STACY for Children
Safe and Together Addressing ComplexitY focusing on children
This project explored the co-occurrence of domestic and family violence (DFV) when parents have challenges relating to mental health and the problematic use of alcohol and other drugs. In the context of families, these issues significantly impact children. However, in adult-focused services there is a tendency for the needs of children to become invisible.
The project found evidence that a coordinated approach is needed to address these complex intersecting issues and to enable practitioners to work with each individual member of the family. The study found that when the Safe & Together Model™ is implemented holistically, with strong collaborative practice across agencies, it leads to better outcomes for children and families affected by DFV and parental alcohol and other drug use, and/or mental health challenges.
The project drew upon practitioner experiences from speciality DFV services, NGO family services, alcohol and other drug services, mental services and statutory child protection agencies in services across Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. Young people, mothers and fathers who were also interviewed for the study reported that their experiences with workers trained in the Safe & Together Model were more positive than their experiences with workers who were not trained to apply the Model.
The trained practitioners also reported they were better able to recognise the centrality of children in the patterns of power and control used by perpetrators of DFV. The report found that this kind of child-focussed practice at the intersections of DFV, problematic use of alcohol and other drugs, and challenges with mental health, can only emerge in an authorising environment, such as that created in Queensland.
This research was developed in collaboration with the Queensland Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women, and jointly funded by ANROWS and the Queensland Government. It built upon earlier ANROWS projects, including the PATRICIA project (PaThways and Research Into Collaborative Inter-Agency practice) and Invisible Practices: Interventions with fathers who use violence, that both centred on the Safe & Together Model. It is part of a broader suite of interconnected research, including the Safe & Together Addressing ComplexitY (STACY) report and accompanying guidelines, funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services.
Principal Chief Investigator
Professor Cathy Humphreys, Professor of Social Work, Department of Social Work, University of Melbourne
Dr Arno Parolini, Senior Research Fellow, Department of Social Work, University of Melbourne
Dr Lucy Healey, Honorary Research Fellow, Department of Social Work, University of Melbourne
Dr Margaret Kertesz, Research Fellow, University of Melbourne
Dr Menka Tsantefski, Senior Lecturer, Department of Human Services and Social Work, Griffith University
Dr Susan Heward-Belle, Senior Lecturer, School of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney
Professor Patrick O’Leary, Griffith University
Jasmin Isobe, Research worker, University of Melbourne
Dr Wei Wu Tan, Research Fellow, University of Melbourne
Colleen Jeffreys, Research Fellow, University of Melbourne
Anna Bornemisza, Research worker, University of Melbourne
Dr Amy Young, Research worker, Griffith University
Larissa Fogden, Research worker, University of Melbourne
Safe & Together Addressing ComplexitY for Children (STACY for Children): Key findings and future directionsDownload
Final Report: Working at the intersections of domestic and family violence, parental substance misuse and/or mental health issuesDownload
Practice Guide: Working at the intersections of domestic and family violence, parental substance misuse and/or mental health issuesDownload
Working with complexity
This webinar launches a suite of interconnected research, the Safe & Together Addressing ComplexitY (STACY) and Safe & Together addressing ComplexitY for children (STACY for Children) along with accompanying resources, including two STACY practice guides.
Drawing on the research projects, the panel of researchers, practitioners and policymakers discuss, including:
- how the Safe & Together Model works in practice in adult-focused services
- the impact of collaborative, holistic practice in addressing DFV and keeping children safe
- why an authorising environment is needed to support organisational and practice change
- future directions for research, and policy and service change.
- Professor Cathy Humphreys, University of Melbourne
- Julieann Cork, QLD Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women
- Anne Tidyman, Odyssey House Victoria
- Lorna McNamara, NSW Ministry of Health
Facilitated by Michele Robinson, ANROWS
Children need to be the focus of domestic and family violence services, study findsFind out more
PATRICIA project (PaThways and Research Into Collaborative Inter-Agency practice)Find out more
Invisible practices: Intervention with fathers who use violenceFind out more
STACY – Safe and Together Addressing ComplexityFind out more