Back to school:
Focusing on the needs of children
ANROWS Notepad | 30 January 2020
BACK TO SCHOOL
Children coping with the trauma of family violence
Advice on coping with the stress of going back to school is in abundance at this time of year. But for children exposed to domestic and family violence, trauma can make the transition much more difficult.
How do you pay attention in class when you’re exhausted from a wakeful night of fear, or worried about what it’ll like when you get home?
What’s the best way to make friends or connect with teachers when you’re not allowed to tell them where you live?
This opinion piece by ANROWS CEO Dr Heather Nancarrow explores how children with traumatic experiences can better be supported by school communities.
LOOKING AT THE FAMILY
Focusing on the needs of children
The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Personal Safety Survey in 2016 showed that of the women who had children in their care when they experienced violence by a current or former partner, 65% reported that their children had seen or heard the violence. Perpetrators of domestic and family violence (DFV) may also use tactics involving children to target women as mothers or carers, including threatening to use the family law and child protection systems against women.
Children experiencing domestic and family violence are more likely to have a range of health, developmental and social problems, and are at higher risk of perpetrating or becoming a victim of violence themselves, which perpetuates intergenerational cycles of violence.
It’s important that people working with children are aware of the impacts that such violence has on children who live with it, and how they can support them.
ANROWS offers a research summary on findings from our projects covering The impacts of domestic and family violence on children (2nd ed., updated 2019). This covers:
- the PATRICIA project (Humphreys and Healey, 2017), a study on the relationship between DFV support services for women and their children and statutory child protection organisations
- Domestic and family violence and parenting: Mixed method insights into impact and support needs (Kaspiew et al., 2017).
There were common themes identified by the research, including a lack of collaboration between systems that work with families impacted by DFV. In particular, the disconnection between the child protection, domestic and family violence specialist services and the family law system mean that many children continue to be vulnerable to abuse after their parents separate.
Both research papers recommended that the child protection, DFV and justice systems need a more collaborative and individualised response when working with families impacted by DFV.
Educating young people about healthy relationships
We know that early intervention is critical in improving outcomes for children exposed to DFV. One contribution to this process is to educate young people on what’s safe and acceptable behaviour.
The 2017 National Community Attitudes towards Violence against Women Survey (NCAS) documented the attitudes and beliefs of young Australians, aged 16-24 years. It found that a disturbing number of boys and young men don’t understand that controlling behaviours in relationships are a problem, and too many believe that having control is a normal part of a relationship. For example, 22% think men should take control of relationships and be the head of the household. The good news is most young people feel they would have the support of their friends if they took a stand and called out sexist, abusive or violent behaviour.
There is evidence that young people can act as agents of change in preventing violence against women. Research into peer-to-peer models for respectful relationships education, such as the R4Respect program, show they can have a positive impact on young people’s understanding of the nature and extent of interpersonal violence. The researchers recommend engaging a diverse student population in planning and developing these programs, and implementing them using a whole-of-school approach. Access guidelines for implementing R4Respect on our website.
Supporting children and the non-offending parent
STACY for Children: Safe and Together Addressing ComplexitY focussing on children
The STACY for Children action research project, led by Professor Cathy Humphreys at the University Melbourne, compares sites where the Safe & Together™ Model is implemented with control sites to examine outcomes for children and their families living with domestic and family violence who are also living with parental mental health issues and/or alcohol or drug misuse. The Safe & Together™ Model seeks to enhance the capacity of those working in statutory and non-statutory child protection to apply a domestic and family violence—informed lens to their practice, record keeping and decision making (particularly in relation to risk assessment and perpetrator risk management). This project builds on the outcomes and resources of the ANROWS-funded Invisible Practices and PATRICIA projects.
RECOVER – Reconnecting mothers and children after violence: The Child Parent Psychotherapy pilot
Developed in the US, the Child Parent Psychotherapy is a model of care for mother-child dyads which aims to enhance relationships and reduce trauma. The RECOVER study, led by Dr Leesa Hooker at La Trobe University, is testing the feasibility of providing this model of care in Australia to mothers and their pre-school aged children who are experiencing domestic and family violence.
The ‘Safe Nest Group’ pilot project – early intervention for mothers and infants leaving family violence
The ‘Safe Nest Group’ program is a closed, infant-led group intervention for mother-infant dyads who have left violent relationships and are staying in refuge or other stable transitional housing. Led by Dr Katie Wood at Swinburne University of Technology, this pilot study is evaluating the effectiveness of this community-based early-intervention program.
