Domestic violence and child abuse and neglect

The latest material added to the Australian Institute of Family Studies library database is displayed, up to a maximum of 30 items. Where available online, a link to the document is provided. Many items can be borrowed from the Institute's library via the Interlibrary loan system.

See more resources on Domestic violence and child abuse and neglect in the AIFS library catalogue

Intimate partner violence and child outcomes at age 10 : a pregnancy cohort.

Gartland D, Conway L, Giallo R, Mensah F, Cook F, Hegarty K, Herrman H, Nicholson J, Reilly S, Hiscock H, Sciberras E and Brown S
Archives of Disease in Childhood 21 Apr 2021: Advance online publication
This article looks into the long term effect of family violence on children. It examines the health and wellbeing of a cohort of ten year old children from Victoria, comparing outcomes among those exposed to intimate partner violence in infancy, in early childhood, or during childhood. It finds children exposed to intimate partner violence at any time during their childhood were twice as likely to have poorer language skills and mental and physical health, while children exposed to intimate partner violence in the year they turned 10 were also two to three times more likely to experience poor mental health, elevated blood pressure and sleep difficulties. Outcomes investigated included physical health, asthma, blood pressure, sleep problems, mental illness, anxiety, emotional/behavioural difficulties, cognition and executive function, and language skills.

Child witnesses of family violence: an examination of Victoria Police family violence data

Phillips B and McGuinness C
Melbourne : Crime Statistics Agency, 2021.
Research shows that children who witness violence are an important subset of those affected by family violence, but little is known about the prevalence and characteristics of these children in Victoria. This paper helps to address this gap with a first look at data collected by Victoria Police at family incidents. It analyses data from the Law Enforcement Assistance Program (LEAP) as of 18 July 2019, regarding the prevalence of family violence involving child witnesses, age and gender, types of violence witnessed, age and gender and relationship of those involved in the incident, and whether incidents vary between major cities and regional/remote areas, between whether children are present, and whether the couple have children. It also looks at whether child witnesses were later recorded by police as being a future witness, victim, or offender in a crime or a protected person under an intervention order. The study found that most incidents witnessed by children occurred between intimate partners, with nearly two-thirds the children being aged 9 or younger.

Trajectories of interparental conflict and children's emotional-behavioural functioning at 10-11 years : an Australian population-based study.

Giallo R, Seymour M, Fogarty A, Feinberg M, Christensen D, Gartland D, Wood C, Brown S and Cooklin A
European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 5 Jan 2021: Advance online publication
This article investigates the impact of interparental conflict on children's emotional-behavioural functioning, with a focus on the impact of different levels of severity, duration, and patterns of conflict. Data is taken from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, for children from birth to 10-11 years of age. The findings suggest that children do not get used to repeated exposure to interparental conflict over time. Children exposed to high levels of conflict at any age had more difficulties with emotional-behavioural functioning than children with consistently low exposure, and children exposed to escalating levels of conflict experienced increased emotional-behavioural difficulties.

Children's language abilities at age 10 and exposure to intimate partner violence in early childhood : results of an Australian prospective pregnancy cohort study.

Conway L, Cook F, Cahir P, Brown S, Reilly S, Gartland D, Mensah F and Giallo R
Child Abuse and Neglect v. 111 Jan 2021: Article 104794
This article adds to what is known about the impact of mothers' mental health and victimisation on children's development, focusing on children's language skills at 10 years of age. Data is taken for 615 mothers and their first-born child in a pregnancy cohort study in Melbourne, Victoria. The study found that children whose mothers experienced intimate partner violence during the child's first four years had poorer language skills, including poorer abilities in receptive vocabulary, general language, and pragmatic language skills. Maternal depressive symptoms played some role, and was associated with poorer general language.

Exposure to family and domestic violence is associated with increased childhood hospitalisations.

