Intergenerational transmission of abuse and neglect

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NSW child protection reports involving children with teenage parents in 2016-17

New South Wales. Dept. of Family and Community Services. Insights, Analysis and Research Unit
Ashfield, NSW : FACS Insights, Analysis and Research, NSW Department of Communities and Justice, 2019.
This report presents information on the number and characteristics of children in the protection system in New South Wales in 2016-2017 with a teenage parent and identified as being at risk of significant harm. Though only 1.4% of children met this criteria, these children were more likely to be assessed as unsafe, be reported at a younger age, to have received reports across most categories of abuse and neglect, and enter out-of-home care. Nine in ten of their parents themselves had child protection involvement as a child. Differences are also noted between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal teenage parents. Teenage parents are often subject to an intergenerational cycle of abuse and neglect, making their children a small but distinct and important sub-group requiring a targeted service response.

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.

Parenting after a history of childhood maltreatment : a scoping review and map of evidence in the perinatal period.

Chamberlain C, Gee G, Harfield S, Campbell S, Brennan S, Clark Y, Mensah F, Arabena K, Herrman H and Brown S
PLOS Medicine v. 14 no. 3 13 Mar 2019: e0213460
For adults who experienced abuse in childhood, raising a new baby of their own can be a stressful time that triggers trauma responses. This article maps the evidence on this issue, including the experiences of parents with a history of childhood maltreatment, the strategies used by these parents to heal or prevent intergenerational transmission of trauma, the theories used to frame the impact of a parental history of childhood maltreatment during the perinatal period, risk and protective factors, interventions in the perinatal period to improve parental and child wellbeing, and screening and trauma assessment tools. This review was conducted to support the development of strategies for perinatal trauma-informed care, recognition, assessment and support for Aboriginal parents with a history of childhood maltreatment.

Understanding child neglect in Aboriginal families and communities in the context of trauma.

Newton B
Child and Family Social Work v. 24 no. 2 May 2019: 218-226
This article argues that child protection policy and practice for Indigenous families needs to acknowledge and address the role of historical and intergenerational trauma. It frames the issue of child neglect within the context of trauma and notes the international literature, though focusing on the Australian context.

Living our parents' trauma: effects of child abuse and neglect on the next generation

Menger Leeman J
Though research has found that unresolved childhood experiences of loss and trauma are repeated in the next generation, there is little research into intergenerational functioning and relationship outcomes in adulthood. This thesis adds to the evidence with 3 studies with adults in Victoria on childhood experiences and current adult functioning. 323 adults participated. Study 1, 'Experiences of Individuals', investigated the relationship and functioning experiences of individuals with and without a history of childhood abuse or neglect. Compared to participants without a history of maltreatment, abused participants had higher separation-individuation disturbances, lower perceived current social support, higher psychopathology, and higher current trauma symptoms. Study 2, 'Intergenerational Continuity', examined intergenerational continuity and discontinuity in the relating and functioning of parent-child participant-dyads, with and without a history of child abuse. It found that regardless of their own child maltreatment history, participants with a maltreated parent had, on average, poorer adult functioning outcomes and more trauma symptoms. Study 3, 'Survivors' Experiences of their Parent', explored the caregiving relationship of participants with a history of childhood maltreatment, focusing on trust, hurt, and healing.

Born this way? A qualitative examination of public perceptions of the causes of pedophilia and sexual offending against children.

Richards K
Deviant Behavior v. 39 no. 2 2018: 835-851
This article explores what the public think causes paedophilia and child sexual abuse, drawing on an analysis of forum posts. It identifies four common causal explanations: genetics or being 'born that way', mental illness, a manifestation of the cycle-of-abuse, or a choice by the offender. While each explanation has some truth, they ultimately miss the complexity of the actual causes. Public views on this matter are important as they influence policy and have implications for education campaigns. Nearly 800 comments posted by members of the public to four online forums created following the announcement of a new program for reintegrating sex offenders in South Australia, were analysed.