Mothers and children with disability using early intervention services: Identifying and sharing promising practice
Services which support people with disability often have very limited capacity in responding to risks of family violence, while services focused on violence prevention are often not skilled in identifying and addressing disability support needs. Led by kylie valentine at UNSW Sydney, this project aims to document and improve practice for mainstream early intervention domestic and family violence services to better engage families with a child or parent with disability.
Prioritising women’s safety in Australian perpetrator interventions: The purpose and practices of partner contact
It is a well-established expectation of the perpetrator intervention system that women and children are provided appropriate support during partner contact. This project, led by Professor Donna Chung from Curtin University, will provide a deeper understanding of how men’s behaviour change programs can do this. It will contribute to improving the quality of services provided to victims by identifying gaps between theory and practice, and providing guidance for practitioners.
Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
Professor Marcia Langton is currently leading two ANROWS studies that aim to identify practical and legal supports as well as policy reforms to address the high levels of family violence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Professor Langton’s team, including Dr Kristen Smith from the University of Melbourne and Professor Megan Davis from the University of New South Wales, collected multi-jurisdictional qualitative and quantitative data at two case study sites: Mildura (Victoria) and Albury/Wodonga (NSW/Victoria).
Improving family violence legal and support services for Indigenous women
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children in regional communities experience a higher risk of family violence and face particular challenges in accessing services. This study will contribute to the evidence base on best practice for meeting their needs.
This research used a multidisciplinary framework and mixed methods approach with the aims of improving understandings of family violence service provision in cross-border contexts, and the experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women when accessing legal and support services for family violence. It explores the ways in which policy and legal frameworks provide support and, at times, exacerbate the challenges faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children accessing services in these communities.
Improving family violence legal and support services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men who are perpetrators of family violence
This study analyses the ways in which policy and legal frameworks provide support or impede the capacity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander male perpetrators of family violence to engage with available support services.
By working collaboratively with the communities in Mildura and Albury/Wodonga, the study will contribute to the evidence base on practices to hold perpetrators accountable for family violence and improve men’s capacity to navigate the criminal justice system. The study involves multi-sited ethnography, critical socio-legal analysis of relevant family violence legal frameworks in NSW and Victoria, and quantitative analysis of publically available relevant datasets in each jurisdiction.
Police dismissing sexual assaults
An investigation from the ABC has reported evidence that Australian police reject one in every 12 reports of sexual assault as “unfounded”. The ABC analysed more than 140,000 reports of sexual assault made to Australian police between 2007 and 2017, and found that 12,000 had been rejected.
These cases were dropped because police did not believe that a crime has taken place. As one survivor, Lara, explained, “When they say ‘there’s no evidence’, actually what they mean is they believe the perpetrator over me”.
This disbelief of victims/survivors in the judicial system is rooted in our community’s attitudes about false allegations: the NCAS shows that 42% of Australians think women use sexual assault allegations to “get back at men”—even though nine out of 10 survivors don’t report their assault to police, and false reports are rare (ABS, 2017).
The number of cases that were rejected rose to one in four in some areas. For example, police in Queensland dismiss four times as many reports as “unfounded” than police in Tasmania. Rates of rejection for the NT are unknown, because Territory police refused to provide the investigation with this data.
Differences in local police cultures and attitudes also have implications for whether a report will lead to legal action. A woman reporting sexual assault in NSW or the ACT is half as likely as a woman reporting in Victoria to see legal action taken. In the NT, 26% of cases end without any legal action at all. Every woman, no matter her location, should have equal access to justice.
Police, courts and legislation must be more focused on protecting victims. It’s important that legislation guiding this change is evidence-based and will offer victims/survivors a better pathway to justice. ANROWS is making submissions on sexual consent law reform in NSW and Queensland.
AUSTRALIAN BUREAU OF STATISTICS
New Personal Safety Survey analysis
The Australian Bureau of Statistics has provided a new analysis of the 2016 Personal Safety Survey data.
Analysing the most recent incident of physical assault, they found that women who were assaulted by a male partner were more likely to have experienced multiple and higher severity assault behaviours than women who were assaulted by non-partners.
Women were more likely to be kicked, bitten, punched or choked by a male partner than by another known man such as a family member or friend.
They were also more likely to have been physically injured as a result of as an assault by partner than another known man, and were more likely to subsequently seek support from a general practitioner. Thirty per cent of women who experienced partner violence took time off work.
Side workshops and Early Bird extension
28–30 April 2020 | Hilton Adelaide
Early Bird registrations have been extended!
