Our second presentation “From interviews to impact: Strengthening support for children who lost a parent due to domestic homicide” featured Kathryn Joy and Professor Eva Alisic from the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health at the University of Melbourne. Their team have been researching ways to improve support for children and young people who have lost a parent due to domestic homicide. Their current project is designed, conducted and disseminated in close collaboration with people with lived experience. Kathryn, who lost their mother at a young age, brought a unique lived experience perspective to their research and activism in the domains of domestic violence, social justice, and climate justice.

Access the recording here!

Key Messages: 

  1. Building Trust and Relationships: The conversation highlighted the importance of building trust and strong relationships when working with children and young people who have experienced trauma. “Moving at the speed of trust” was identified as fundamental for meaningful participation and collaboration.
  2. Lifelong Impact: The research findings emphasised that the impact of domestic homicide on children is a lifelong journey, requiring long-term support that evolves as the child’s needs change over time.
  3. Individual Perspectives: The research underscored that each child’s experience is unique, and their perspectives and needs should be treated individually. Children may have different preferences and desires, and caregivers also need support to cope with their emotions and caregiving responsibilities.
  4. Importance of Child-Centred Approaches: Children should be involved in decision-making about their lives, especially in situations involving domestic violence and loss of a parent. Recognising children’s rights and providing them with a voice is crucial for better outcomes

Why is this relevant to the sector?

By shedding light on the experiences of children who have lost a parent due to domestic homicide, the presentation emphasised the significance of adopting child-centered approaches, building trust, and acknowledging the lifelong impact of traumatic experiences. By prioritising children’s perspectives and involving them in decisions about their lives, professionals can provide more effective and empathetic support, ultimately minimising future harm and promoting healing and wellbeing for these vulnerable children and young people. Resources – Melbourne School of Population and Global Health


Kathryn Joy

Kathryn (they/them) lost their mother at the hands of their father when they were just a few months old. Kathryn has engaged in Social Work studies and is an experienced activist in the domains of domestic violence, social justice and climate justice. They have been a co-investigator on research regarding domestic homicide for several years. They are also deeply involved in the creation of the documentary KILLJOY, directed/produced by Vincent Lamberti and Lisa Albert, which will be released in 2024.

Professor Eva Alisic

Professor Eva Alisic is based at the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health (University of Melbourne). She studies how young people and families deal with traumatic experiences and disadvantage, with the aim of strengthening support and services. Since 2010, she has led a program of research regarding the impact of domestic homicide, first in the Netherlands and currently in Australia.

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