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Adolescent family violence project wins national award

Media Release

29 October 2009

A Victorian project to prevent adolescent violence against parents has won national recognition at the 2009 Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards (ACVPA).

The 'It All Starts At Home' project began in July 2007 and is led by Melbourne's Inner South Community Health Service. It assists parents who suffer abuse or violence from their adolescents, working with them and police, welfare organisations and support services, to give them skills to stop the violence.

It was one of two Victorian projects to receive a National Certificate and cash award of $15,000, which was presented by Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor at Parliament House in Canberra today.

Ms Robbi Chaplin, CEO of Melbourne's Inner South Community Health Service, said existing research had indicated that when male adolescents used violence against their parents there was an increased risk that they would use violence against partners in later life.

"Our research from this project has informed the recommendations of the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Their Children by demonstrating that early intervention and prevention approaches can influence the longer-term behaviour of adolescent males in breaking the cycle of family violence," Ms Chaplin said.

The project involves group work with parents of abusive adolescents, training for parents and service providers to stop the violence and the development of resources to increase awareness of the issue.

"Ninety percent of parents who attended the project's support groups reported positive outcomes. There has also been an increase in community awareness, parenting skills, and the resources for organisations to provide help," Ms Chaplin said.

"The program directly supported some 70 parents, the majority of them sole mothers, and up to 15,000 others indirectly through awareness raised about the issue over the past two years."

Minister O'Connor said the program demonstrated the positive outcomes which can be achieved through early intervention and prevention.

"I am proud to be able to support a program whose research and outcomes have directly supported the Federal Government's commitment to reducing violence," Mr O'Connor said.

"This program is important because it not only supports parents of abusive adolescents, it increases awareness and the resources to stop the cycle of violence."

The ACVPA is a joint initiative of the Australian, State and Territory governments which rewards outstanding community-based projects that prevent or reduce crime and violence.

Eight ground-breaking projects involving young offenders and youth at risk, Indigenous communities, religious congregations, police and community health and safety organisations have won national recognition this year.

For more information about the Australian Community Violence Prevention Awards visit http://www.aic.gov.au/crime_community/acvpa.aspx

PROJECT OVERVIEW: IT ALL STARTS AT HOME, VICTORIA

It All Starts At Home, Victoria

The project is highlighting the importance of preventing adolescent violence in the home (AVITH) through awareness raising and capacity building with parents, children and service providers.

Existing research indicates that when male adolescents use violence against their parents there is an increased risk that they will use violence against partners in later life and research conducted by this project has informed the recommendations of the National Plan to reduce Violence Against Women and Their Children.

Key outcomes:

  • Produced more than 22,000 AVITH parent resource booklets
  • 90% of parents who attended support groups reported positive outcomes
  • More than 400 community welfare services and individuals provided with information

Media contacts: Scott Kelleher 0418 159525, Caterina Giugovaz 0418 221798.
For detail on the awards visit www.aic.gov.au/crime_community/acvpa.aspx