The prevalence of intergenerational links in child protection and out-of-home care in NSW

New South Wales. Dept. of Family and Community Services. Analysis and Research
Ashfield, NSW : FACS Analysis and Research, 2017.
This paper looks at intergenerational patterns of child abuse in New South Wales, summarising findings from an analysis of historical child protection data drawn from the Department of Family and Community Services' client information systems. Previous research shows that while most children who experience child maltreatment do not go on to abuse their own children, their children are more likely to experience maltreatment than those of other parents. This new analysis found that almost one-third of children and young people involved with the New South Wales statutory child protection system in 2014-15 had at least one parent who had either been reported or were in out of home when they were a child, with the intergenerational links strongest for children and young people in out-of-home care and Aboriginal children and young people. A similar picture emerges from data from 1987-88 to 1989-90: around 16% of children and young people who were reported during this time have a child who has since been reported to authorities or been in out of home care, and - those who were in care as children - almost 30% have a child who is known to authorities. Findings are presented by district, Aboriginality, age, and number of reports.

Children's exposure to domestic and family violence: key issues and responses

Campo M
Melbourne, Vic. : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2015.
In recent decades, there has been mounting evidence on the impact of domestic and family violence on children's development and recognition in policy that exposure to family violence is a form of child abuse. This paper provides an overview of this research evidence, including the prevalence of domestic and family violence, the effects of domestic and family violence on children, the co-occurrence of domestic and family violence with child abuse, the intergenerational transmission of violence, and the implications of these for prevention and evidence-based responses. It also provides an overview of insights from studies that have sought to determine the various psychosocial and long-term health and development outcomes in children via longitudinal research, meta-analyses and experiential studies, as well as findings from studies that have examined children's experiences more directly via qualitative interviews and surveys.

Who abuses children?

Child Family Community Australia, Australian Institute of Family Studies
Melbourne, Vic. : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2014.
Children are most likely to be abused at the hands of parents or other caregivers. This document summarises the information that is available about those who perpetrate child abuse and neglect. It discusses the main forms of child abuse - physical abuse, fatal child abuse, sexual abuse, neglect and psychological maltreatment - in relation to the evidence regarding perpetrators. The article also reviews information on children witnessing family violence and the intergenerational transmission of child abuse.

Effects of child abuse and neglect for adult survivors

Child Family Community Australia, Australian Institute of Family Studies
Melbourne, Vic. : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2014.
The effects of child abuse and neglect can lead to a wide range of adverse outcomes in adulthood. This resource sheet reviews what is known about these potential long-term effects, including re-victimisation; physical health problems; mental health problems; suicidal behaviour; eating disorders and obesity; alcohol and substance abuse; aggression, violence and criminal behaviour; high-risk sexual behaviour; and homelessness. The resource sheet also discusses types of abuse and neglect; factors affecting the consequences of abuse and neglect; the intergenerational transmission of abuse and neglect; and research limitations.

Intergenerational transmission of abuse : implications for parenting interventions from a neuropsychological perspective.

DeGregorio L
Traumatology v. 19 no. 2 Jun 2013: 158-166
Neuroimaging has shown the functional and structural deficits in childhood and adult survivors of child maltreatment, which mirror the neurocircuitry involved in parenting. This article reviews the cognitive, social, and emotional deficits of child and adult survivors of childhood maltreatment and the impact for parenting and parenting interventions. It presents a conceptual model of the neuropsychological transmission of childhood maltreatment, which will allow child welfare practitioners to gain a greater understanding of the specific deficits of individuals who have experienced childhood maltreatment and how parenting interventions may be enhanced for these people.

Lifetime and intergenerational experiences of homelessness in Australia

Flatau P, Conroy E, Spooner C, Edwards R, Eardley T and Forbes C
Melbourne : Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, 2013.
Intergenerational homelessness occurs when homelessness is repeated across generations of the same family. This report examines the prevalence of intergenerational homelessness in Australia, and the implications for prevention and policy. Using data from the Intergenerational Homelessness Survey - conducted with 647 adults accessing homelessness services across Australia - the report investigates the lifetime prevalence and structure of intergenerational homelessness, the pattern of childhood experiences of homelessness, how homelessness among Indigenous people compares to that of non-Indigenous people, and personal and family risk factors for intergenerational homelessness. The study found that almost half of those currently receiving homelessness assistance had parents who themselves experienced homelessness.

Lessons for improvement - working with young parents.

