This release presents information from the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) 2016 Personal Safety Survey (PSS).
The survey collected detailed information from men and women about their experiences of violence since the age of 18, as well as experiences of current and previous partner violence, stalking, physical and sexual abuse and harassment, abuse before the age of 15, and general feelings of safety.Approximately 50% of women ‘who had children in their care when they experienced violence by a current partner reported that the children had seen or heard the violence’. Further, almost 70% of women who had children in their care when they ‘experienced violence by a previous partner reported that the children had seen or heard the violence’. Further, approximately 60% of men ‘who had children in their care when they experienced violence by a previous partner reported that the children had seen or heard the violence’. See Tables 17-18 for further detail.
This report usefully compiles and summarises current statistics on family violence, domestic violence and sexual violence from multiple sources. Its key points are:
The report also identifies important gaps in the current research on family, domestic and sexual violence. No or limited data is available on:
This literature review cites statistics from a US study, the statistics were collected from household census data from over 20,000 households (G. Fox and M. Benson ‘Violent men, bad dads? Fathering profiles of men involved in intimate partner violence.’ In R. Day & M. Lamb (Eds.), Conceptualizing and measuring father involvement. (Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers, 2004)):
Filicide is the killing of a child by a parent or parent equivalent. Between 2000–01 and 2011–12, there were 238 incidents of filicide in Australia involving the death of 284 children. This paper examines the characteristics of custodial parents, non-custodial parents and step-parents charged with the murder or manslaughter of their children.Offender circumstances and characteristics differed according to the offender’s gender and custodial relationship with the victim. As filicide is difficult to predict, intervention strategies should focus on families with multiple risk factors and address the needs of parents as well as those of children at risk.
This comprehensive state of knowledge paper is the first of a three part mixed-methods research project addressing parenting and abuse tactics. This paper presents the current state of knowledge on parenting in the context of DFV by examining the following four research questions:
This review identifies that DFV may impact negatively on women and children and the parenting capacity of both perpetrators and victims is affected. Altered mother--child relationships may occur due to deliberate undermining of the mother’s parenting, and children are often used by perpetrators as tools to abuse mothers and exert control and coercion (p 2).
The report points out that violence does not end when couples separate. It specifically identifies the legal system as a tool of abuse used by perpetrators, and that poor understanding by legal professionals can heighten the risks for women and children (p 2).
Although there is limited information on the parenting style of abusive fathers, abusive men as fathers have been characterised by researchers and victims as authoritarian, under-involved, self-centred and manipulative. These men also engage in high levels of substance abuse. Children exposed to partner violence in the home by their father/stepfather are at heightened risk of child maltreatment including child sexual abuse (p 2).
The report suggests that supportive care includes improved understanding and collaboration between child protection, family law, and domestic violence advocacy services (p 2).
The report also identified issues with forced contact through court:
This article discusses the relationship between domestic violence responses, child protection responses and family law responses, where a child witnesses or experiences domestic violence. It identifies that (p467):
‘Where domestic violence responses, child protection responses and family law responses collide, a mother may simultaneously be constructed as being responsible for protecting her children from the influence of an ex-partner’s violence, in need of support and protection herself, and responsible for facilitating the other parent’s contact with children.’‘Similarly, children may be simultaneously constructed as primary ‘victims’ in need of protection from exposure to parental violence, as secondary victims who can be protected from exposure to a father’s violence by supporting/protecting the mother, or as ‘witnesses’ of parental conflict who will benefit most from equal contact with both parents. Domestic violence itself is understood differently throughout these contested discourses…’
This paper presents a helpful overview of relevant literature. It identifies that children who live in homes characterised by violence between parents, or directed at one parent by another, have been called the 'silent', 'forgotten', 'unintended', 'invisible' and/or 'secondary' victims of domestic violence.
It summarises the research that demonstrates that witnessing domestic and family violence can involve a broad range of incidents, including the child:
It summarises research on the impact of domestic and family violence on children in the aftermath of violence including:
This review identifies that:
This Bulletin discusses the National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence, the first comprehensive nationwide US survey of the incidence and prevalence of children’s exposure to violence Conducted between January and May 2008, it measured the past-year and lifetime exposure to violence for children age 17 and younger across several major categories: conventional crime, child maltreatment, victimization by peers and siblings, sexual victimization, witnessing and indirect victimization (including exposure to community violence and family violence), school violence and threats, and Internet victimization.The study found (inter alia) that children who were exposed to one type of violence, both within the past year and over their lifetimes, were at far greater risk of experiencing other types of violence. For example, a child who was physically assaulted in the past year would be five times as likely to also have been sexually victimized and more than four times as likely also to have been maltreated during that period. Similarly, a child who was physically assaulted during his or her lifetime would be more than six times as likely to have been sexually victimized and more than five times as likely to have been maltreated during his or her lifetime.
This article investigates children’s experiences with domestic and family violence (DFV), through interviews with 21 children who have been victims of DFV (p 7). The results indicate that children are aware of patterns of coercive control, and the impacts of such abuse (pp 10-3). Such experiences result in an increased sense of constraint, which children may develop specific strategies to cope with (pp 14-6).Significantly, the article raises children’s direct agency in coping with, and responding to, DFV, highlighting the inaccuracy of treating children as merely passive witnesses (pp 17-20). Accordingly, the authors recommend that professional responses to DFV better recognise children’s agency, moving beyond perceptions of them as passive witnesses, and tailor strategies for children as direct victims (pp 22, 23-4).