Domestic and family violence and parenting: Mixed method insights into impact and support needs

Project Summary

This project focused on the impact of domestic and family violence (DFV) on parenting.

The aim of this project was to improve understanding of how DFV affects parenting capacity to reduce the negative impact of DFV on women and children. Specifically, it addressed three key questions:

  1. How does a reported history of DFV affect mother-child and father-child relationships?
  2. How do mothers who have experienced DFV perceive it has affected their relationship with their children?
  3. To what extent have these mothers had contact with relevant services and was this contact helpful or unhelpful?

The project applied a mixed method approach incorporating: a literature review, a quantitative element using three existing, large-scale databases (the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, the Longitudinal Study of Separated Families and the Survey of Recently Separated Parents 2012), and a qualitative element providing insight into the experiences of mothers who have used services across a range of areas in the context of a history of DFV.

A range of publications for the general community, policy makers, practitioners and researchers was developed from this project to inform policy and practice strategies that respond to the needs of mothers and children who have experienced DFV. The project supports the further development of approaches to working with DFV perpetrators in the context of their parenting.

This project provides evidence on:

  • the impact of domestic and family violence on parenting; and
  • how to strengthen mother child relationships following domestic and family violence.


Principal chief investigator:

Dr Rae Kaspiew, Senior Research Fellow, Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS).

Chief investigators:

Professor Angela Taft, Director, and Ms Leesa Hooker, Lecturer, Judith Lumley Centre, La Trobe University.

Professor Jan Nicholson, Inaugural Roberta Holmes Professorial Chair, Judith Lumley Centre, La Trobe  University.

Dr Lixia Qu, Senior Research Fellow, Demographic Trends Analyst, Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Professor Cathy Humphreys, Alfred Felton Chair of Child and Family Social Work, University of Melbourne.

Research partners / team members:

Ms Ruth Weston, Assistant Director (Research), Family Law Evaluation, Work and Family, AIFS.

Dr Fiona Buchanan, Lecturer, School of Psychology, Social Work and Social Policy, Division of Education, Arts and Social Sciences, University of South Australia.

DV Victoria (DV Vic); National Network of Women’s Legal Centres; Women’s Legal Service Victoria; No To Violence; SA Uniting Communities; and Anglicare WA.


Domestic and family violence and parenting: Mixed methods insights into impact and support needs: Key findings and future directions

Domestic and family violence and parenting: Mixed methods insights into impact and support needs: Final report

Domestic and family violence and parenting: Mixed methods insights into impact and support needs: State of knowledge paper

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

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


Estimated end date: 
This project was completed in June 2017.


$294,000 (approx.)