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

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 18 Aug 2019: Advance online publication
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.

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 7 May 2019: Advance online publication
This article reviews the Australian and international literature on how children experiences 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.

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.

Child-focused approaches when working with parents affected by family and domestic violence.

Wendt S and Tully D
29 May 2019.
This webinar will identify the skills and knowledge that practitioners need in order to have child-focused conversations with adults affected by family and domestic violence. The ability of generalist practitioners to identify adults who are either perpetrating or experiencing family and domestic violence (FDV) is crucial for the prevention and early identification of its effects on children. In this webinar, Professor Sarah Wendt will discuss research she is leading on the skills, understanding and support that practitioners require to be able to identify and respond to presentations from adult perpetrators and victims, and to ensure a focus on children's social and emotional wellbeing. This research shows that over two-thirds of parents presenting to Relationships Australia SA identify as being affected by FDV, either as perpetrators or victims. David Tully will discuss this research from a service perspective at RASA, sharing some of their experiences that have led to specific child-focused policies and practices and how these have supported positive outcomes for children. Practice models that support practitioners to have child-focused conversations with adults will also be discussed. This webinar aims to support practitioners to: work with perpetrators and victims to understand the impacts of FDV on their children in order to support children's social and emotional wellbeing; examine the skills and competencies that can be supported in generalist organisations to meet the needs of children; and consider the research and practice evidence of how particular understandings of FDV have directly benefitted the social and emotional wellbeing of children.

Adverse childhood experiences and school readiness outcomes: results from the Growing Up in New Zealand study

University of Auckland. Centre for Social Data Analytics, New Zealand. Ministry of Social Development
Wellington N.Z. : Ministry of Social Development, 2019.
This report explores the association between adverse experiences in early childhood and later school readiness, using data from the 'Growing Up in New Zealand' longitudinal study. Adverse experiences include exposure to maltreatment and experiencing parental divorce, family abuse, mental illness, substance abuse, or incarceration, while school readiness was measured with a range of cognitive development tests. The study found that adverse childhood experiences were common in this group: by 54 months old, nearly 53% had experienced at least one adverse experience and 2.6% had experienced 4 or more. These adverse experiences were consistently associated with family income, deprivation, mother's education and age, and partner's age. The study also found a clear dose-response association between adverse experiences and school readiness.

On the sidelines: the economic and personal cost of childhood exposure to domestic violence

Pro Bono Economics (Firm), Hestia (Charity)
London : Hestia, 2019
British charity Hestia commissioned this analysis to estimate the economic impact of childhood exposure to severe domestic violence. This paper outlines the long-run cost to the taxpayer of supporting these children to the age of 28, in terms of crime, health, adult social care, foster care, and education. The findings highlight the need for access to effective mental health support to help these children and mitigate the long-run cost to society.

Child protection and fathering where there is domestic violence : contradictions and consequences.

Smith J and Humphreys C
Child and Family Social Work v. 24 no. 1 Feb 2019: 156-163
This article looks at men's experiences of being held to account for their domestic violence. It presents findings from 69 interviews held with men, workers, and current or former partners involved in men's behaviour change programmes in rural Victoria. Themes raised include: men's attitudes to fathering, harm to children from witnessing partner violence, the affect of violence on their relationship with children, remorse and recognition of harm, children providing motivation to change, sense of victimisation and powerlessness due to child protection involvement, and blaming and denial. The findings highlight a disconnection between men's perspectives of fathering and their interaction with statutory child protection. Though many of the men seemed to own their violence and its impact on their children at first, hedges and contradictions emerged in most men's interviews that qualified responsibility.

More present than absent : men who use domestic violence and their fathering.

Humphreys C, Diemer K, Bornemisza A, Spiteri-Staines A, Kaspiew R and Horsfall B
Child and Family Social Work v. 24 no. 2 May 2019: 321-329
This article highlights the continuing presence of fathers who use violence in the lives of their children after separation. It presents findings from two studies showing the substantial parenting roles and levels of contact with children after separation, and ongoing abuse and poor attitudes to women and children, with the conclusion that the family violence and child welfare systems in Australia are failing to address the issue of fathers who use violence. The first of the studies described is a survey of 101 clients of a Men's Behaviour Change Program, and the second study involved interviews with 50 women who had experienced violence.

