Join the conversation - Fathers who use violence

Join the conversation - Fathers who use violence

6 July 2017

This webinar explored options for working with families where fathers who use violence continue to have extensive contact with children.

Please post your comments and questions below.

This webinar outlined emerging practices, with a focus on the developing area of "whole of family" approaches. A range of strategies to address the needs and safety of women and children who continue to have contact with fathers who use violence were also explored.

A full recording of this webinar is available on our YouTube Channel.

The audio, transcript and presentation slides are also available.

Related resources


thank you for this webinar. I am in NSW and a C&FHN (MCHN) in a rural environment and resources are limited to deal with family violence. I have found that when police attend they slap on an AVO and that's it. There are times when AVO's are supposedly in place and the women ends up pregnant again and they assure me they were not forced. It just shows me that more needs to be done with the whole family relationship than just banning the perpetrator
Thanks to CFCA for the interesting webinar. The topic is pertinent for me as a provider of FDR and Family Group Conferencing, and in teaching social work. My practice experience has been that parents often underestimate the effect on children of exposure to DV. It is common for parents to say that if children are not physically present during an incident, they are not 'exposed' to violence. And I would agree with the comments about the potential for restorative justice approaches to disadvantage Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander women, in narratively constructing them more as members of an Indigenous Australian community and less as individual holders of rights.
Much of the webinar was interesting, thank you. I'm concerned that Child Protection services tend to think that a plan is an outcome. With this in mind their usual plan for separation with 'advising or directing' the non offending parent to seek an IVO or FLC order whilst they close is just that, a plan. This is reminiscent to what the police used to do almost 5 years ago when attending a DFV incident e.g. "sorry can't do anything you need an IVO". Police now take out safety notices and follow through IVO's. Where children have contact with their fathers the mother is often deemed to be not protective and is allowing the contact. Veiled threats as to what CP Departments will do tend to be rolled out. I think that where CP Departments have sufficient concern to 'advise or directing' the non offending parent to seek an IVO or FLC order, then they should take the mater to the children court for an appropriate order to support their plan. What are you thoughts on this?
Thank you for the overview of approaches - really reinforces the ongoing plea that every professional needs to understand gendered violence, that limited funding rounds interfere with retaining experienced practitioners, and that children in families need to be both acknowledged and their needs responded to.
An interesting and useful webinar which lifted the blame from victims and focused on the psychological makeup of the perpetrator. Other types of family violence cause on going and increasing distress for children and mothers pre- separation, process and during the separation post separation. For example financial sabotage, property destruction, burglary. This behaviour packs additional punch further sapping the energy and adding to the emotional load for mothers who continue to attempt to rebuild emotional attachments with child victims. There are no effective legal redress for this type of abuse.The legal sector is way behind the research. Perpetrators adopt subtle but deadly terrorism against the people they should but cannot love. More funding is required and should be extended to private practitioners to increase clients' access to a variety of interventions. Many services are delivered via poorly trained staff, well meaning, over worked and under paid community workers. This is due to the funding structure where NFPs pop up with supposed august programs , some using manuals which clients work through, or other interventions with scant empirical support. Tired and exhausted people are impaired book learners. The interventions must be based on firm theoretical under pinning where the families unique needs are addressed in the treatment. Well trained professionals are poised to apply such interventions.
Thanks everyone for your comments and questions. Cathy and Monica will respond soon.
Ken Knight
Hello.... I am finding in my work (Child Protection) that if I delay referrals to FDV services and just focus on parenting or something generic that the families are more opening to attending general type individual counselling which has been successful in the victim/survivor leaving the relationship...this of course against the grain within child protection? What are your thoughts? And your thoughts on Qld CP taking FDV specialists to family homes during the investigation and assessment period?
CP worker
Hi Rhonda, thanks for your comments. There are many reasons why women don’t leave abusive relationships, and for why they may return to abusive relationships, as outlined in our webinar and paper. Approaches that focus the perpetrator behaviour, while supporting and creating alliances with the victim ,such as the Safe and Together model ( can overcome the tendency to focus on victim behaviour/responses. For example, this model ensures that fathers who are perpetrators will be held to the same standard of parenting expectations as mothers. 
Monica and Cathy
Hi Cecilia, thanks for your comment and great to hear that you found the webinar informative. Getting both parents and service systems to understand the impact of family violence on children can be a challenge. Interesting to hear your thoughts on restorative justice and Indigenous women. As Cathy mentioned in the webinar there is some interest from the Aboriginal community in this approach – see Nancarrow, H. (2006). In search of justice for domestic and family violence: Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian women’s perspectives. Theoretical Criminology, 10(1), for a more in depth look at justice issues.
Monica and Cathy
Hi Jim, thanks for your question. Child protection work does appear to remain firmly focused on separation as the most viable safety strategy for children, with the strong expectation that women will leave violent men. As we outlined in our presentation and paper, many women are not in a position to separate or maintain a separation – even with court support, IVO and/or FLC. While child protection work remains focused on mothers as protectors, paradoxically, there is often no involvement of child protection workers to help manage safe contact if women take the step to separate. As we argue in our paper, a very narrow view of safety equated to separation, rather than working directly with men or supporting women to manage ongoing risks to children. Approaches that focus on the perpetrator behaviour, while supporting and creating alliances with the victim - such as the Safe and Together model ( - can overcome the tendency to focus on victim behaviour/responses.
Monica and Cathy
Hi Psychotherapist, thanks for your insightful comments. Yes , we would agree that workforce training is crucial in this area...
Monica and Cathy

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