Orr C, Fisher C, Preen D, Glauert R and O'Donnell M
PLoS ONE v. 15 no. 8 2020: Article e0237251
The research so far suggests that children exposed to family and domestic violence are at greater risk of poorer health. This article investigates this further using linked administrative datasets from Western Australia. It analyses the hospital records of children born from 1987-2010, to identify children exposed either prenatally or before the age of 5 to violence against their mother by a partner. The records produced a sample of 7,957 children who had been exposed to violence and 41,996 who had not. The findings indicate that children exposed to this violence are more likely to be hospitalised than non-exposed children, with Aboriginal children at even greater risk. In terms of specific conditions, these children were at greater risk of requiring hospitalisation for pregnancy-related complications or mental health issues or substance abuse.

Enhancing safety in work with families affected by family and domestic violence: findings from practitioner focus groups

Moore T, Arney F, Buchanan F, Chung D, Chong A, Fernandes C, Hawkes M, Meiksans J, Moulding N, Martin R and Schulze D
Adelaide : Australian Centre for Child Protection, University of South Australia, 2020.
A study is underway to learn more about families' experiences of separation and reunification in cases of family and domestic violence. This report presents insights from practitioners on how safety is conceptualised and undertaken during those times. Families experiencing violence are often separated due to child protection intervention, incarceration or family breakdown. In some cases, this improves family members' safety, but it can also cause great distress and harm family relationships. This report presents findings from focus groups with 44 practitioners from health, youth, family support, family and domestic violence, and Aboriginal agencies. Participants were asked about how they conceptualised safety, cultural safety for Aboriginal families, what helps foster safety in family reunification, and current practices.

Slow down and listen: improving children's and young people's safety during periods of violence, separation and reunification : practice brief

Moore T, Arney F, Buchanan F, Chung D, Chong A, Fernandes C, Hawkes M, Meiksans J, Moulding N, Martin R and Schulze D
Adelaide : Australian Centre for Child Protection, University of South Australia, 2020.
Removing children and young people from unsafe family homes can help improve their physical safety, but being separated from family members, particularly those who are non-violent and supportive, can compromise their emotional safety and wellbeing. This paper presents findings from a recent research study to help inform practice and highlight how children and young people's needs might be central to responses to families experiencing violence. It features young people's accounts of their experiences of violence, separation and reunification and what they need to be safe and feel safe. The young people also called for greater engagement and participation.

Australian Homelessness Monitor 2020

Pawson H, Parsell C, Liu E, Hartley C and Thompson S
Collingwood, Vic. : Launch Housing, 2020.
The Australian Homelessness Monitor series provides an independent analysis of changes in the scale and nature of homelessness in Australia, the broader social and economic drivers, and the impact of government policies in exacerbating and easing homelessness. It also identifies opportunities to reduce homelessness and the nature of Indigenous homelessness and overcrowding. This is the second edition, focusing on the period 2017-2020. The findings show that homelessness had climbed by 14% over the last four years. However, government responses to the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a temporary reduction in homelessness, though this is expected to rise again due to the extreme shortage of social and affordable housing.

The 2019-2020 Australian bushfires: from temporary evacuation to longer-term displacement

du Parc E and Yasukawa L
Geneva, Switzerland : Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, 2020.
This paper provides an overview of the impact of the 2019-2020 bushfires in Australia, including the number of people affected, patterns of displacement, and impacts on housing, livelihoods, education, family violence, and health. The paper also highlights the importance of robust data on displacement to better inform planning and support efforts. The bushfires that raged across Australia between July 2019 and February 2020 displaced around 65,000 people and destroyed more than 3,100 homes. The paper also looks at options to reduce the risk of displacement and minimise its impacts through return, recovery and risk reduction efforts.

