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.
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
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
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
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
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.
Amplify report: Turning up the volume on young people and family violence
Melbourne City Mission has released this report examining the policy and service gaps for young people experiencing family violence in Victoria. A key finding of the study is that young people’s ways of managing their safety are often misunderstood and seen as problematic instead of being recognised as protective. The report makes 20 recommendations.
Annual alcohol poll 2017: Attitudes and behaviours
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
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.
Australian country report – “Never waste a crisis”: Domestic and family violence policy and practice initiatives in response to COVID-19
Australia’s Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) and the University of Melbourne have released this Australian country report, one of four country reports as part of the DAHLIA-19 study, examining prevention strategies and responses to domestic and family violence during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic and up until June 2021. The study found evidence that policy and funding strategies resulted in increased collaboration and communication, more multiagency working, leveraging of existing relationships and more efficient decision-making processes.
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.
Child Protection and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children
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.
Children and Families Evidence: Findings from Six Evidence Gap Maps
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
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.
Critical interpretive synthesis: Child protection involvement for families with domestic and family violence, alcohol and other drug issues, and mental health issues
This report by Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) explores the occurrence, overlap or interrelationships between domestic and family violence, alcohol and other drug issues and mental health issues in Australian families involved in the child protection system. A critical interpretive synthesis of the academic and grey literature found significant weaknesses in the evidence base. The study concluded that further research is needed to understand these interactions in the Australian context.
Data snapshot – Child witnesses of family violence: An examination of Victoria Police family violence data
This report from the Crime Statistics Agency examines the prevalence and outcomes of witnessing family violence for children aged 0-17 in Victoria. It found that over a five-year-period in Victoria, 109,356 family violence incidents occurred with at least one child witness present. Of those child witnesses, over two-thirds were aged 9 years or younger. In 2018-19, over a third of incidents took place in the lowest ranking socio-economic areas in Victoria.
Do violent teens become violent adults? Links between juvenile and adult domestic and family violence
This paper from the Australian Institute of Criminology examines the offending pathways of 8,465 young people aged 13-17 who had been proceeded against for at least one juvenile offence. The study followed these young people until age 23 and found that young people who had been proceeded against for at least one domestic and family violence (DFV) offence were much more likely than other offenders to become adult DFV offenders and that they reoffended more frequently.
Doing good business: A resource for researchers about conducting research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children about 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Improving family violence legal and support services for Indigenous women
This research project identifies priorities for reducing and preventing violence against, and improving services for, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in the Victorian and New South Wales towns of Mildura and Albury–Wodonga. It examines the capabilities of frontline family violence services, both Aboriginal-controlled and non-Indigenous, with regard to improving the safety of women and children experiencing violence. The cross-border context of these locations enabled investigation of cross-jurisdictional issues.
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.
Links between alcohol consumption and domestic and sexual violence against women: Key findings and future directions
This ANROWS report synthesises the existing evidence relating to the nature and function of alcohol in the perpetration of sexual assault, family violence and violence against women. Though the literature shows a consistent link between alcohol use and violence against women, research evidence does not demonstrate alcohol to be its primary cause. Alcohol use is linked to the perpetration of violence against women, as well as being used as a coping strategy by women who have experienced violence. This policy paper provides recommendations for policies, programs, and practice, including greater collaboration between agencies responding to family violence and those responding to alcohol abuse.
Listening to the Voices of Children and Young People Harmed by Fathers Who Choose Violence: An interview with Professor Cathy Humphreys and Dr. Katie Lamb
This episode from the Partnered with a Survivor podcast, features an interview with Professor Cathy Humphreys and Dr. Katie Lamb from the University of Melbourne about their participatory research with children and young people who have experienced family violence from their fathers. This episode features their reflections as researchers, and also shares one of the digital stories developed by a young person as part of this project.
Long ignored, adolescent family violence needs our attention
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
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.
Migrant and refugee women in Australia: The safety and security study
The Harmony Alliance and Monash University have released this report investigating migrant and refugee women’s safety with a focus on family violence, help-seeking and trust in institutions, and employment. Survey data from 1,392 migrant and refugee women across Australia shows that 33 per cent of respondents had experienced family violence, and among respondents who were employed in 2019, 10 per cent lost their jobs due to COVID-19. The report includes implications for policy and practice.
Nowhere to go: The benefits of providing long-term social housing to women that have experienced domestic and family violence
This report examines the intersections between family violence, housing, and homelessness. The report estimates that each year around 7,690 women are returning to a violent partner due to a lack of affordable housing and around 9,120 women are becoming homeless after leaving their home due to family violence. It concludes that an additional 16,810 social housing properties are needed to address this issue.
OPEN Event Review – Unpacking the Invisible: examining domestic and family violence in culturally diverse communities
This event review, completed by OPEN, highlights the key insights from this event hosted by Settlement Services International (SSI) in November 2020. It featured a panel discussion on unpacking the invisible struggles of domestic violence victims within our migrant and refugee communities. The panel was made up of preeminent representatives and advocates and identified areas of persistent concern which have been further exacerbated by COVID.
OPEN Rapid Case Study-Service Integration Program-Jewish Care
This rapid case study showcases the work of the Service Coordination Program at Jewish Care, an ethno-specific organisation. The program uses culturally aware and trauma-informed support to cater to the diverse needs Jewish community members (generally under 65 years old) experiencing social and/or structural disadvantage.
Out of the shadows: What’s next in transforming the Victorian family violence sector?
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.
Presentation @ OPEN Symposium 2019 – Group work for women to heal and find viable alternatives to violence
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.
Presentation @ OPEN Symposium 2019 – Developing a health, wellbeing and safety evaluation framework for Aboriginal Victorians
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.
Presentation @ OPEN Symposium 2019 – Keeping Safe Together: Children seen and heard
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
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
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
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.
Remote data collection on violence against children during COVID-19: A conversation with experts on research priorities, measurement and ethics (Part 2)
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.