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Adolescent family violence in Australia: A national study of prevalence, history of childhood victimisation and impacts

This report, the first to emerge from a larger project examining adolescent family violence (AFV) in Australia, centres the voices of young people who have used AFV, providing insight that has until now been lacking into how these young people make sense of their use, and in some cases their experiences, of violence in the home. 

The research engaged directly with more than 5,000 young people aged 16 to 20 via a survey yielding both quantitative and qualitative data. The report contains findings about the AFV experiences of particular groups of young people, for example gender-diverse young people and young people with disability, as well as young people’s rationales for using AFV and the impacts of this kind of violence.

One in five (20%) survey respondents reported using any form of AFV, with verbal abuse the most common form, and siblings and mothers were most at risk of being subjected to AFV. Eighty-nine per cent of young people who had used AFV reported previous experiences of child abuse: this significant overlap suggests a critical need for primary prevention strategies to respond to the risk of both child abuse and AFV occurring. It also further underscores the need to support children and young people as victims and survivors of domestic and family violence in their own right.

While a broad definition of disability was used in the research, findings show a positive association between disability and the use of AFV, and the authors suggest that this nexus is a critical avenue for future research to explore. Associate Professor Georgina Sutherland is leading a project in this area within the ANROWS Core research program, “Building a framework to prevent and respond to young people with disability who use violence at home”. A conceptual review has been produced as part of this project, and a larger report will be published later in 2022.



Publication details

This work is part of the ANROWS research reports series. ANROWS research reports are in-depth reports on empirical research produced under ANROWS’s research program.


Director, Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre, Monash University
Associate Professor of Criminology, Faculty of Arts, Monash University

Leneen Forde Chair of Child and Family Research, Griffith University

Research Manager, Violence against Women and Children Research Program, Australian Institute of Criminology

Professor, Centre for Women’s Studies and Gender Research, Sociology, Monash University

Professor of Education and Social Justice, Monash University

ISBN: 978-1-922645-39-5 (paperback) | 978-1-922645-40-1 (PDF)
82 pp.

Suggested citation

Fitz-Gibbon, K., Meyer, S., Maher, J., & Roberts, S. (2022). Adolescent family violence in Australia: A national study of prevalence, history of childhood victimisation and impacts (Research report, 15/2022). ANROWS.

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