Safe & Together Addressing ComplexitY for Children (STACY for Children)

Humphreys C, Parolini A, Healey L, Kertesz M, Tsantefski M, Heward-Belle S, O'Leary P, Isobe J, Tan W, Jeffreys C, Bornemisza A, Young A and Fogden L
Sydney : ANROWS, 2020.
The 'Safe & Together' practice model is a multi-disciplinary, collaborative, all-of-family approach to working with domestic and family violence in cases where other issues are present, such as alcohol and other drugs or mental health problems. This report looks at whether the model leads to better outcomes for children and families. It draws on qualitative studies with clients and practitioners and a quantitative analysis of administrative child protection data including rates of domestic and family violence, post-substantiation child protection outcomes, and children's pathways through the child protection system. The study was conducted in three sites in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, with comparisons between sites that did or did not use the model. The results are promising and highlight the benefits of increasing the visibility of children to parents and practitioners in mental health, alcohol and other drugs, and domestic and family violence services. This report expands on the work covered in the ANROWS project 'Invisible practices: Intervention with fathers who use violence'.

Children and peace: from research to action

Balvin N and Christie D
Cham, Switzerland : Springer Open, 2020.
"This open access book brings together discourse on children and peace from the 15th International Symposium on the Contributions of Psychology to Peace, covering issues pertinent to children and peace and approaches to making their world safer, fairer and more sustainable. The book is divided into nine sections that examine traditional themes (social construction and deconstruction of diversity, intergenerational transitions and memories of war, and multiculturalism), as well as contemporary issues such as Europe's 'migration crisis', radicalization and violent extremism, and violence in families, schools and communities. Chapters contextualize each issue within specific social ecological frameworks in order to reflect on the multiplicity of influences that affect different outcomes and to discuss how the findings can be applied in different contexts. The volume also provides solutions and hope through its focus on youth empowerment and peacebuilding programs for children and families. This forward-thinking volume offers a multitude of views, approaches, and strategies for research and activism drawn from peace psychology scholars and United Nations researchers and practitioners."--Publisher abstract.

Children and young people on the edge of care, out of home and alone: COVID-19 insights

Thornton D, Politanski D, Borlagdan J and Mallett S
Fitzroy, Vic. : Brotherhood of St Laurence, 2020.
Every year across Australia, thousands of children and young people under 16 leave home or go missing from out-of-home care placements. Many will become homeless, many will couch surf, and others will return to unsafe family homes, yet no formal response to this problem exists. This briefing paper highlights this issue and proposes a new approach based on 'extreme collaboration' across agencies. It considers the shortcomings of existing services for these at risk children and how the COVID-19 pandemic will exacerbate both family and personal risk factors and service gaps. The paper argues that the service system needs to move from being focused on managing need to one designed to develop capability.

Child wellbeing after parental separation: research summary

Australian Institute of Family Studies
Southbank, Vic. : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2020.
The paper highlights findings from the Australian Institute of Family Studies on how well children fare in separated families. Their research work from 2009 to 2018 shows that most children are faring well after separation, according to their parents, though children in families affected by family violence are less likely to be doing as well. The studies also reveal that children and young people want their views to be considered and taken seriously by parents and family law professionals, especially when safety concerns are raised.

Children's experience of domestic abuse and criminality: a literature review

Molina J and Levell J
London : Victims' Commissioner, 2020.
This is the first of two studies into domestic abuse as a risk factors for youth violence. It reviews the literature from the United Kingdom and the United States on the prevalence of children's experience of domestic abuse and the overlap between this and their offending behaviour, protective factors, the effectiveness of support interventions, and gaps in the evidence base.

Sowing the seeds: children's experience of domestic abuse and criminality

Wedlock E and Molina J
London : Victims' Commissioner, 2020.
This British review looks at one of the widely acknowledged risk factors for youth violence: domestic abuse. This study takes a holistic approach to understanding children and young people's experiences as both victim and perpetrator, and the overlap and interplay of these issues in children's lives. It draws on a recent literature review, analysis of quantitative data from the Children in Need Census and the Crime Survey for England and Wales, and consultations with key experts and stakeholders. Chapters include: The impacts of domestic abuse on children and young people; Recognising children who experience domestic abuse as victims; Overlaps between children's experience of domestic abuse and offending behaviour; Support and interventions for victims of childhood criminal exploitation and those involved in serious youth violence; and Recent trends in children and young people's victimisation and offending behaviour.

