Barriers to help seeking for women victims of adolescent family violence: A Victorian (Australian) case study

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Adolescent family violence (AFV) has been the subject of little scholarly inquiry within Australia. Recent reviews undertaken at the state and national level reveal limited understandings of the experiences of victims alongside a failure of the system to provide effective responses both within the service system and the justice sector. Acknowledging the need for greater understandings of this complex form of family violence, this chapter draws on the findings of a qualitative Victorian study that collected practitioner views alongside first person accounts from people who had experienced AFV. It focuses specifically on the barriers women experience when seeking help for adolescent family violence, including the need for future reform to policy and practice. The analysis provides insights into the impact of AFV, experiences of shame and fear of stigma and why women report a reluctance to engage police as primary responders. The second half of the chapter explores the perceived inadequacy of existing support services and referral pathways as well as the opportunities for school-based interventions. Consistent with previous research, the chapter demonstrates that the complex needs of adolescents who use violence in the home and those caring for them may require specialist service responses outside of the criminal justice system and argues that existing paradigms of family violence need to be extended to better capture and address the impacts of AFV.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationYoung People Using Family Violence
EditorsKate Fitz-Gibbon, Heather Douglas, JaneMaree Maher
Place of PublicationGateway East, Singapore
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9789811613319
ISBN (Print)9789811613302
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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