You can still save up to $280 by registering for the ANROWS National Research Conference. Early Bird registration has been extended to 14 February 2020.
Side workshops and program preview
Workshops will also be held on Monday 27 April, the afternoon before the Conference begins. Numbers for these workshops will be limited—watch this space for details on how to express your interest.
A sneak preview of the Conference program will also be coming your way soon! Expect to see an alert before the next issue of Notepad arrives in your inbox.
The conference theme
Focusing on “Evidence in Action”, the conference will bring together researchers, practitioners, policy-makers, and survivor-advocates for an opportunity to discuss “what works?” in addressing domestic, family or sexual violence against women and their children.
We will reflect on who an initiative works for, in what circumstances, and how we know it is effective.
You can get involved and share the impact of your work at the conference by submitting a proposal for the Evidence in Action Poster Exhibition.
Our Watch survey on primary prevention of violence
Give your perspective on delivering prevention programs, the workforce, how coordination and collaboration occurs, how standards are used, and how findings are evaluated and communicated.
Symposium submissions open: Adolescent violence in the home
The Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare is seeking expressions of interest from researchers, practitioners and policy-makers who are interested in presenting at “Reframing how we understand and respond to adolescent violence in the home”, on 13 March 2020 in Melbourne.
Express your interest in submitting presentations, posters, workshops or panels by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Census of Workforces that Intersect with Family Violence
Victorians: Give your feedback in the Second Census of Workforces that Intersect with Family Violence. The target audiences for this survey include those who work in a role or roles where family violence or violence against women is not the “significant focus”. The first few questions in the survey will determine whether you are in the target audience. The survey has been extended and will be open until Friday 28 February 2020.
National Women’s Alliances: Disaster Recovery for Women, Their Families and Their Communities in All Their Diversity (Policy recommendations)
Australian Human Rights Commission: Children’s rights in Australia: a scorecard
VACCA, SNAICC, The Koorie Heritage Trust, the Federation of Victorian Traditional Owners Corporation, Brightlabs and the Department of Health & Human Services: Deadly Story: A place for Aboriginal Culture, Country & Community.
Books & Reports
Australian Bureau of Statistics (2019). 2018–19 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS) results. (See reports of physical harm here).
Berry Street (2019). The economic case for early intervention in the child protection and out-of-home care system in Victoria. SVA Consulting.
Blagg, H., & Thanlia, A. (2019). Decolonising Criminology: Imagining Justice in a Postcolonial World. Springer Nature.
Carole Zufferey, C., Buchanan, F., (2019). Intersections of Mothering: Feminist Accounts. Routledge.
Government of Victoria: Expert Advisory Committee on Perpetrator Interventions: Final report
Sawrikar, P. (2019). The development and evaluation of an education program for service providers about culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) client victims/survivors of child sexual abuse: Technical Report 1 (Full Report). Griffith University, Queensland.
Togni, S. (2019). Uti Kulintjaku Watiku Project Evaluation Report. Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women’s Council.
Warren, D. & Swami, N. (2019). Teenagers and sex. Australian Institute of Family Studies.
Wormith, J. S., Craig, L. A., Hogue, T. E., (Eds.). (2020). The Wiley Handbook of What Works in Violence Risk Management: Theory, Research, and Practice. Wiley-Blackwell.
Al-Alosi, H. (In Press). Fighting fire with fire: Exploring the potential of technology to help victims combat intimate partner violence. Aggression and Violent Behavior.
Baum, N., & Moyal, S. (2018). Impact on Therapists Working With Sex Offenders: A Systematic Review of Gender Findings. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 21(1), 193-205.
Boxall, H., Dowling, C., & Morgan, A. (2020). Female perpetrated domestic violence: Prevalence of self-defensive and retaliatory violence. Trends & issues in crime and criminal justice, no. 584. Retrieved from https://aic.gov.au/publications/tandi/tandi584
Douglas, H., & Fell, E. (2020). Malicious Reports of Child Maltreatment as Coercive Control: Mothers and Domestic and Family Violence. Journal of Family Violence.
Fotheringham, S., Wells, L., & Goulet, S. (2020). Strengthening the Circle: An International Review of Government Domestic Violence Prevention Plans and Inclusion of Indigenous Peoples. Violence Against Women.
Husso, M., Notko, M., Virkki, T., Holma, J., Laitila, A., & Siltala, H. (2020). Domestic Violence Interventions in Social and Health Care Settings: Challenges of Temporary Projects and Short-Term Solutions. Journal of Interpersonal Violence.