Children's experiences and needs in relation to domestic and family violence : findings from a meta-synthesis.

Noble-Carr D, Moore T and McArthur M
Child and Family Social Work v. 25 no. 1 Feb 2020: 182-191
This article reviews the Australian and international literature on how children experience domestic and family violence. It presents a meta-synthesis of research on children's views on how it affects their wellbeing and lives, their wants and needs, and the strategies they employ to try to remain safe and well. The findings highlight the significant impact of domestic and family violence on children, and their experience of fear, powerlessness, loss, and isolation. However, further research is needed to address the gaps in what is known.

The nature and extent of qualitative research conducted with children about their experiences of domestic violence : findings from a meta-synthesis.

Noble-Carr D, Moore T and McArthur M
Trauma Violence & Abuse 3 Dec 2019: Advance online publication
Most research on the impact of family violence on children has been from the views of parents or professionals - this article looks at the state of research on children's own views of this issue. It investigates the nature and extent of qualitative research conducted with children and young people about their experiences of family violence. Thirty-two studies from Australia and overseas from 1996 to 2016 were identified. The article highlights the topics covered, the contribution of this research to what is known about family violence, and the gaps in the evidence.

Children and Mothers in Mind independent evaluation 2018-2019 participant and facilitator feedback: final report

Kertesz M, Ramamurthy A, Fogden L and Humphreys C
Thomastown, Vic. : Kids First, 2019.
'Children and Mothers in Mind' (CMiM) is a play-based group program designed for mothers and children under four years who have experienced trauma such as family violence, childhood abuse or sexual assault. It provides mothers with trauma-informed parenting information, peer support, and counselling to strengthen their parenting self-efficacy, self-care, self-compassion and stress management skills in relation to parenting. The program has been piloted in several metropolitan and regional sites across Victoria from 2017 to mid 2019, with 490 women and children commencing the program. This report evaluates the impact of the program on mothers' understanding about the impact of domestic and family violence on parenting and its effectiveness in improving mother-child relationships. Staff training, program implementation, and referral into and from the program are also considered. The evaluation involved interviews with program facilitators, managers and child workers, as well as mothers after program completion and again after 6 months. The evaluation found that the program is highly valued by participants and staff and has a positive impact on mothers and their parenting.

Inter-parental conflict, parenting, and child development in Australian families: fact sheet

Australia's National Research Organisation for Women's Safety Limited, Australian Institute of Family Studies
Sydney NSW : ANROWS, 2017.
This sheet highlights the impact of inter-parental conflict on parenting and children's health and development. It presents statistics on the rate of inter-parental conflict experienced by mothers and its association with poorer mental health and parenting as well as poorer physical health and development in their children. Data is taken from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, as part of a research study into the impact of domestic and family violence on parenting capacity and parent-child relationships.

Separation, inter-parental conflict, and family and domestic violence: impact and support needs

Australia's National Research Organisation for Women's Safety Limited, Australian Institute of Family Studies
Sydney NSW : ANROWS, 2017.
A research study has been conducted into the impact of domestic and family violence on parenting capacity and parent-child relationships in Australia. This paper highlights findings from the study on the prevalence of inter-parental conflict and family violence before and after separation and its impact on children, parent-child relationships, parenting capacity, and finances. Data is taken from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, the Longitudinal Study of Separated Families, and the Survey of Recently Separated Parents. The findings highlight how family violence may be ongoing even after separation, with implications for how support is provided.

Mechanisms underlying exposure to partner violence and children's emotional-behavioral difficulties.

