Prof Morag McArthur, Prof Daryl Higgins

Dr Debbie Scott (Monash University, Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre)

Funding Source:

Department of Social Services (DSS), Australian Government


The risk factors for child abuse and neglect, and the intersection of family and domestic violence services with related systems such as statutory child protection services, is a key objective in the National Framework for Protecting Australia's Children 2009-2020. Additionally, the Victorian Government's 2015-16 Royal Commission into Family Violence noted that children are 'frequently marginalised' in current responses to family violence, and there is a need for stronger links between child protection, specialist family violence services, and other service providers which respond to family violence.

DSS commissioned this study to:

  • Develop a profile of the children and families reported to child protection with issues of domestic and family violence;
  • Identify and map service responses, including the use of safety plans and other actions taken, such as referrals; and,
  • Identify implications for how community-based and government services can better recognise and respond to violence.

Part 1 of the study will include a quantitative analysis of child protection files, in which researchers will analyse and compare characteristics between families where family violence has been identified; and those where no family violence has been identified, in two jurisdictions. Part 2 will include qualitative interviews with child protection practitioners and non-government agency workers, to understand the nature of interventions and decision-making, and implications for safety and well-being of both mothers and children.

This project aims to be completed by June 2018.

For more information about this project, contact Morag McArthur.


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