Dr Bernadette Saunders

Senior Lecturer / Master of Social Work (Qualifying) On Campus Co-ordinator

Email: Bernadette.Saunders@med.monash.edu.au

Telephone: +61 3 9903 4784
Facsimile: +61 3 9903 1141


Dr Saunders, PhD (Monash) MSW (H1Equiv.)  (Monash) Dip Ed (Monash) BSW (Melb) BA (Social Science) (LaTrobe) was invited  to join the Department of Social Work in 1996 as a sessional tutor/lecturer and  as a researcher in the Child Abuse and Family Violence Research Centre, later  known as Child Abuse Prevention Research Australia (CAPRA) where she was on  secondment as a Senior Research Fellow from 2007 until 2010. She is currently a  Senior Lecturer in social work and is the Coordinator of the Master of Social  Work (Qualifying) (On-Campus). She also coordinates and teaches SWM5101 Human  Rights, Law and Ethics at the Masters level, SWK4030 Human  Rights, Legal and Ethical Social Work Practice at the undergraduate  level, and SWM5160 Masters elective unit - The Child in Society:  Promoting Child Wellbeing and Responding to Child Maltreatment.
Dr Saunders previously  worked in the field of Medical Social Work, particularly in the area of cancer  and terminal illness. As part of her MSW at Monash, she conducted a program  evaluation of a specialised home-based care foster agency program, and she co-authored  a non-commercial book critiquing structured risk assessment in child protection  – available here

The initial Australian Research Council (ARC)  funded research project in which she participated explored risk assessment in  child protection practice and the response of community professionals to  mandatory reporting legislation. As part of a Queensland Crime Commission  inquiry: Project Axis, she co-authored a chapter on child sexual abuse and the  media.

In 2005, Dr Saunders completed a PhD which  involved interviews with children, parents, grand-parents and professionals,  and focused on legally sanctioned physical punishment of children, children’s  rights, and the intergenerational transmission of family violence. Her research  was funded by the ARC and the Australian Childhood Foundation as part of an  Australian Post-Graduate Award (Industry). Later research projects include:

Dr Saunders has presented at many national and  international conferences, and the media regularly consult her in relation to  the ‘smacking’ debate – a children’s rights issue about which she is  particularly passionate (see for example: https://theconversation.com/yes-physically-disciplining-kids-is-an-act-of-violence-31425 https://theconversation.com/a-wake-up-call-for-parents-who-smack-their-children-16461http://theconversation.com/parents-its-never-okay-to-hit-your-kids-8049http://theconversation.com/time-for-an-end-to-parental-tough-love-8688 http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=10393
Dr. Saunders has all been employed to conduct planning,  evaluation and research consultancies.


Bernadette Saunders Research: Monash University Research

PhD supervision  interests include:

All topics related to children, their status  and childhood; child well-being; child maltreatment; the physical punishment of  children, the intersection of law and disadvantaged groups of people.

Selected publications  include:

Saunders, B. J. (2017) “Words matter: Textual Abuse of Childhood in  the English-Speaking World, and the Role of Language in the Continuing Denial  of Children's Rights, International Journal of  Children's Rights. 25, 2, p. 519-536.

Saunders,  B. J.(2017) “Progress toward worldwide recognition of the child's  human right to dignity, physical integrity and protection from harm” in Ruck,  M., Peterson-Badali, M. & Freeman, M. (eds.) Handbook of Children's Rights: Global and  Multidisciplinary Perspectives. Abdingdon Oxon UK:  Routledge , p. 239-258.

Baidawi, S. , Mendes, P. &Saunders, B. J.(2017) “The complexities of cultural  support planning for Indigenous children in and leaving out-of-home care: The  views of service providers in Victoria, Australia”, Child  and Family Social Work. 22, 2, p. 731-740.

Baidawi, S. ,Saunders, B.& Mendes,  P. (2017) “Indigenous young people leaving  care: Questioning the gaps in official statistics”, Indigenous  Law Bulletin. 8, 28, p. 12-15.

Saunders,  B. J. & Goddard, C. (2017) “Some Australian children's perceptions of  physical punishment in childhood” in Kilkelly, U. & Lundy, L. (eds.) Children's  Rights (The Library of Essays on Family Rights), New York NY  USA:  Routledge , p. 603-615.

Mendes, P. ,  Baidawi, S.  &Saunders, B.(2016) “Indigenous  young people transitioning from out-of-home care (OOHC) in Victoria, Australia:  The perspectives of workers in Indigenous-specific and non-Indigenous  non-government services”, The International Indigenous  Policy Journal. 7, 3, 2.

Mendes, P. ,Saunders, B.&  Baidawi, S.  (2016) “Indigenous care leavers in Victoria”, Children and Families in Focus. 2, p. 62-66.