Skinner L, Gavidia-Payne S, Brown S and Giallo R
Journal of Family Psychology v. 33 no. 6 Sep 2019: 730-741
This article investigates the associations between children's exposure to postnatal intimate partner violence and their emotional-behavioural wellbeing at 10 years of age. In particular it investigates whether a mediating role is played by maternal depression, economic disadvantage, involvement in home learning activities at 4 years of age, and child gender. Data is taken from the Maternal Health Study from Melbourne, Victoria. The findings indicate that postnatal intimate partner violence was associated with higher maternal depression when the child was 4 years of age, which was associated with child emotional-behavioural problems at 10 years of age, regardless of any continued exposure to violence or maternal depression. Differences by economic status were also seen.

Australian drinkers who harm others : a snapshot.

Callinan S and Michael Livingston
Laslett, Anne-Marie, ed. Room, Robin, ed. Waleewong, Orratai, ed. Stanesby, Oliver, ed. Callinan, Sarah, ed. Harm to others from drinking : patterns in nine societies. Geneva : World Health Organization, 2019. 9789241515368: 31-43
This book highlights the human costs of alcohol not just for drinkers but for those around them. It presents and compares national surveys on the harms from others' drinking in Thailand, Chile, India, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand. This chapter presents the results for Australia, noting earlier research and analysing data from the Australian Harm to Others Survey and the National Drug and Alcohol Strategy Household Survey. Total alcohol consumption in Australia is slightly above average among high-income countries and abstention rates are low. The survey findings look at the age, gender, and relationship characteristics of harmful drinkers and people who are harmed by the drinking of others, as well as alcohol consumption rates and patterns. Though most harmful drinkers were non-household family members and friends of victims, victims who were in the same household as as harmful drinkers were substantially more likely to report a higher severity of harm.

How Australia can invest in children and return more: a new look at the $15b cost of late action

Teager W, Fox S and Stafford N
Subiaco, W.A. : CoLab, Telethon Kids Institute, 2019.
This report highlights the issue of late intervention in Australia and the significant costs of not investing early enough in children and young people. It details how Australian governments spend $15.2b every year because children and young people experience serious but preventable issues that require crisis services, with the greatest costs in services for out-of home care, justice system costs related to youth crime, and welfare payments for unemployed young people. The key issues likely to drive future budget pressures are youth unemployment, youth hospitalisation for mental health issues, and out-of home care. The report then highlights the opportunities for earlier, targeted, and impactful preventative investment. Though it is neither possible nor desirable to eliminate all spending on late intervention, the number of children and young people reaching crisis or significant difficulties demonstrates that the system is not preventing issues from escalating, nor adequately responding when they first need help. Issues reviewed in this report include mental health, youth homelessness, physical health, family violence, justice, youth unemployment, youth crime, and child protection - areas where it is clear that, by providing effective support earlier, there is the opportunity to change pathways or outcomes for children and young people.

Intergenerational impacts of family violence - mothers and children in a large prospective pregnancy cohort study.

Gartland D, Giallo R, Woolhouse H, Mensah F and Brown S
EClinicalMedicine v. 15 Oct 2019: 51-61
This article adds to what is known about the intergenerational impact of family violence. It looks at the prevalence of childhood abuse and intimate partner violence in a cohort of new mothers, its association with their postpartum physical and mental health, and their own children's emotional-behavioural difficulties at 4 years of age. Data is taken from the Maternal Health Study, a longitudinal study of 1,507 women recruited during pregnancy in Victoria. The study found high rates of violence in the lives of these mothers, with two out of five reporting abuse in childhood and almost one in three reporting intimate partner violence during the first four years of motherhood, with increased rates of poor physical and mental health. In turn, higher levels of such adversity and poor health in mothers was associated with a higher risk of emotional-behavioural difficulties in their children. However, the children of mothers with childhood but not adulthood abuse had similar rates of emotional-behavioural difficulties to children whose mothers hadn't experienced any family violence.

