Media release: New research into domestic violence, parenting and child protection

Wednesday, 21st June 2017

Dame Quentin Bryce to launch new research into domestic violence, parenting and child protection

Child protection, domestic violence, and legal services need a greater understanding of how domestic violence impacts parenting to help authorities better ensure the safety of women and their children. 

This is the key finding from two significant new reports commissioned by ANROWS. The reports are being launched today in Brisbane by former Governor General of Australia Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVO at a national symposium to consider the results of the research and the implications for domestic violence and child protection policy and practice.

The research report, PAThways and Research Into Collaborative Inter-Agency practice (The PATRICIA Project) was led by University of Melbourne’s domestic and family violence experts Professor Cathy Humphreys and Dr Lucy Healey. Domestic and Family Violence and Parenting was led by Dr Rae Kaspiew from the Australian Institute of Family Studies.
ANROWS CEO, Dr Heather Nancarrow said “this is something every state and territory government in Australia has been grappling with for many years. It is a complex area and this research is already informing policy and practice reform in some jurisdictions to better respond to the impact of domestic violence on children”. 

The symposium will be opened by the Hon Shannon Fentiman MP, Queensland’s minister for the prevention of domestic and family violence.

The reports’ findings include:
•    Children whose parents have a history of domestic violence had poorer levels of wellbeing, even after their parents have separated.
•    Increased collaboration between child protection and specialist domestic violence services should be supported with formal protocols, joint training, and agreements about information sharing. 
•    Child protection and family law services should include greater focus on the implications of family violence, offering a more individualised and nuanced assessment of a child’s needs that is informed by relevant experts. 
•    The fragmented system of service delivery to women and children affected by violence is open to exploitation, as are other aspects of the system, including private law, mediation, family dispute resolution, and adversarial processes for making parenting arrangements. 
•    Programs that engage fathers who use violence should be developed further to address the impact of abuse on children.

Ms Bryce, Minister Fentiman, Dr Nancarrow, and AIFS director Anne Hollonds will be available for interview. Professor Humphreys and Dr Healey will present their findings and be available for interview. 

WHAT:    Child protection and domestic violence: Meeting the challenges of collaboration
WHEN:    9.30 am – 4.30 pm, Friday 23 June 2017
WHERE: M4, mezzanine level, Brisbane Convention Centre Merivale Street, South Brisbane

Media enquiries:    Michele Robinson, ANROWS Director Evidence to Action, 
            Phone: +61 417 780 556    Email: michele.robinson@anrows.org.au
Cheryl Critchley, Media advisor, University of Melbourne
            Phone: +61 466 322 872     Email: cheryl.critchley@unimelb.edu.au

 Parenting PATRICIA media release