In this section:

Supporting Children and Young People Affected by Domestic and Family Violence

Responsible government

  • Australian Capital Territory

Fourth Action Plan actions

  • Respect, listen and respond to the diverse lived experience and knowledge of women and their children affected by violence
    • 10 Implement community-led and tailored initiatives to address the unique experiences and needs of communities affected by multiple forms of discrimination or inequality.
    • 11 Deliver policies and services to address the disproportionate impact of violence on particular groups.

What are we doing?

In 2019 the Family Safety Hub and the ACT Children and Young People Commissioner partnered to listen to young people’s experience of domestic and family violence. Young people set the project priorities and advised on engagement methods.

Consultations took six months and reached 70 young people across the ACT, 35 of whom had lived experiences of domestic and family violence.

Through in-depth interviews and small group discussions. We found young people had a lot to say about domestic and family violence and the supports and services they need.

We heard that children and young people’s experiences of family violence are different to those of adults. They need different supports and services but their experience is of a system response designed by, and for, adults. The findings provide key messages for policy, system and service reform. The ACT Government provided $100,000 in 2019 and 2020 to fund the project.

In 2020 and 2021, the ACT Government also allocated Commonwealth funds to support the Got Your Back group therapy program with Relationships Australia for young people living with domestic and family violence. The format and content of the group sessions are decided by the young people participating. The program provides a response that is tailored to – and directed by – young people who have experienced domestic and family violence.

What have we achieved so far?

These conversations were distilled into 13 insights that reflect children and young people’s experiences with domestic and family violence. The insights have been shared widely with government, the service sector, and other jurisdictions to help inform future policy and service development for those experiencing domestic and family violence. They were published in the Now You Have Heard Us, What Will You Do? resources to guide future improvements to services for children and young people experiencing domestic and family violence.

By sharing the insights, we are amplifying the voices of young people. Listening to them is just the first step to guide how we need to introduce and improve services so that the needs of children and young people are met.

What is next?

A key focus for the Family Safety Hub in 2021 is on developing new responses for children and young people who experience domestic and family violence, so they receive support that meets their unique needs separately to the needs of their parents (see Family Safety Hub). This includes working with sector partners to design and test training for the youth sector, to improve its ability to recognise and respond to domestic and family violence.

Most importantly, the Family Safety Hub is in the early stages of designing a new response specifically for children who are impacted by domestic and family violence. Work to design the response will happen this financial year, with a pilot service to be delivered in 2022. Work to date has included exploring successful international and national models, and further co-design will happen with sector partners. The pilot service will be funded through the Family Safety Hub.

What difference will we make?

Children and young people who witness and experience domestic and family violence have specific needs and we know there is not enough focus on the significant impact of the trauma they experience.

The intended outcome is to co-design support and service with young people, for young people. How we do this will depend on the involvement of young people. This work will develop missing supports for young people, and include young people’s voices in policy design. All of this aims to provide a safer pathway for young people.

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