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Violence against women and their children affects everybody. It impacts on the health, wellbeing and safety of a significant proportion of Australians throughout all states and territories and places an enormous burden on the nation’s economy across family and community services, health and hospitals, income-support and criminal justice systems.

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ANROWS was established by the Commonwealth and all state and territory governments of Australia to produce, disseminate and assist in applying evidence for policy and practice addressing violence against women and their children.

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To support the take-up of evidence, ANROWS offers a range of resources developed from research to support practitioners and policy-makers in delivering evidence-based interventions.


RESEARCH REPORT

The nature and extent of domestic and family violence exposure for children and young people with disability

Children with disability are known to experience violence at higher rates than children without disability. However, little is known about how prevalent experiences of domestic and family violence (DFV) are among children with disability and the scope of potential harms this violence creates.

This report presents findings from Phase 1 of a larger project entitled “Connecting the dots: Understanding the domestic and family violence experiences of children and young people with disability within and across sectors”. Phase 1 used population-level, state-linked data from a cohort of children born in Western Australia from 1990 to 2009 to examine the extent of children with disability’s exposure to DFV. To further their analysis, the research team also used a random sample of child protection case files from within a metropolitan region within South Australia.

The research found that children with disability are twice as likely to have a mother hospitalised due to a DFV assault (8% compared to 4%) and that, according to police and hospital data, children with disability made up approximately 30 per cent of children who had experienced DFV. Children with disability were also far more likely than children without disability to have child protection involvement and enter out-of-home care.

Child protection case file analysis revealed more about children and young people’s experiences. Researchers found that the perpetrator of DFV often directed violence towards children as well as mothers. They also found violence negatively impacted children’s and families’ access to services and that mothers may feel unable to leave violence due to a lack of viable housing options that meet their child’s needs.

 

 

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.

 


 

Authors

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

ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR MELISSA O’DONNELL  
Australian Centre for Child Protection, University of South Australia

DR CAROL ORR
School of Population and Global Health, University of Western Australia

PROFESSOR FIONA ARNEY  
Director, Arney Chong Consulting

ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR TIM MOORE  
Australian Centre for Child Protection, University of South Australia

PROFESSOR SALLY ROBINSON  
Disability and Community Inclusion, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Flinders University

PROFESSOR kylie valentine
Social Policy Research Centre, University of New South Wales

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

PROFESSOR CHRIS BREBNER  
Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching, Flinders University


ISBN: 978-1-922645-48-7 (print) | 978-1-922645-49-4 (online)

71 pp.


Suggested citation

Octoman, O., Hawkes, M., Lima, F., O’Donnell, M., Orr, C., Arney, F., Moore, T., Robinson, S., valentine, k., Marshall, A., Burton, J., & Brebner, C. (2022). The nature and extent of domestic and family violence exposure for children and young people with disability (Research report, 16/2022). ANROWS.

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