May 8, 2024
12:00pm - 1:00 pm

This webinar addresses a challenging area of practice: when Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a contributing factor in a young person’s use of violence in the home.

Audience: Frontline staff, researchers and policymakers
Cost: Free

FASD is a neurodevelopmental condition affecting a young person’s development, behaviour and learning, and can have life-long impacts. As many presenting signs overlap with complex trauma or other neurodevelopmental conditions, it remains largely undiagnosed or misidentified. This can have serious repercussions, including in the justice system, if not adequately addressed. FASD is an increasingly significant area of concern for children in Out of Home Care (OoHC).  Standard interventions on their own will not adequately address the challenges faced by young people with FASD.[1]

About this webinar

Professor Anita Gibbs of the University of Otago, NZ, has been researching this topic for some time. As the adoptive mother of two young men, one with a confirmed diagnosis of FASD, and both living with additional neurodivergent dis/abilities, she also has lived experience. Professor Gibbs will share some of her recent academic research on this topic and some insights into living with violent outbursts and meltdowns.
Professor Gibbs brings a strengths-based, social model approach to this discussion about ‘disability’; it is when people, systems and structures fail or refuse to accommodate difference that a person’s experience becomes disabling. She also advocates for a disability rights framework, which challenges every system to ensure that those who are particularly vulnerable are given the means to participate fairly and equitably alongside their peers without disability.

For more info about this webinar, or the AVITH in Context series, please contact or

About the speaker

Professor Anita Gibbs trained as a social worker in the UK, completed her PhD at the University of Bristol and undertook post-doctoral work at the University of Oxford. Professor Gibbs has taught social work, sociology, and criminology courses at the University of Otago in Aotearoa New Zealand for the last 25 years. Anita is a registered social worker and has a special interest in the area of families and FASD. Her research studies have included adoption, transcultural parenting, mental health, criminal justice, and FASD and other complex dis/abilities.

Professor Gibbs seeks to identify best practice in helping families and best evidence for professionals in their interventions with families. She also facilitates parent support groups and training for families living with FASD, including collaborating with NOFASD Australia in the development and delivery of the successful Families Linking with Families support group program.


Gibbs, A. (2024). ‘No one believed us: no one came to help’: Caregivers’ experiences of violence and abuse involving children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1002/anzf.1575

 Gibbs, A., Wei, J., Gilmour, F., Dougherty, J., Bond, P., Bohn, S., Biggs, L., & Rakuita, T. (Eds.). (2023). Proceedings of the Sociology, Gender Studies & Criminology and Social & Community Work Postgraduate Symposium VII. Dunedin, New Zealand: Sociology, Gender Studies and Criminology Programme, University of Otago. 44p.

 Gibbs, A., Flanagan, J., & Gray, L. (2023). An Australian online training and support program for caregivers of children and youth with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder: Families linking with families. Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability, 2271757. Advance online publication. doi: 10.3109/13668250.2023.2271757

Gibbs, A. (2023). Living in the fire: The impacts of child and adolescent to parent violence and abuse on caregivers of children with fetal alcohol spectrum. Drug & Alcohol Review, 42(Suppl. 1), 64. doi: 10.1111/dar.13749

 Milne, K., Henderson, L., Gibbs, A., Johnston, T., & Chu, J. T. W. (2023, October). Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder: What is needed to enable tertiary students to achieve. Workshop presentation at the Neuroability Symposium, Dunedin, New Zealand.


[1] See, for example, the report written by Prue Walker, FASD Consultant, in 2024. For more information, refer 

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