Whittlesea CALD Communities Family Violence Research Report 2012 - Page 61

60 A comprehensive study into young people’s experience of and attitudes towards family violence was conducted by the Crime Research Centre and Donovan Research between 1998 and 1999 in which qualitative and quantitative data was gathered from 5,000 young people aged between 12 and 20 in all States and Territories. (Crime Research Centre and Donovan Research, 2001 in Indermaur, D., 2001) The study revealed that approximately one quarter of the young people had witnessed an act of physical violence directed at their mother or step-mother (Crime Research Centre and Donovan Research, 2001 in Indermaur, D., 2001, p.2). Police data from the City of Whittlesea (2007/2008) indicates that in 45% of family violence incidents at least one child was present.65 The potential harm caused by childhood exposure to family violence is well documented in the literature with a range of potential negative impacts including: ? ? ? ? ? ? depression, anxiety, mood and temperament problems; behavioural problems such as increased aggression, antisocial behaviour and peer conflict; pervasive fear and trauma symptoms; difficulties at school; impaired cognitive functioning; increased likelihood of alcohol and substance abuse. (Indermaur, D., 2001, p.3, Laing, L., 2000) The evidence regarding whether young people who are exposed to family violence are more likely to go on to perpetrate family violence is inconclusive and controversial, with some studies finding that being exposed to or being the victim of violence in childhood has a direct impact on later perpetration of intimate partner violence (Flood & Pease, 2006) whilst other studies have concluded that the majority of children who are exposed to family violence will not in fact go on to become perpetrators. (Humphreys, C., (2000), Social Work, Domestic Violence and Child Protection: Challenging Practice, The Policy Press, Bristol in Laing, L., 2000, p.22). Flood & Fergus conclude that there is conclusive evidence of an association between exposure to family violence in childhood and perpetrating family violence in adulthood but there is no conclusive evidence of a causal relationship between the two (Flood & Fergus, 2008). It was also estimated in the national study that one in ten young people live in households where a male carer has been physically violent towards them or their siblings (Crime Research Centre and Donovan Research, 2001 in Indermaur, D., 2001, p.4) (excluding cases of physical discipline). In City of Whittlesea, police data (2007/2008) indicates that in 7% of family violence incidents the affected family member was aged under 18 at the time a family violence incident report was made and in 66 22% of incidents the affected family member was aged under 25. The national study revealed that one in three young people has been subjected to physical violence in their intimate relationships (Crime Research Centre and Donovan Research, 2001 in Indermaur, D., 2001, p.4) and 14% of girls (and 3% of boys) had been sexually assaulted within an intimate relationship. Young people who lived in homes where there was adult family violence were more likely to be both victims and perpetrators of violence within their own relationships (Crime Research Centre and Donovan Research, 2001 in Indermaur, D., 2001, p.4) Data from Australia shows that young women (aged 18-24) are at an increased risk of experiencing violence in intimate partner relationships.67 65 Victoria Police family violence statistics can be accessed at < http://www.police.vic.gov.au/content.asp?Document_ID=782> Victoria Police family violence statistics can be accessed at < http://www.police.vic.gov.au/content.asp?Document_ID=782> 67 ABS + Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health 66