More than 70 practitioners and policy-makers from across Western Australia attended the Child protection, domestic violence, and perpetrator interventions: Meeting the challenges of collaboration symposium in Perth this past Friday. A roundtable breakfast briefing hosted by the Hon. Simone McGurk MLA preceded the symposium and was attended by 20 decision-makers, including Chief Magistrate of the Magistrates Court Western Australia Steven Heath, and President of the Children’s Court of WA His Honour Denis Reynolds.
The symposium, at which ANROWS’s PATRICIA Project and perpetrator interventions research were explored, was co-convened by ANROWS and the Western Australia Department of Communities, and was opened by the Hon. Simone McGurk, Minister for Child Protection, Women’s Interests, Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence, and Community Services. It featured presentations from the University of Melbourne’s Professor Cathy Humphreys, Curtin University’s Professor Donna Chung, Ralph Mogridge of Ralph Mogridge & Associates, Australian National University’s Professor Victoria Hovane, University of Western Australia’s Professor Colleen Fisher, and the Association for Services to Torture and Trauma Survivors' (ASeTTS) Elizabeth Lang.
Drawing on the PATRICIA research, Professor Humphreys highlighted the need to accurately identify and document cases of domestic violence in child protection file notes, attribute blame to perpetrators, and recognise that separation does not always prevent violence and should not inhibit access to services. The importance of an integrated service focus and partnerships that support collaboration between child protection and domestic and family services were also acknowledged.
Professor Hovane gave a powerful presentation on considerations for working with family violence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities. She encouraged Aboriginal-led, place-based solutions to family violence in Aboriginal communities that draw on Aboriginal culture and law and that involve Aboriginal men working with Aboriginal men.
Also featured was ANROWS’s research currently underway into Best practice principles for interventions with domestic and family violence perpetrators in refugee communities, as well as the Invisible practices: Intervention with fathers who use violence project.
Following the formal presentations was a panel discussion about collaboration in practice, facilitated by Professor Humphreys. Panel members included Ralph Mogridge, Professor Hovane, Stacey Collins of the Department of Communities, Amanda Gillett of the Metropolitan Migrant Resource Centre, and Rod West from Centrecare.
The symposium was closed by the Assistant Director General, Strategy and Policy, Scott Hollingworth of the Department of Communities, who thanked and acknowledged ANROWS and the presenters for translating this important research, and emphasised the Western Australian government’s commitment to applying evidence-based approaches into domestic violence and child protection policy, practice, and systems.