Child-focused social work practice in the context of family and domestic violence: understanding the impact of male violence

Dunk-West P and Wendt S
Hilton, S. Aust. : Emerging Minds, 2019.
This paper highlights the impact of family violence on children and parenting and outlines child-focused approaches to working with children and women affected by family violence as well as engaging with fathers who use violence. This paper has been written for social work students but may be of interest to other students and practitioners.

The neglected victims : what (little) we know about child survivors of domestic homicide.

Mertin P
Children Australia v. 44 no. 3 Sep 2019: 121-125
This article discusses what is known about the impact of domestic homicide on children. There is little research on children who have experienced the murder of their mother by an intimate partner, with these children in effect losing both parents due to incarceration or murder-suicide. The article looks at studies from Australia and overseas, including immediate and long-term impacts, prior exposure to family violence and other adversity, and living arrangements and care after the incident,. Another aspect is the impact within the broader family network, with other adult family members also experiencing grief and trauma at a time when they are being called on to support the child.

All kids count: the impact of the two-child limit after two years

Sefton T, Tucker J and McCartney C
London : Child Poverty Action Group and the Church of England, 2019.
From April 2017, the British Government introduced a two-child limit for family allowances: low-income families having a third or subsequent child lost their entitlement to additional support through child tax credit and universal credit. This report highlights the adverse impacts of this policy on families - in particular vulnerable groups like refugees and families experiencing domestic abuse - and calls for this limit to be lifted so that all children can thrive. This joint report by Child Poverty Action Group and the Church of England presents findings from a survey of more than 430 families and interviews with 16 families directly affected by this policy, as well as additional evidence from Women's Aid, the Refugee Council, Turn2us, and the Interlink Foundation, who work with groups and communities where the two-child limit has particular impacts.

Australian Burden of Disease Study: impact and causes of illness and death in Australia 2015

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Canberra, ACT : Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2019.
Every year in Australia, millions of years of healthy life are effectively lost because of injury, illness or premature deaths: the 'burden of disease'. This report provides estimates of the total, non-fatal and fatal burden for the Australian population in 2015, using the disability-adjusted life years (DALY) measure. DALY estimates are presented for more than 200 diseases and conditions - including mental health and injuries - as well as estimates of the burden attributable to more than 30 risk factors, such as tobacco use and physical inactivity. Comparisons are included for males and females, across age groups, and against the 2003 and 2011 report findings. The methodology is also discussed. A particular finding is that 38% of the estimated burden could have been prevented by addressing lifestyle risk factors.

Family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia: continuing the national story 2019 - in brief

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Canberra : Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2019.
This paper presents key findings from the 2019 'Family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia' report. That report series brings together the latest information on the prevalence and impact of family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia, and identifies key gaps in the data. It highlights data relating to: Groups more vulnerable to family, domestic and sexual violence; Responses to family, domestic and sexual violence; Impacts of family, domestic and sexual violence; and Attitudes and behaviours relating to family, domestic and sexual violence. Family, domestic and sexual violence is a major health and welfare issue: 1 in 6 women and 1 in 16 men have experienced violence by a current or previous partner since the age of 15, and 1 in 5 women and 1 in 20 men have experienced sexual violence.

Family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia: continuing the national story 2019.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Canberra : Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2019.
This report brings together the latest information on the prevalence and impact of family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia, and identifies key gaps in the data. Statistics are provided on: prevalence and rates; extent and nature; responses by the justice, health, and specialist support services; long term health impacts; homicide; community attitudes towards violence against women; Indigenous Australians; and vulnerable populations, including children, young women, older people, people with disability, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, LGBTIQ+ people, people in rural and remote areas, and socioeconomically disadvantaged people. The report also lists state and territory government policies on family, domestic and sexual violence. Family, domestic and sexual violence is a major health and welfare issue: 1 in 6 women and 1 in 16 men have experienced violence by a current or previous partner since the age of 15, with even higher rates experiencing emotional abuse. 1 in 5 women and 1 in 20 men have experienced sexual violence since the age of 15. This report updates the inaugural 2018 report, and a brief version is also available.
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