Connecting the dots: Understanding the DFV experiences of children and young people with disability within and across sectors
Previous research has found that disability services are regularly and notably absent from cross-sector collaborative responses to domestic and family violence, and a lack of understanding, resources, awareness of or education about people with disability has led to a lack of “disability literacy” among mainstream services. Alongside this, disability services lack expertise around violence.
This presents challenges for both data capture and the development of more effective responses which improve access and support disability- and violence-informed practice.
There is currently no evidence on the national prevalence of children and young people with disability experiencing DFV as captured in existing national data sets or on the service needs, priorities and access of children and young people with disability experiencing domestic and family violence.
This project aimed to:
- Scope and map current data capture of children and young people with disability experiencing domestic and family violence, identifying gaps and limitations and mapping new intersections unique to this population.
- Develop a new understanding of the support and service needs, priorities and perspectives of children and young people with disability experiencing domestic and family violence, as well as system barriers and enablers.
- Determine steps to bring service processes into better alignment with children and young people’s priorities.
The project used a mixed-methods approach in four stages:
- Stage 1: The use of population-level, state-linked data for a cohort of children born in Western Australia from 1990 to 2009. Researchers identified children’s disability status and incidences of domestic and family violence within their household through a combination of health, hospital and police records.
- Stage 2: The analysis of a random sample of child protection case files from within a metropolitan region within South Australia.
- Stage 3: Interviews capturing the experiences and perspectives of 36 children and young people (between eight and 20), 14 family members and 46 practitioners.
- Stage 4: A series of workshops with key stakeholders who advised the researchers on priorities from the findings for practice and policy.
This project develops a picture of the prevalence and extent of children and young people with disability exposed to domestic and family violence in Australia, with additional focus on intersecting forms of difference and marginalisation. It centres the experiences and priorities of children and young people with disability who have experienced domestic and family violence and ensures any policy and practice recommendations are child-focused.
This project highlights implications for improving policy and practice across intersecting disability, child and violence domains. It begins to address one of the evidence gaps identified in the 2020 interim report of the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability. The report concluded that there is an omission of people with disability from national data collections and a lack of analysis of data on violence and disability, and therefore limited evidence to inform government.
The nature and extent of domestic and family violence exposure for children and young people with disabilityView more
Connecting the dots: Understanding the domestic and family violence experiences of children and young people with disability within and across sectors: Final reportView more
Connecting what matters: Children and young people with disability and their families share their views on how services can help when they experience domestic and family violenceView more
Professor Sally Robinson, Disability and Community Inclusion, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Flinders University
Associate Professor Melissa O’Donnell, Australian Centre for Child Protection, University of South Australia
Professor kylie valentine, Social Policy Research Centre, University of New South Wales
Associate Professor Tim Moore, Australian Centre for Child Protection, University of South Australia
Dr Amy Marshall, Disability and Community Inclusion, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Flinders University
Jala Burton, Disability and Community Inclusion, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Flinders University
Dr Olivia Octoman, Australian Centre For Child Protection, University of South Australia
Dr Martine Hawkes, Australian Centre For Child Protection, University of South Australia
Fernando Lima, Australian Centre For Child Protection, University of South Australia
Professor Chris Brebner, Centre For Innovation in Teaching and Learning, Flinders University
Dr Carol Orr, School of Population and Global Health, University of Western Australia
Professor Fiona Arney, Director, Arney Chong Consulting
Dr Ciara Smyth, Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW Sydney
This project is funded by Australian Commonwealth, state and territory governments under ANROWS’s 2020–2022 Core Grant round.
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