New South Wales. Dept. of Family and Community Services
Child deaths 2011 annual report : learning to improve services. Ashfield, NSW : Department of Family and Community Services, 2012: 35-54
The child deaths annual report series reviews the circumstances of the deaths of children and young people known to child protection services in New South Wales. This feature article in the 2011 annual report looks at the significant vulnerabilities faced by young parent families. Sections include: deaths of children with young parents 2006-11; characteristics of the children and young parents; key risk factors for young parent families; practice themes - working with young parents; the links between disadvantage and early parenthood; assessing risk in young parent families; the impact of early parenthood on young people and their children; engaging young parents to build support networks and parenting capacity; maintaining the focus on a child in a young parent family; and supporting young parents to maintain links with a child who has been removed.

Listening to troubled families

Casey L
London : Dept. for Communities and Local Government, 2012.
The report is intended as a starting point to gain a deeper understanding about the characteristics, experiences, and commonalities of troubled families in Great Britain. The author, the head of the Troubled Families Programme, interviewed 16 troubled families for this report, describing lives affected by abuse and dysfunctional relationships, mental illness and drugs, anti-social behaviour, and the intergenerational transmission of family troubles.

Children's exposure to domestic violence in Australia

Richards K
Canberra : Australian Institute of Criminology, 2011.
Children's 'witnessing' or exposure to domestic violence has been increasingly recognised as a form of child abuse, both in Australia and internationally. Although it is difficult to accurately assess the scope of the problem, research has demonstrated that a substantial amount of domestic violence is witnessed by children. As this paper outlines, witnessing domestic violence can involve a range of incidents, ranging from the child 'only' hearing the violence, to the child being forced to participate in the violence or being used as part of a violent incident. In this paper, current knowledge about the extent of children's exposure to domestic violence in Australia is described, along with the documented impacts that this exposure can have on children. This includes psychological and behavioural impacts, health and socioeconomic impacts, and its link to the intergenerational transmission of violence and re-victimisation. Current legislative and policy initiatives are then described and some community-based programs that have been introduced in Australia to address the problem of children's exposure to domestic violence are highlighted. The paper concludes that initiatives focused on early intervention and holistic approaches to preventing and responding to children's exposure to domestic violence should be considered as part of strategies developed to address this problem. (Publisher abstract)

Parents with mental illness : the cycle of intergenerational mental illness.

Boursnell M
Children Australia v. 36 no. 1 2011: 26-35
This article provides an insight into the under-explored lives of parents with mental illness. In particular, this article considers the experiences of parents with mental illness who grew up with parents who also had mental illness, or experienced issues related to violence, abuse and neglect during childhood. Due to the dearth of research in this area there is minimal insight into how parents experience mental illness and even less significance is placed on exploring how intergenerational mental illness and backgrounds of violence, abuse and neglect impact on parenthood. This qualitative study generates information about how intergenerational family mental illness, and other issues identified in the course of the study, affected the participants' experiences of being a parent.

Child abuse : pathways to the juvenile justice system.

Tomison A
Young people, risk and resilience : the challenges of alcohol, drugs and violence conference : RACV Club, Melbourne, 07 March 2011 - 08 March 2011. Canberra, ACT : Australian Institute of Criminology, 2011
This plenary keynote address discusses the impact of child abuse or parental drug abuse on later juvenile offending. The presenter looks at the size of the child abuse problem in Australia, the association of child abuse with other social and family problems, pathways from child maltreatment to juvenile offending, intergenerational transmission of alcohol problems, modeling/social learning, alcohol abuse as a coping mechanism in survivors of child abuse, and prevention issues.

