Adolescent family violence

Adolescent family violence in Australia: examining service and legal system responses

Project contact: Dr Kate Fitz-Gibbon

In the last five years, the findings of state based inquiries and academic research have revealed a lack of integrated service and justice responses to adolescent family violence. Adolescent family violence refers to violence perpetrated by young people against family members, including physical, emotional, psychological, verbal, financial and/or sexual abuse by a child or adolescent against their parent, carer, sibling or other family member in the home (Royal Commission into Family Violence, 2016). The term is used most commonly to refer to the use of family violence by persons aged 10 to 17 years old.

Despite an increasing acknowledgement of the significant harms and impacts of this form of family violence, to date across Australian states and territories there is a lack of specialist service responses alongside an acknowledgement of the inadequacies of criminal justice responses in this area.

Read our recent article in The British Journal of SociologySibling violence: Understanding experiences, impacts, and the need for nuanced responses’ (Elliott, Fitz-Gibbon & Maher 2019), an output of our ongoing research.

Adolescent family violence symposium 2020 at Family Safety Victoria

MGFVPC researchers Associate Professor Silke Meyer and Dr Kate Fitz-Gibbon contributed to a one day symposium on adolescent family violence held by Family Safety Victoria and the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare Inc. The Symposium was held on 13th March 2020 at the State Library of Victoria. Silke and Kate presented on 'The experiences of young people and mothers affected by adolescent violence in the home'. You can watch the presentation via the Outcomes Practice Evidence Network website here or below.

Adolescent family violence workshop 2019

An inter-disciplinary workshop funded by the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia on adolescent family violence has been convened for 9-10 December 2019.

This interdisciplinary workshop will investigate the under-researched phenomena of adolescent family violence in Australia. By bringing together academics, practitioners and key international experts, the workshop aims to critically examine and address documented inadequacies and gaps in criminal justice and support services’ responses to family violence in Australia. This collaboration will generate the new knowledge required to identify and explore the merits and effectiveness of current and emerging responses and will produce recommendations for policy and practice across Australia.



This workshop will include academic participants who bring criminological, sociological, gender studies, social work, psychological and legal perspectives to the study of adolescent family violence in Australia, including:

Professor Tamara Walsh

Dave Burck

Jo Howard

Dr Elena Campbell

Dr Silke Meyer

Liana Buchanan

Honourable Marcia Neave

Lauren Moulds

Dr Andrew McGrath

Professor Sarah Wendt

Associate Professor Kris Natalier

Associate Professor Jan Breckenridge

Associate Professor Michael Flood

Dr Emma Colvin

Dr Jasmine McGowan

Michael Livingstone

Leigh Goodmark

Caroline Miles

Further research