A descriptive study of juvenile family violence: Data from intervention order applications in a Childrens Court

Rosemary Purcell, Gennady N. Baksheev, Paul E. Mullen

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24 Citations (Scopus)


There is increasing recognition that family violence may be perpetrated by juveniles against their parents and siblings, however empirical research regarding the nature and causes of such violence is relatively limited. This study examines juvenile family violence in the context of an Intervention Order (IO) being sought against a relative aged 18. years or less. All cases over a 3-year period involving an IO application in a major metropolitan Children's Court in Australia were analysed (n. =. 438). The majority of applicants/victims were parents (78%) and to a lesser extent siblings (11%) and other relatives (9%). Most parents who sought applications were mothers (63%) and one-parent households were over-represented (66%). The majority of defendants/perpetrators were male (69%), though juvenile females constituted a significant minority (31%). Intervention orders were sought to prohibit property damage (61%), physical assaults (59%) and/or threats (53%). According to the victim reports, these behaviours emerged in the context of prolonged behavioural problems (49%), a desire to intimidate the victim (12%) or retaliation (8%). While 44% of IO applications were granted, the majority were not (56%) due to the victim discontinuing the application prior to a formal hearing. Of the orders that were granted, a third (32%) were subsequently reported as having been breached. Juvenile family violence is a serious social problem that requires more systematic research to identify the correlates of this behaviour and effective interventions to prevent or reduce its occurrence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)558-563
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Law and Psychiatry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Assault
  • Family violence
  • Intervention order
  • Juvenile
  • Threats

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