Intrafamilial adolescent sex offenders: psychological profile and treatment

Grant J, Indermaur D, Thornton J, Stevens G, Chamarette C and Halse A
Canberra : Australian Institute of Criminology, 2009.
Sexual abuse of children by other children or adolescents constitutes approximately 40 to 90 percent of sexual offending against children. This paper examines the nature and causes of adolescent intrafamilial sex offending and which treatment approaches are likely to be successful. Using the results of a four-year study in Western Australia, it provides an overview of intrafamilial adolescent sex offenders (IASOs), what is known about them and how they can be conceptualised. Findings show that IASOs have greater developmental trauma and family dysfunction than adult sex offenders. They also demonstrate greater levels of various behavioural difficulties associated with conduct disorders than do extrafamilial and adult sex offenders and the general population; most commonly ADHD and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Adolescent sex offender programs are based on those developed for adult offenders, with cognitive behavioural therapy the dominant model. However, these programs lack appropriate focus on developmental issues and the influence of family on offending patterns. Programs that combine a variety of treatment modalities show more promising outcomes. It is recommended that a need to understand adolescent sex offending as a health issue, rather than a moral one, allows for interventions that have the best possible chance of changing sexually inappropriate behaviour and ending the intergenerational transmission of abuse. (Publisher abstract)

Transplanting child welfare programs.

Mondy L and Mondy S
Mondy, Linda, ed. Mondy, Stephen, ed. Newpin : courage to change together : helping families achieve generational change. North Parramatta, NSW : UnitingCare Burnside, 2009. 9781920839277: 153-161
This chapter discusses how the New Parent Infant Network (Newpin) was imported by UnitingCare Burnside from the United Kingdom. The Newpin program has the potential to break the distructive intergenerational cycles of child abuse and neglect. The article highlights the main features of the program, why it was chosen by Burnside. It discusses the implementation and transplantation of Newpin and other models, the barriers and the lessons learned through the implementation of the Newpin program, the tensions involved in replicating international programs, and its implementation in Tasmania and Victoria.

Practice meets theory : the theoretical underpinnings of an early childhood intervention program.

Mondy L and Mondy S
Mondy, Linda, ed. Mondy, Stephen, ed. Newpin : courage to change together : helping families achieve generational change. North Parramatta, NSW : UnitingCare Burnside, 2009. 9781920839277: 45-55
This chapter describes the early intervention program in practice at the Newpin centre. Originally developed in the United Kingdom, the program is aimed to stop the cycle of destructive and negative family behaviour. The authors examine the attachment theory, social learning theory, infant brain research, social support theory, strength-based practice, social capital and early intervention strategies.

Raising parents : attachment, parenting and child safety

Crittenden P
Cullompton, UK : Willan, 2008.
"This book provides a systematic account of parental behaviour and the means of identifying and addressing inadequate parenting. It is intended for professionals who work with children or adults who were harmed as children, and its central concern is with parents who endanger their children or whose children may endanger themselves or others. Understanding and helping troubled parents to become secure and balanced people is of crucial importance for the parents themselves, for their children and for society at large. This book is a guide to understanding parents as people who have children - as opposed to seeing them as existing solely in terms of their inadequacy in fulfilling their children's needs. 'Raising parents' is divided into three parts. Part 1 analyses the information processing that underlies behaviour, with the examples of dangerous and violent parental behaviour, and connects the merging cognitive neurosciences with parenting, child protection and forensic psychology. Part 2 delineates a gradient of distortions of information processing that result in increasingly dangerous behaviour. It provides a dimensional structure, based on information processing, and offers examples of inadequate to extremely dangerous childrearing. Part 3 addresses issues of prevention, treatment and forensic decision-making. It [ties] information processing to the selection of treatment strategies, and sets out the principles and practice of the Dynamic Maturational Model as a comprehensive model of treatment."

Working with Indigenous survivors of sexual assault

Cox D
Melbourne, Vic. : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2008.
This paper discusses good practice considerations for culturally appropriate services for Indigenous survivors of sexual assault. It outlines values and power balance, language, alternative service provision, co-location of services, outreach, holistic services, client empowerment, confidentiality, building trust, employing Indigenous personnel, and that 'one size doesn't fit all'. Professionals working in this area also need to understand the context of kinship systems, intergenerational and historical trauma, and cycles of abuse, which can hinder or harm their clients.

Child maltreatment.

Beven J
Monahan, Geoff, ed. Young, Lisa, ed. Children and the law in Australia. Chatswood, N.S.W. : LexisNexis Butterworths, 2008. 9780409323900: 105-121
In this book on children and the law, this chapter provides background information on the forms, prevalence, and impacts of child maltreatment. It discusses short-term indicators, physiological impacts, self-destructive and anti-social behaviours, the intergenerational transmission of abuse, and community impacts.

