Adolescent violence study targets home setting

Adjournment debate

My matter is for the Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence. It complements other speeches that I have previously made here in the (Legislative) Council about the problem of adolescent violence in Victoria – and the need for wrap-around, systemic, holistic approaches to this form of violence.

Let me add that I have also certainly valued my various face-to-face conversations with Minister Williams about this topic – and I know that she is very well aware of its significance. 

My matter tonight follows the very exciting news last month that ANROWS (Australian National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety) has been funded to undertake a detailed project identifying and tracking the needs of families from marginalised populations who may be experiencing adolescent violence in the home.   

This work will build on ANROWS’ own comprehensive ‘Positive Interventions for Perpetrators of Adolescent Violence in the Home’ report from last year.  It will also supplement the 2015 ‘Opportunities For Early Intervention’ study by the Centre for Innovative Justice, and the full chapter on adolescent violence within the final report of the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence.  Each of those documents has very clearly identified the need for more considered and systemic responses to adolescent violence. 

There’s certainly not time tonight to talk about all of the considerable implications and impacts of adolescent violence in the home – or even all of the key ones, for that matter.  Suffice to say, that the manifestation of violent behaviour during adolescence can, subsequently, be very consequential if not effectively addressed.  It is often a precursor to further antisocial and cognitive problems, and sustained periods of criminal offending.  

One of the reasons that these problems recur is that most current interventions and responses continue to focus on specific adolescent violence incidents themselves rather than setting them in the wider context of all that is happening within the relevant family. 

Frankly, that’s why the ANROWS project is so well targeted.  Specifically, its purpose will be to compile a range of evidence to aid more effective intervention – especially through a whole-of-family, collaborative practice framework that relevant individuals and organisations can ultimately administer.

If it can indeed achieve that, the benefits should be substantial and far-reaching.

The action I seek is an outline of the extent of the Victorian Government’s involvement and interaction with this project. 

I ask that particularly as I would like to gain some insight from the Minister about the degree to which the project’s findings are likely to have a bearing on Victorian Government policy and services in this field in the future.