Violence and families

Our research expertise

Family violence, sexual assault and abuse and child maltreatment affect many Australian families. These types of interpersonal violence and associated trauma can have negative impacts on mental and physical health, family and other relationships, economic participation and social connectedness. The needs of families experiencing these issues can be complex. Increasingly, the imperative is to develop integrated co-ordinated and appropriately tailored support systems to improve the long-term consequences of family and interpersonal violence.

AIFS has an extensive research program on families and violence that examines:

  • how experiences of violence affect family functioning
  • how family violence, sexual assault and abuse, and child maltreatment intersect with other social harms (such as other forms of violence, mental ill-health, substance use, criminal offending and social and economic disadvantage)
  • how policy and service development can contribute to the reduction of the negative effects
  • how prevention programs can prevent these forms of harm for individuals, relationships, families and communities from occurring in the first place.

Selected publications

Domestic and family violence and parenting. Mixed method insights into impact and support needs: Final report
The Domestic and Family Violence and Parenting program is an extensive mixed method project that examines the impact of inter-parental conflict (IPC) and domestic and family violence (DFV) on parenting and parent–child relationships.

Family relationships and the disclosure of institutional child sexual abuse
A research report conducted for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse by AIFS has examined the long-term effects of disclosures of institutional child sexual abuse on survivors and their families.

Domestic and family violence and parenting: Mixed methods insights into impact and support needs. ANROWS State of knowledge paper
This paper examines the current state of knowledge on the impact of domestic and family violence (DFV) on parenting.

The survey of recently separated parents 2012
This report provides a detailed understanding of parents' experiences of, and system responses to, family violence and concerns about child safety.

See CFCA topics: Domestic and family violence for all relevant publications by the Child Family Community Australia.

Implementing trauma-informed systems of care in health settings: The WITH study. State of knowledge paper
This paper examines the available literature on trauma-informed frameworks, models and guidelines that guide organisations to improve service provision to survivors of sexual violence with mental health problems.

Establishing the connection [between alcohol and other drug use and sexual victimisation]: ANROWS State of Knowledge paper
This report explores the association between alcohol and other drug use and severity of, or vulnerability to, sexual violence and re-victimisation.

Victim/survivor-focused justice responses and reforms to criminal court practice : implementation, current practice and future directions
Report commissioned to examine the implementation of reforms that address the disadvantages that victim/survivors of sexual assault face within the criminal justice system in Australia.

Reflecting on primary prevention of violence against women: The public health approach
Considers the application of the public health model to the issue of violence against women in Australia and the way that fundamental public health principles have been implemented.

Under the influence? Considering the role of alcohol and sexual assault in social contexts
Reviews research around alcohol use in sexual assaults that are perpetrated in circumstances of socialising and sexual interactions.

Groups and communities at-risk of domestic and family violence (PDF 1.3MB)
This report sets out findings of research into domestic and family violence prevention initiatives.

Did you know ...

1 in 6 Australian women have experienced either physical or sexual violence from a current or former partner.

(Source: ABS)


Rae Kaspiew
Senior Research Fellow

Antonia Quadara
Research Fellow

Mary Stathopoulos
Senior Research Officer

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