Jayasinghe, M., Selvanathan, E. A., & Selvanathan, S. (2020). Are Effects of Violence on Life Satisfaction Gendered? A Case Study of Indigenous Australians. Journal of Happiness Studies.
Kim, M. E. (2019). The Culture-Structure Framework: Beyond the Cultural Competence Paradigm. The Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare, 46(4).
Kim, M. E. (2020). Shifting the Lens: An Implementation Study of a Community-Based and Social Network Intervention to Gender-Based Violence. Violence Against Women.
MacKenzie, M., Gunaydin, E., & Chaudhuri, U. (2020). Illicit Military Behavior as Exceptional and Inevitable: Media Coverage of Military Sexual Violence and the “Bad Apples” Paradox. International Studies Quarterly.
McGinn, T., McColgan, M., & Taylor, B. (2017). Male IPV Perpetrator’s Perspectives on Intervention and Change: A Systematic Synthesis of Qualitative Studies. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 21(1), 97-112.
Noble-Carr, D., Moore, T., & McArthur, M. (2019). The Nature and Extent of Qualitative Research Conducted With Children About Their Experiences of Domestic Violence: Findings From a Meta-Synthesis. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse.
Supol, M., Satyen, L., Ghayour-Minaie, M., & Toumbourou, J. W. (2020). Effects of Family Violence Exposure on Adolescent Academic Achievement: A Systematic Review. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse.
Stylianou, A. M., Davis, S., & Washington, A. (2020). One Organization’s Approach to Balancing Survivor Empowerment with Mandated Child Abuse Reporting. Journal of Family Violence.
Tarzia, L., Forsdike, K., Feder, G., & Hegarty, K. (2017). Interventions in Health Settings for Male Perpetrators or Victims of Intimate Partner Violence. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 21(1), 123-137.
Tarzia, L. (2020). Toward an Ecological Understanding of Intimate Partner Sexual Violence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence.
Wydall, S., & Zerk, R. (2020). ‘Listen to me, his behaviour is erratic and I’m really worried for our safety . . .’: Help-seeking in the context of coercive control. Criminology & Criminal Justice.
In the media
Marcia Langton on Aboriginal women’s rights – A Podcast of One’s Own with Julia Gillard
2020 NT Local Hero: Shirleen Campbell, Family and domestic violence activist – Australian of the Year
Australia Day Honours 2020: Ludo McFerran receives AM for domestic violence activism – Bega District News
‘Silent, limp and in pain’: Push to unblur the lines of consent – Brisbane Times
Online resource helps Aboriginal kids in out-of-home care connect to culture – National Indigenous Times
Conferences & events
Events & Training
Melbourne, 3 February 2020: Introduction to working safely with men who use family violence
Melbourne, 4 February 2020: Supporting Women in the Sex Industry and Women Trafficked for Sexual Exploitation Workshop (Also in Clayton, Vic and Wyndham Vale, Vic in February)
Sydney, 19 February 2020: Women’s Legal Service NSW: Meet the New LOIS (Legal Online Information Service) – 2020 Launch
Melbourne, 21 February 2020: Brazilian research endeavors in gender, violence and health: multi-sectoral approaches
Online, 26 February, 2020: What is child-focused supervision in adult-focused services and how does it work?
Sydney, 6 February 2020: Australian Critical Race & Whiteness Studies Annual Conference 2020
Melbourne, 13-14 February 2020: Respect. Prevent. Respond. Conference 2020 (Deakin University)
Sydney, 19 February 2020: Housing: the foundation for mental health (AHURI One-day Conference)
Melbourne, 27-28 February 2020: Advancing the Evidence: Migrant Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Conference
Melbourne, 1 April 2020: PreventX 2020
Adelaide, 28-30 April 2020: ANROWS National Research Conference: Evidence in Action
Brisbane, 13–14 May 2020: Queensland Indigenous Family Violence Prevention Forum (QIFVP)
Siem Reap, Cambodia, 26–29 May 2020: 10th Asia-Pacific conference on reproductive and sexual health and rights
Melbourne, 10-12 June 2020: AIFS 2020 Conference: What is a good life for families? And how do we get there?
Sweden, 30 June – 2 July, 2020: 23rd Conference of the Nursing Network on Violence Against Women International
Canberra, 10-11 August 2020: National Homelessness Conference 2020
Sydney, 21-22 October 2020: Evidence and Implementation Summit 2020
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