Adolescent family violence in Australia: A national study of prevalence, history of childhood victimisation and impacts
Sep 23, 2022
Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) recently released a research report titled, “Adolescent family violence in Australia: A national study of prevalence, history of childhood victimisation and impacts”. The report, from a larger project examining adolescent family violence (AFV) in Australia, provides insight through the voices of young people who have used AFV into how they make sense of their use, and in some cases their experiences of violence in the home. This research contributes to greater understanding of the prevalence and nature of, and responses to, AFV from the perspectives of young people.
One in five young people surveyed self-reported to have used violence against a family member, with the most common form being verbal abuse. Only a small proportion of young people reported more severe types of abuse. The average age of onset was eleven years old, and 55% percent of young people's violence in the home was deemed to be recurring, on at least a monthly basis.
Consistent with other research, there appears to be overlap between experiences of child abuse and use of violence against a family member with 46% of young people who had experienced abuse also had used violence against a family member. Young people who had both witnessed and experienced abuse were 9.2 times more likely to use violence in the home than those who had not had these experiences.
The implications for policy and practice highlight the need for timely, trauma-informed specialist recovery and support services, and strategies to reduce the risk and impacts of both short and long-term intergenerational violence. Given the high rates of poly-victimisation during childhood, the need for child-centred risk and needs assessment was also discussed.