Factors promoting emotional-behavioural resilience and adjustment in children exposed to intimate partner violence : a systematic review.

Fogarty A, Wood C, Giallo R, Kaufman J and Hansen M
Australian Journal of Psychology 29 Jan 2019: Advance online publication
This article investigates why some children display resilience in the face of family violence. It presents the findings of a systematic review the literature on children exposed to intimate partner violence, and what child, parental, family, and socio-contextual factors are associated with emotional and behavioural resilience, positive functioning, and adjustment. The findings indicate that maternal mental health is a significant factor, but that only limited evidence is available in general and that further research is required.

Impact of the experience of domestic and family violence on children - what does the literature have to say?

Taylor A
Mackay, Qld. : Queensland Centre for Domestic and Family Violence Research, CQUniversity, 2019.
This report highlights the latest research on the impact of domestic and family violence on children and young people. It summarises key findings from meta-reviews of the literature related to the impact of exposure to domestic and family violence on children and young people, including its impact on physical health, psychology and behaviour, and the parent-child relationship. It also looks at research into recognising children's agency and strengths. Australian and overseas meta-analyses and systematic reviews were reviewed, largely from 2010 onwards.

'Are they shouting because of me?': voices of children living in households with domestic abuse, parental substance misuse and mental health issues

Great Britain. Office of the Children's Commissioner
London : Children's Commissioner for England, 2018.
This report looks at life growing up under the 'toxic trio' of mental health, parental substance misuse, and domestic abuse. It presents findings from interviews with 15 children and young people in England about their experiences of living in households with these three issues, including how it affected their emotional wellbeing, school life and relationships with friends, and the ways in which they attempted to cope. Though the participants revealed the problems of living with high levels of tension and unpredictability at home, and about an evolving sense of shame and growing up quickly, they were also very clear about how much they loved and trusted their parents and the great lengths they went not to tell others for fear of being separated.

The economic cost of violence against children and young people

Deloitte Access Economics, New South Wales. Office of the Advocate for Children and Young People
Strawberry Hills, N.S.W. : Advocate for Children and Young People, 2018.
Violence and abuse against children not only affects their lives, it has a tremendous economic impact for individuals, society and the government. This study was commissioned to calculate the economic cost of abuse and violence against children and young people in New South Wales, with comparisons with Australia as a whole. It looks at abuse and assaults against children and young people aged 0-24 years old, including neglect and witnessing family violence, in terms of the annual and lifetime financial impacts on productivity, premature mortality, quality of life, burden of disease, health services, justice system, child protection, education, and housing and homelessness. Data on crime rates and service costs are taken for 2016/17. The study finds that this abuse and violence cost a total of $3.8 billion in New South Wales and $11.2 billion in Australia. Of the national total, approximately $2.3 billion was borne by NSW state government departments, $600 million by the Federal government, and $8.2 billion by individuals and the broader NSW community.

Domestic and family violence and its relationship to child protection: practice paper

Queensland Centre for Domestic and Family Violence Research, Queensland. Dept. of Child Safety, Youth and Women
Mackay, Qld. : Queensland Centre for Domestic and Family Violence Research, CQUniversity, 2018.
Written for child protection workers in Queensland, this paper discusses the nature of domestic and family violence and the policy context in Queensland. Topics include: legislation and principles, forms of violence and coercion, characteristics of perpetrators, the impact on women, domestic and family violence in pregnancy and early motherhood, impact on children, lethality risk factors, The Safe and Together Model, contact and placement decisions, and priority populations. Considerations for reflection and further resources are also noted.

