Disrupting pathways into family violence

Wed Jun 01 2022 at 05:30 pm to 08:00 pm

Napier lecture theatre (102) | Adelaide

Healthy Development Adelaide - HDA
Publisher/HostHealthy Development Adelaide - HDA
Disrupting pathways into family violence
Please join us for this Healthy Development Adelaide (HDA) forum.
About this Event

Family violence - including familial child abuse and neglect and intimate partner violence - is a major public health and social issue. Determining effective preventive strategies is crucial. This requires a sound understanding of the causal pathways into family violence. There is growing evidence of causal links between early childhood trauma, mental illness and violent behaviours. Understanding these relationships and the underlying mechanisms provides novel insights into what we need to do differently to reduce family violence and disrupt the dominant intergenerational transmission pathways.

This forum will cover the Epidemiology – who is caught up in family violence, what are their characteristics, Causal pathways into family violence – the accumulating evidence regarding the role of early-life trauma and what this means for Effective individual, family and community-based strategies.


Professor Leonie Segal, Research Chair, Health Economics and Social Policy, University of South Australia

Leonie’s research focus is the family relational environment in the context of social and economic circumstances and health and wellbeing across the life course. As research lead of the iCAN study, she has been using linked administrative data on >600,000 SAs to quantify the impacts of child abuse and neglect. This study has identified outcomes that are truly disturbing and observed from infancy across adulthood. Parallel research on causal mechanisms is informing strategies for disrupting observed pathways into family violence including intergenerational transmission. Segal is working with the government and the non-government sector and members of parliament to explore research translation opportunities and ‘best buys’. Her research is being published in prestigious international journals such as Pediatrics and Lancet Public Health.

Epidemiology of family violence and overview of options for intervening with a focus on early childhood

Leonie will introduce data on the patterns of family violence, characteristics of persons involved, evidence for intergenerational transmission - a never-ending cause consequence cycle. She will describe a framework for exploring options for intervening to disrupt these pathways – across the life course and considering universal vs targeted services. A model of Early Years Hubs is proposed as part of a comprehensive response to address childhood trauma before school commencement to prevent the escalation of harms to self and others.

Dr Jackie Amos, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist and Specialist Therapist, Children’s Services Unit, Centacare, Adelaide

Jackie is a clinician researcher and has worked as a clinician for over 20 years, working with distressed families caught up in intergenerational patterns of family violence and disadvantage. In her doctoral research she developed a clinically informative model, outlining how a burden of fear and shame, beginning in infancy, and accumulating throughout development can lead to family violence. This cutting-edge research now informs service delivery in the Children’s Service Unit, at Centacare, where psychotherapy and social casework have been integrated to offer trauma responsive therapeutic casework. It is also informing new trauma-based training materials for all staff working with these distressed families.

Theory linking early childhood trauma and potential for family violence and implications for a new service delivery model

Jackie will briefly summarise the evidence suggesting a link between interpersonal traumatisation beginning early life and a later tendency to aggression in intimate family relationships. She will then discuss how this understanding can support effective responses to these families in a non-government setting.

John Mannion, Mental Health Commissioner, South Australia and Executive Director Breakthrough Mental Health Research Foundation

John is the inaugural Executive Director of Breakthrough – Australia’s only foundation dedicated solely to mental health research. John’s career in mental health has spanned more than 30 years including as a practitioner (social work and mental health nursing) and in leading mental health services across SA. John established Breakthrough in 2018, which this year alone funded more than 20 research projects across all SA’s universities – with projects cover areas of youth mental health, depression, indigenous mental health and eating disorders. John was appointed the state’s newest Mental Health Commissioner. The role is additional to his commitment as Executive Director for Breakthrough, where he looks forward to creating a life free of mental illness by focusing upon research to inform clinical improvements, early intervention, prevention, enhanced outcomes and community connectivity.

Promising community-based approaches to better meeting the needs of persons facing adversity and distress with a particular focus on engaging men

John will start to explore some of the community-based programs to support disruption and change, specifically in the mental health landscape for men - exploring changes in language, mental health literacy, community engagement and the exploration of vulnerability. If we were to develop early intervention strategies, to drive a progressive change in behaviours, promote meaningful engagement and reduce the negative impact of fear and shame to promote safety - what would that look like and how will future state research and policy support this?


Professor Claire Roberts (HDA Co-Convenor), NHMRC Leadership Fellow / Professor and Matthew Flinders Fellow / Group Leader, Pregnancy Health and Beyond Laboratory (PHaB Lab), College of Medicine and Public Health, Flinders University.

Other event information:

For those unable to attend on the night a video recording will be available on the HDA website after the event.

Networking and light refreshments will follow the session from 7pm.

University of Adelaide (COVID) requirements:

Face masks will no longer be required to be worn indoors while on the University of Adelaide campus. Face masks do provide a level of protection from transmission of COVID-19 and some members of the community may still choose to wear a mask when they can’t physically distance from others. The personal choice to wear a mask should be respected.

It’s recommended that you continue to follow health advice and maintain social distancing and wash or sanitise your hands regularly.

QR code check-ins will also no longer be required on the University campus.


Event Venue & Nearby Stays

Napier lecture theatre (102), Napier Building, 1st floor University of Adelaide (North Tce campus), Adelaide, Australia


AUD 0.00

Sharing is Caring: