tailored approach to prevention that is community driven and specific.

Doing good business: A resource for researchers about conducting research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children about family violence.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Family Violence

This research tool, prepared by staff at the ACU Institute of Child Protection Studies (ICPS) is designed for people who may be interested in funding or conducting research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children on the topic of family violence. Its guidance is informed by the views of Indigenous researchers, research ethics committee members, Elders and senior community members, service providers, parents and young people from remote, rural, regional and urban Australia.

A new report published by ANROWS examines the impact of inter-parental conflict (IPC) and domestic and family violence (DFV) on parenting and parent–child relationships. The report shows that emotional abuse is a serious issue in family breakdowns, and those women at the more extreme end of family violence are experiencing multiple and overlapping types of abuse, including emotional, physical, sexual and financial abuse. The report also found a relationship between the presence of family violence and parenting capacity, satisfaction with parent-child relationships, and child wellbeing. The report concludes with key recommendations to improve policy and practice.

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

Family Violence

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.

Economic Abuse between Intimate Partners in Australia: Prevalence, Health Status, Disability and Financial Stress

Family Violence, Safety and wellbeing, low income

Economic abuse is a form of domestic violence that has a significant impact on the health and financial wellbeing of victims. However, economic abuse between intimate partners remains a largely under-researched topic in Australia. This study aims to provide a national picture of the prevalence of economic abuse within the general population by determining the prevalence by age and gender, and identifying associated risk factors. The study found financial stress and disability to be significant indicators of economic abuse in the home.

Effectively engaging stakeholders and the public in developing violence prevention messages

Family Violence, Evidence Informed Practice

This study explores the ways in which stakeholders and the wider public can be effectively engaged when developing and communicating violence prevention messages. It emphasises the need for clear and consistent messaging, and evidence informed approach informed by past experiences.

Emerging evidence, insights and lessons: News media and the primary prevention of violence against women and their children

Family Violence

This report from Our Watch explores the role that media can play in preventing violence against women and children. It highlights the link between media reporting and community attitudes towards violence against women, and the tendency for news media to blame victims. The report suggests a number of practices that could improve the situation for women and children, including training for journalists and students and cross sector collaboration.

Fathers who use violence: Options for safe practice where there is ongoing contact with children

Families and parenting, Family Violence, Safety and wellbeing

In situations of family violence, women and children are not always in a position to separate from an abusive partner. Separation itself may cause increased violence, homelessness or poverty. This paper explores strategies for working with families where fathers who use violence continue to have contact with the children. Whole of family approaches that engage each member of the family are discussed as having an important role to play in promoting the wellbeing and safety of all involved.

Free from Violence: Victoria’s Strategy to prevent family violence

Family Violence, Safety and wellbeing, Evidence-Based Program

The Victorian Government has launched the next step to build a state free from violence, with the release of a Primary Prevention Strategy as part of the Family Violence Rolling Action Plan. The strategy focuses on the social structures, norms and practices that prevent or reduce the risk of violence. The strategy outlines a plan to develop more evidence-based programs and to establish the first Victorian Prevention Agency.

These publications from the Department of Health and Human Services share the complexities of work with children, youth and families and some of the innovative practice approaches being used to address them. This is an annual publication shining a spotlight on examples of good practice and the variety of practice approaches available.

Hospitalised assault injuries among women and girls: fact sheet

Family Violence, Safety and wellbeing

This fact sheet examines cases of hospitalised assault perpetrated against women in the period 2013–14. Women aged 15-19 and 50-54 years experienced the highest rates of assault. Fifty-nine percent of all these women were assaulted by bodily force. Where information about the perpetrator was available, a spouse or domestic partner was the most commonly reported perpetrator, evident in 59% of cases.

Identifying the key components of a ‘whole family’ intervention for families experiencing domestic violence and abuse

Families and parenting, Family Violence, Safety and wellbeing

This article in the Journal of Gender-Based Violence outlines the shift in knowledge and practice that is driving new approaches to domestic violence and abuse. As the name implies, whole family approaches aim to engage with all family members living with domestic violence rather than focusing only on women as victims. This article describes findings from an evaluation of a pilot in one town in Northern England over 18 months. The pilot shows how, in a children’s social care setting, where additional resources and organisational support are made available, practice can be shifted away from a blaming approach to one that emphasises the potential for recovery and change for all family members. The article is available free of charge until the end of June.

This Kids Helpline Australia report outlines the issues affecting children and young people in Australia. In 2016, counsellors responded to over 3,400 contacts each week from children and young people seeking information, support or counselling. The impact of technology continues to create innovation but also concerns about safety. There has been a 151% growth in young people using WebChat over five years.

Long ignored, adolescent family violence needs our attention

Family Violence

This short article discusses the detrimental effects that adolescent family violence has on the health and wellbeing of families. Adolescent family violence is distinct because it is violence perpetrated by young people against family members, and can carry and stigma and shame with it. It is a complex form of family violence and, to date, has had limited research in the Australian context.

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

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

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.

Out of the shadows: What’s next in transforming the Victorian family violence sector?

Family Violence, Safety and wellbeing

Tanya Corrie, of Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand, discusses the Victorian government’s commitment to eliminating violence against women in Victoria in light of the state budget. This opinion piece provides a summary of the areas that the government will target spending. Corrie applauds the focus on prevention and early intervention, and suggests that Victoria’s family violence reform could be an example for other states.

The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Personal Safety Survey (PSS) reveals falling rates of violence between 2005 - 2016. The PSS collects in-depth information about men’s and women’s experience of violence by a partner since the age of 15. The survey data shows women were nearly three times more likely to have experienced partner violence than men, with approximately 17% of women and 6.1% of men having experienced partner violence since the age of 15.

Predominant Aggressor Identification and Victim Misidentification

Family Violence

This discussion paper from No To Violence highlights the need for all parts of the family violence intervention system to bring greater attention to the complexities of family violence perpetrators, their behaviours, motives, and presentations to more effectively identify, assess and manage risk. Additionally, it explores the impact incident-based understandings of family violence can have on predominant aggressor assessments and victim misidentification.

Design, Implement, Evaluate

Presentation @ OPEN Symposium 2019 – Group work for women to heal and find viable alternatives to violence

Family Violence, OPEN Symposium 2019

Paula Anderson (Baptcare) and Margaret Kertesz (University of Melbourne) discuss the development of the +SHIFT group work program for women using force against their intimate partners and children – a challenging issue given the complex trauma histories of these women. The program uses a “healing place” approach to support women to reflect on how violence has influenced their parenting strategies and the wellbeing of their children. Formative data indicates that participants recognise how use of force has negatively impacted their parenting, mother/child relationships and family functioning.

Evaluate

Presentation @ OPEN Symposium 2019 – Developing a health, wellbeing and safety evaluation framework for Aboriginal Victorians

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Family Violence, Safety and wellbeing, OPEN Symposium 2019

In this presentation, Gabrielle Johnson (VACCA) and Prof. Margaret Kelaher (University of Melbourne) discuss their development of an Aboriginal-led, Aboriginal health, wellbeing and safety evaluation framework on behalf of the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The framework foregrounds Aboriginal-defined measures of success for family violence, health, wellbeing and child safety – which align strongly with the principle of self-determination. The inclusion of Aboriginal voices in the development this framework means that the priorities of Aboriginal people will be addressed in forthcoming evaluations.

Design, Implement, Evaluate

Presentation @ OPEN Symposium 2019 – Keeping Safe Together: Children seen and heard

Family Violence, OPEN Symposium 2019

In this presentation, Anneliese Spiteri-Staines (University of Melbourne) and Patrizia Favorito (Women's Health West) discussed the development and evaluation of the Keeping Safe Together program, which focuses on families effected by domestic and family violence that are still living together or in regular contact. In this pilot program, everyone in the family is eligible for a service and is supported: mother, father, and the children.

Presentation @ OPEN Symposium 2019 – The STACY project: Keeping children visible working with parental mental health and substance misuse in the context of family violence

Families and parenting, Family Violence, Mental Health, OPEN Symposium 2019

Lucy Healey (University of Melbourne) and Rosie Carr (Uniting ReGen) discuss The STACY Project, which focuses on improving collaborative working with families living with family violence, where children’s wellbeing is impacted by intersecting parental issues of mental health and substance misuse. It utilises the Safe & Together™ Model to work with all family members, including child and adult victim/survivors and perpetrators. This project revealed the challenge of keeping the focus of care on both the children’s needs and on the family violence occurring.

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

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD), Family Violence

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.

Prioritising safety at home report: 2017 survey results about domestic violence and renting in NSW

Family Violence

Women’s Legal Services NSW (WLSNSW) has recently released the Prioritising Safety at Home report which details experiences of domestic violence and renting in NSW from a 2017 WLSNSW survey. Drawing on data from the survey, the report’s authors argue that tenancy laws in NSW need to better support people experiencing domestic violence. Indeed, the report showed that 98% of participants had to leave their rental home because of domestic violence, and over half did not report the violence to the police.

Seeking help for domestic violence: exploring rural women’s coping experiences – Key findings and future directions

Family Violence

Australia's National Research Organisation For Women's Safety (ANROWS) has released a report presenting the results of a study examining the experiences of women seeking assistance for domestic and family violence in regional, rural, and remote areas in Australia. The qualitative study found that geographical isolation was only a factor for women who lived on isolated properties outside the regional centre. However, geographical isolation was identified as a key challenge for family violence practitioners, as it significantly shaped an agency’s ability to respond.

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

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.

Swift, certain and fair approaches to sentencing family violence offenders

Family Violence

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

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 Case for Investing In Last Resort Housing

Family Violence, Poverty

An Australian study undertaken by the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute (MSSI) has found that it is more cost effective to provide last resort housing to homeless people than allowing them to sleep rough. This is largely through reduced healthcare costs, reduced crime, and assisting people to get back into employment and education. The research includes a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis which finds that for every $1 invested in last resort beds, $2.70 worth of benefits are generated for the community over 20 years. The paper calls for Australian governments to build more new and permanent last resort housing to assist people experiencing homelessness.

The management of disclosure in children’s accounts of domestic violence: Practices of telling and not telling

Family Violence

This paper considers the reflections of children and young people on their experiences of disclosing domestic violence. It draws from interviews with 107 children and young people across Greece, Italy, Spain and the UK. The accounts included in the report highlight the constraints placed on children and young people’s capacity for articulation and self-expression, and the creative ways that they have been able to disclose what is happening within their families. Importantly, it emphasises children’s capacity for agency in situations of domestic violence.

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.

Violence against Women in Australia: An Overview of Research and Approaches to Primary Prevention

Family Violence, Safety and wellbeing

VicHealth has released a paper synthesising the most up-to-date research examining violence against women in Australia and its prevention. It presents data relating to the prevalence of violence against women, the related health, social and economic repercussions, and contemporary responses to violence against women. The paper is strongly focused on the evidence relating to primary prevention with examples of promising approaches.

Women’s specialist domestic and family violence services: Their responses and practices with and for Aboriginal women

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Family Violence

This report presents research undertaken with three women’s Domestic and Family Violence (DFV) specialist services. The focus is on the ways services respond to the culturally and context specific needs of Aboriginal women. It also explores how Indigenous women themselves (as workers, clients and community members) have acted to shape and influence the approaches of women’s specialist services. The review found no single voice among Aboriginal activists and academics, however, there is a recognisable appreciation for the vital role Aboriginal people have to play in leading or supporting new services for Aboriginal people.