Keeping children visible in practice responses to family and domestic violence

Moss D and Dolman C
Hilton, S. Aust. : Emerging Minds, 2018
This paper aims to help practitioners and organisations to respond to family and domestic violence in ways that prioritise children's social and emotional wellbeing and safety. It asks practitioners to reflect on how the social and emotional wellbeing and safety of children can be prioritised when parents are initially assessed, how mothers are can be supported to prioritise the safety of their children and themselves, and how fathers who perpetrate violence can be engaged in ways that keep children and partners safe. Sections include: what is family and domestic violence and how does it affect children?; the co-existence of FDV and intergenerational disadvantage; gendered and relational approaches to the effects of family and domestic violence on children; and the practitioner's position of curiosity.

Safe with dad

Toone E
Richmond, Vic. : Berry Street Victoria, 2018.
Though infants and young children are negatively impacted by family violence, they are receptive to interventions aimed at repairing the parent-child relationship. However, the research on relationship repair so far has focussed on the child's relationship with their mother and there is a dearth of Australian practice parameters for guiding safe clinical practice. To help address this gap, this paper looks at four local and overseas programs that have found a way to work safely with very young children and their fathers who have used violence. It reviews the Dads on Board program from Australia, the Alternative to Violence program from Norway, and the Fathers for Change and Child-Parent Psychotherapy programs from the United States, then considers the implications for practice in Australia. The paper also briefly outlines the research on the impact of family violence upon children and their relationships and their need for relational repair with both non-offending and offending caregivers.

Inter-parental relationship quality and its effects on children: a literature review to support analysis and policy

Dominick C
Wellington, N.Z. : Ministry of Social Development, 2018.
This report provides an overview of the evidence on how parents' own relationship quality influences children's wellbeing and development. It focuses on interactions between parents such as communication patterns, conflict behaviours, intimate partner violence, supportive behaviours, and the time spent interacting - not relationship satisfaction. The report reviews the literature on the effects on child outcomes, the pathways and mechanisms involved, important correlates that may act as confounders - such as alcohol use or mental illness - and the implications for analysis and for policy. Overall, there is strong evidence for the relationship between inter-parental relationship quality and child outcomes, in particular the negative impact of inter-parental conflict and violence on children's adjustment. There are gaps in the evidence, which longitudinal research has the potential to address.

The impacts of domestic and family violence on children: research summary.

Australia's National Research Organisation for Women's Safety Limited
N.S.W. : ANROWS, 2018.
This paper summarises findings from two recent research projects that gained insights into the impacts of domestic and family violence on children. Written for practitioners and policy-makers, this summary outlines the major issues identified, the factors preventing effective service delivery, and the policy and practice changes recommended by the researchers. The two studies are published in full as: 'Domestic and family violence and parenting: mixed method insights into impact and support needs' and 'PAThways and Research Into Collaborative Inter-Agency practice: collaborative work across the child protection and specialist domestic and family violence interface - the PATRICIA Project'.

Repeated early-life exposure to inter-parental conflict increases risk of preadolescent mental health problems.

Westrupp E, Brown S, Woolhouse H, Gartland D and Nicholson J
European Journal of Pediatrics v. 177 no. 3 Mar 2018: 419-427
Much evidence shows that children exposed to inter-parental conflict or family violence are at greater risk of mental health problems. This article adds to the research by examining this association from early childhood and into later childhood. It analyses data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children for a cohort of children followed from birth to 10-11 years old, comparing repeated and single occasion verbal and physical inter-parental conflict and internalising and externalising problems in children. The findings once again highlight children's sensitivity to inter-parental conflict, with ongoing negative effects for children even from once-off conflict witnessed at an early age.

The economic cost of bullying in Australian schools

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, Alannah and Madeline Foundation, National Centre Against Bullying (South Melbourne, Vic.)
South Melbourne, Vic. : National Centre Against Bullying, Alannah and Madeline Foundation, 2018.
This study was commissioned to calculate the economic costs of bullying in schools in Australia and help raise awareness about its impact. The study attempts to identify and quantify the breadth of the impacts of bullying across student and adult life, and considers factors such as school staff time, missed school days, carer time, health service use, and long term impacts on health, reduced income potential, intimate partner violence, and suicide. Each year, an estimated 24% of students experience bullying - with 15% of students experiencing it as a serious concern. Bullying rates among at-risk groups are also noted.
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