Successful Forum on Adolescent Family Violence

On November 28 2018, the IJC hosted a successful forum on adolescent perpetrators of family violence. This sensitive and difficult subject raised a great deal of interest across the public service, and across states. Participants took part via video-conference or phone from WA, Victoria, NSW, ACT and Queensland. IJC Forums are aimed at public service policy makers and program designers, and speakers are encouraged to share learning based on failures as well as success.

Presenters included Carolyn Newbigin and Kristina Bustamente (senior policy officers in NSW Juvenile Justice [JJ]) who set out the context of the issue based on their work developing the NSW JJ Domestic violence strategy. Christine Franks (Aboriginal Practice Officer, Northern Region NSW JJ) and Yvonne Weldon (Manager,NSW JJ Aboriginal Strategic Coordination Unit) described the theory behind, and delivery of the successful My Journey My Life program, which works with young Aboriginal men. Senior Constable Michael Beilken (Victorian Police Family Violence Practioner of the Year) has been the driver behind the Family Violence Youth Diversion program at Moorabbin Children’s Court, and he described the development of the program in conjunction with other stakeholders like MOIRA and headspace. Dave Burck designed and co-delivered the ReNew program, through the Domestic Violence Action Centre and Carinity in the Ipswich region of Queensland. This attachment program focuses on rebuilding relationships between young men and their mothers/aunts/sisters/grandmothers.

Two additional presentations are available to those who registered for the Forum, as audio power-points. Lauren Moulds outlines the development of the KIND project in South Australia’ Youth Justice, and the reasons why the pilot study was not continued. Elena Campbell of RMIT has shared the research of her Centre for Innovative Justice’s Positive Interventions for Perpetrators of Adolescent violence in the home (PIPA), funded by ANROWS.

The severe weather event in Sydney on the day of the Forum presented additional challenges. Our speakers had cancelled flights, one of the Co-chairs was also stuck in Canberra, and many participants had to revise travel and access plans because of the storms.

Despite these hurdles, participants and speakers alike shared valuable information which can be used across jurisdictions to better develop effective responses to this challenging problem.