Funded by Family Safety Victoria (FSV) and in consultation with Domestic Violence Victoria, the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare is leading an initiative aimed at identifying, translating and embedding the best available research and practice expertise to build the evidence base in relation to adolescents who use violence in the home.

Studies show that children and adolescents who use violence in the home are often themselves victims or witnesses of family violence or child abuse. Adverse childhood experiences, mental health problems, disability, learning difficulties, and problematic substance use can also contribute to use of violence. When these situations reach crisis point, police and legal interventions are often necessary. However, this line of response represents a critical missed opportunity for services to intervene early with developmentally appropriate, therapeutic approaches.

The Centre and FSV recently co-hosted a symposium that brought together peak bodies, sector leaders, academics and government stakeholders to better understand the nature of this issue and how we can respond earlier to support young people and families.

This event was held in Melbourne’s State Library. You can view a photo gallery from the symposium here. A number of these presentations have been recorded and have been made available for you to view.



Professor Cathy Humphreys – University of Melbourne

Opening Address

Annette Lancy, Acting CEO of Family Safety Victoria

Setting the Policy Scene

Deb Tsorbaris, Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare – Towards Common Ground

Elena Campbell, Centre for Innovative Justice – Legal responses to adolescent violence in the home – doing more harm than good?

Dr. Kate Fitz-Gibbon and Associate Professor Silke Meyer, Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre – The experiences of young people and mothers affected by adolescent and intimate partner violence in the home

Evidence-informed and promising practice

Larisa Freiverts, Anglicare – Responding effectively to families impacted by adolescent to parent violence

Karen Field, drummond street services – Addressing Adolescent Violence in the Home: An Integrated Service Response

Susana Dudas e Silva, Domestic Violence Crisis Service (Canberra) – Young People’s Outreach Program (YPOP)

Deb Berg & Gregory Sloan, Mallee District Aboriginal Service (MDAS) – Adolescent Family Violence Program

Kristen Meyer, Women’s Health West – Centring the child’s experience in counselling “post” family violence: Using Creative Therapy with 0-17 year olds

William Wainwright & Kylie Williams, OzChild – Multisystemic Therapy (MST)

Peninsula Health, Ballarat CAFS, Barwon Child, Youth & Family Services and Sexual Abuse & Family Violence Centre – Implementation of AFV program across three sites

Tania Hancock & Crystal Milesevic, Quantum Support Services – Adolescent Building Connections (ABC) Program: A respectful relationships program

Travis Harries, Deakin University – Age Expansion and Evaluation of the Step Up, Building Healthy Relationships program (poster presentation)

From the young person’s perspective

David Burck, University of Qld – Knowing that they hurt their mum is really hard: Preliminary themes from young people using AVITH

Liana Buchanan, Principal Commissioner for Children and Young People – Action on adolescent family violence: in everyone’s interest

Vicky Baker, University of Central Lancashire – Adolescent-to-parent violence and abuse: The experiences and perceptions of young people

The role of other sectors

Karen Dimmock, Association for Children with a Disability – When disability is a factor in adolescent behaviour

Kyra Low, Department of Justice and Community Safety – Addressing adolescent family violence during involvement with Youth Justice

Michael Keane & Vicki Quinton, Royal Children’s Hospital – Gatehouse Centre – REFOCUS Program: A program for children & adolescents who exhibit problematic and harmful sexual behaviour and their families

Malia Dewse & Tania Last, Department of Education and Training (DET) – Earlier identification and improved intervention: New opportunities in the education system to support adolescents using family violence

Emma Morgan, Domestic Violence Victoria (DV Vic) & Tamara White, Centre for Family Research & Evaluation (CFRE)Every Opportunity for Change: ​Improving Outcomes for Children and Young People Experiencing and/or Using Violence in their Interpersonal Relationships​

Senior Sergeant Dagmar Andersen & Narelle Goodland, Victoria Police – Police strategy and training in response to adolescent violence in the home

Panel session

How do we work together to intervene earlier?

Facilitated by Marcia Neave AO, Former Commissioner – RCFV

Dean McWhirter, Assistant Commissioner – Victoria Police

Anita Morris, Principal Practitioner – DHHS

Alison MacDonald, Acting CEO – Domestic Violence Victoria

Leeanne Anthony, Manager Recovery and Healing – Family Safety Victoria


Find out more

Click here to find out more about other work the Centre is doing in relation to adolescent violence in the home. For further queries, please contact Michele Lonsdale at