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

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

Sarah Wendt and David Tully

This webinar identified the skills and knowledge that practitioners need in order to have child-focused conversations with adults affected by FDV.

This webinar was held on Wednesday, 29 May 2019. 

A full recording of this webinar is available on our YouTube ChannelThe audio, transcript and presentation slides are available under Event Resources on this page. 

A list of resources related to this topic is available on our post-webinar forum.

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 discussed 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 (RASA) identify as being affected by FDV, either as perpetrators or victims. David Tully discussed 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. He also discussed practice models that support practitioners to have child-focused conversations with adults. 

Throughout this webinar, Sarah and David shared their experiences as a researcher and a practitioner in working with parents in child-aware and parent-sensitive ways. This webinar supports 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
  • consider the research and practice evidence of how particular understandings of FDV have directly benefitted the social and emotional wellbeing of children.

This webinar was the fourth in a series focusing on children's mental health. It was co-produced by CFCA and Emerging Minds. They are working together as part of the National Workforce Centre for Child Mental Health, which is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health under the National Support for Child and Youth Mental Health Program.

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Featured image: © GettyImages/monkeybusinessimages

About the presenters

Sarah is Professor of Social Work at Flinders University. She has a PhD from the University of South Australia and has taught in social work for over a decade. Prior to academia Sarah practiced in the field of domestic violence. She has published on violence against women and social work practice. Her current research projects explore the impact of domestic violence on women's citizenship, service provision for Aboriginal communities experiencing family violence, and engaging men to address domestic violence. In particular, Sarah has been researching rural women's experiences of domestic violence for over a decade in Australia and, more recently, how domestic violence work shapes practitioners living and working in rural communities.

David Tully

David is the Practice Manager for Specialised Family Violence Services at Relationships Australia SA. His role looks at organisational approaches to working with perpetrators of domestic and family violence, and is focused on the Northern region of Adelaide. David has worked in the area of domestic violence and childhood sexual assault for over 20 years as a practitioner and service manager. He has also worked as a service manager for torture and trauma counselling for people with refugee experiences and has developed trauma counselling models for young people experiencing homelessness. David has been on the research advisory panel for the Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault and is a peer assessor for Australia's National Research Organisation for Women's Safety on perpetrator research.