Saunders,  B. J. 2015 “Ending corporal punishment in childhood:  Advancing children's rights to dignity and respectful treatment” in Diduck, A.,  Peleg, N. & Reece, H. (eds.) Law in Society: Reflections on children, family, culture and  philosophy: Essays in Honour of Michael Freeman. . Leiden The  Netherlands:  Brill , p. 243-270.

Saunders,  B. J.  2015 “Physical punishment of children“, International Journal of Children's Rights. 23, 3, p. 661-666.

Brown, G.  A. ,  Petrakis,  M. ,  Flynn, C.  A. ,Saunders,  B. J.,  Mendes,  P.  &  Dragic, M.  (2015) “Social  Justice, Respect and Professional Integrity: The Social Work Discipline and  Profession as a Place of Congruence for Working Class Academics”, in Mitchell,  D., Wilson, J. Z. & Archer, V. (eds.) Bread and Roses: Voices of Australian Academics from the Working  Class. Rotterdam The Netherlands:  Sense  Publishers , p. 147 - 161.

Freeman,  M. D. F. &Saunders,  B. J.(2014) “Can we conquer  child abuse if we don't outlaw physical chastisement of children?“, International Journal of Children's Rights. 22, p. 681 - 709.

Saunders, B. J.,  Lansdell, G. T. ,  Eriksson, A. M.  &  Brown, M.  (2014) “The impact of the Victorian infringements system on  disadvantaged groups: findings from a qualitative study”, Australian  Journal of Social Issues. 49, 1, p. 45 – 66.

Brown, M. ,  Lansdell, G. T. ,Saunders, B. J.&  Eriksson, A. M.  (2013) “I'm sorry but you're just not that special ...'  reflecting on the 'special circumstances' provisions of the Infringements Act  2006 (Vic)” Current Issues in Criminal Justice. 24, 3, p. 375 - 393.

Lansdell,  G. T. ,Saunders, B. J.,  Eriksson,  A. M.  &  Brown, S. M. (2013) “Exploring  the injustice of imprisonment for fine default: the Taha case and achieving  social justice“, Alternative Law Journal, 38, 3, p. 160 - 164.

Saunders, B.J. (2013) ‘Ending the Physical Punishment of Children by Parents in the  English-speaking World: The Impact of Language, Tradition and Law’ International  Journal of Children’s Rights 21, 2, p. 278 - 304

Brown, M., Lansdell, G.,Saunders Band Eriksson, A  (2013) ‘I’m sorry but you’re just not that special …’ Reflecting on  the ‘Special Circumstances’ Provisions of the Infringements Act 2006 (Vic),  Currrent Issues in Criminal Justice, 24, 3, 375-393.

Lansdell, G., Eriksson, A.,Saunders, B., Brown, M.  (2012) ‘Infringement Notice Systems in Australia: a precarious blurring and  civil and criminal sanctions', 37(1) Alternative Law Journal, 41-45

Naylor, B., &Saunders, B.(2011). Parental  Discipline, Criminal Laws and Responsive Regulation. In M. Freeman (Ed.), Law  & Childhood Studies (pp. 506-530). Oxford: Oxford University  Press.

Saunders, B.,  & Cashmore, C. (2011), ‘Australia: The Ongoing Debate about Ending Physical  Punishment’ in Anne Smith and Joan Durrant (eds), Realizing the Rights  of Children: Global Progress towards Ending Physical Punishment. Dr  Saunders’ publications include:

Saunders, B.J.& Goddard, C. (2010), ‘Physical punishment in childhood: The rights of the  child’, Chichester, Wiley-Blackwell.

Naylor, B &Saunders, B.J.(2009), ‘Whose Rights?  Children, Parents and Discipline’, Alternative Law Journal, 34, 2,  80-85.

Saunders, B.J.& Goddard, C. (2008) ‘Some Australian Children's Perceptions of Physical  Punishment in Childhood’, Children & Society, 22, 405-417.

Saunders, B.J.& Goddard, C. (2007) ‘The importance of listening to children: A  qualitative study on the use of parental physical punishment in childhood in  Australia’, Social Development Issues – Special Issue – Child Protection  Challenges Worldwide, 29(3):33-46.

Saunders, B.J.and  Goddard. C. (2005) ‘The objectification of the child through language and  physical discipline: The debate on children’s rights continues’, in J. Mason  and T. Fattore (2005) (eds), Children Taken Seriously: In Policy and Practice,  Jessica Kingsley, Birmingham.

Saunders, B.J.and  Goddard, C.R. (2001) ‘The textual abuse of childhood in the English-speaking  world – The contribution of language to the denial of children’s rights’,  Childhood: A Global Journal of Child Research, 8 (4): 443-462.