Education and Arts

Youth Development Expert visits ACU

The Faculty has been delighted to welcome Professor Todd Herrenkohl, University of Washington as a Distinguished Visiting Research Fellow in January and February.

Professor Herrenkohl is an internationally renowned expert on violence prevention and promoting resilience in young people.  His work examines health-risk behaviours in children exposed to violence and methods and approaches to promoting wellness in these children.

During his visit to ACU, he has presented his work in Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney.  He has also held meetings with community organisations, ACU staff, Early Career Researchers and students.

Professor Gail Crossley, Executive Dean, said that she was pleased that Professor Herrenkohl was able to share his expertise and knowledge with so many staff, students and stakeholders.

"Professor Herrenkohl's visit has been a real success and we look forward to working with him again in the future," she said. 

Below are three reports on his recent presentations in Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney.

31 January 2013 – Canberra

The Institute for Child Protection Studies hosted a seminar on Bridges, Bonds and Barriers – Exploring the Needs and Experiences of Vulnerable Children and Young People.

Professor Herrenkohl spoke on the health and mental health consequences of children's exposure to family violence and adversity. Debbie Noble-Carr, a Research Associate with the Institute, presented the initial findings from her qualitative study 'Identity and Meaning for Vulnerable Young People', which explores the role and potency that concepts such as identity and a search for meaning have in the lives of vulnerable young people.

The seminar had a fantastic response, and was fully booked with 150 people attending. A recording of the presentation will be available on the Institute's website soon. To be notified when the link is available, contact

7 February 2013 - Melbourne

Professor Todd Herrenkohl spoke on the topic of Developmental and Social Contexts of Bullying and Violence at the recent National School of Psychology colloquium which was attended by staff, students and representatives from the Catholic Education Office and the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood.

The presentation reviewed research on the risks and consequences of bullying and violence, focusing particularly on "cycle of violence" hypotheses.  Models of prevention and intervention programs to reduce violence and promote resilience in young people were discussed.

Bullying in schools occurs with alarming frequency and is a leading public health problem for which a systematic approach to prevention is required.  Research shows that those who bully—and those who are bullied– are less well adjusted, have higher levels of conduct problems, and are less well adjusted emotionally.  To prevent bullying and other conduct problems in youth, researchers seek to identify risk and protective factors that can serve as targets for intervention.

18 February 2013 – North Sydney

Professor Herrenkohl gave a Dean's Special Lecture on the subject of Health and Mental Health Consequences of Children's Exposure to Family Violence and Adversity: Social Development, Resilience, and Prevention.

The lecture featured recently published findings on the long-term impacts of child maltreatment and children's exposure to early adversity.  The presentation also touched on the developmental underpinnings of resilience and the ways in which prevention and school-based programs can support the health and well-being of young people.

Guests at the lecture included staff from across ACU and representatives from NSW Ministry of Health, the Department of Family and Community Services, the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, Canterbury Community Health Centre, Liverpool Hospital and Rivendell Child Adolescent Mental Health Centre.

Professor Herrenkohl at the North Sydney Special Dean's Lecture Professor Herrenkohl at the North Sydney Special Dean's Lecture