School-based violence prevention programmes: a literature review.

Hassall I and Hanna K
Auckland, NZ : Institute of Public Policy, 2007
An outcome of a project to establish best practice criteria for the evaluation of school based violence prevention programs, this literature review considers international and New Zealand research identifying programs that: model and teach healthy relationships within the classroom and playground; focus on the school culture as a whole and aim to make it peaceful; lead or contribute to community wide programs aimed at reducing violence; identify and help to change students with antisocial behaviour; prevent children from inflicting or suffering bullying, dating violence, family maltreatment, child sexual abuse and sexual violation or rape; and equip students to avoid inflicting or suffering intimate partner violence and maltreating children when they become adults.

Lives cut short: child death by maltreatment.

Connolly M and Doolan M
Wellington, NZ : Dunmore Publishing for the Office of the Children's Commissioner, 2007
A quantitative and qualitative analysis of child deaths by maltreatment in New Zealand was undertaken with the aim of improving understanding of how child homicide happens and how society responds to it. The study examines the statistics and individual cases of child deaths. It describes patterns of behaviour and the wider contextual factors, such as socioeconomic status, cultural or gender behaviours, that affect families. It proposes changes that would strengthen the child protection system and break intergenerational cycles of child abuse and neglect.

Intimate partner violence

Kendall-Tackett K and Giacomoni S
Kingston, NJ : Civic Research Institute, c2007.

Breaking the silence, creating the future : addressing child sexual assault in Aboriginal communities in NSW.

Aboriginal Child Sexual Assault Taskforce (N.S.W.)
Sydney, NSW : Attorney General's Department, 2006
It is widely accepted that Aboriginal children are more likely to be victims of child sexual assault than their non Aboriginal counterparts. It is also accepted that child sexual assault is a grossly underreported crime, particularly in Aboriginal communities. This report contains data and research that describes a stark picture of intergenerational abuse and social disadvantage. The primary aim of this report was to examine child sexual assault in Aboriginal communities, review how government and non government agencies in NSW respond and make recommendations about how these responses could be improved. The report examined the relationship between child sexual assault and family violence and overarching government responses to child sexual assault in Aboriginal communities. It specifically looked at NSW agency responses to child sexual assault in Aboriginal communities and alternative models for addressing child sexual assault.

Survivors and parenting: breaking silence, shame, generational cycles of abuse and building on strengths.

Basham S
ISA Journal Spring 2006 12-20
Survivors of child sexual abuse often believe they will not be good parents. This article looks at key problems with intergenerational transmission of child sexual abuse due to silencing of victims; parent child relationships and the determinants of parents; research on child sexual abuse and parenting; effects of child sexual abuse relevant to parenting; and persistent effects of child sexual abuse. It then discusses breaking the intergenerational cycle and building support, and outlines a parenting group program that helps child sexual abuse survivors.

Cultural conceptualisation of child abuse and responses to it: an Aboriginal perspective.

Gordon S
Social Policy Journal of New Zealand no. 28 Jul 2006 18-35
Although there is widespread concern about the prevalence of child abuse in Indigenous Australian communities, the problem has been hidden under the false assumption that violence and abuse are culturally ingrained. Differing responses to family violence among Indigenous and non Indigenous Australians perpetuate the systemic cycles of violence plaguing many Indigenous communities. This article says that family and child abuse must be seen within the broader context of historical and present factors, and that the underlying issues that shape Indigenous experiences of abuse must be addressed in order to achieve any real outcomes in protecting Indigenous children. The article addresses the issue of child abuse and neglect within the context of cultural conceptions of the problem and responses to it.

'Speaking of mothers most': how does the literature portray mothers who have a history of child sexual abuse?

Breckenridge J
Journal of Child Sexual Abuse v. 15 no. 2 2006 57-74
The way the literature presents mothers who have a history of child sexual abuse is explored. The paper focuses on research that examines the mothers' parenting after the disclosure of their child's sexual abuse. It discusses the intergenerational transmission of risk of child sexual assault, the competency and capacity of mothers with a history of child sexual abuse to parent and support their children, and disclosure and increased stress for non offending parents.
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