Building a framework for young people with disability who use violence at home

  • Dr Georgina Sutherland

Project Details

Adolescent family violence (AFV), also known as adolescent violence in the home (AVITH), has emerged as a critical issue of concern in Australia.

While it is known to share features with other forms of gender-based violence, there is increasing evidence of its significant intersection with disability.

There are lifelong consequences of decisions made about young people with disability who use violence at home, yet the lack of a common understanding about what drives and contributes to AFV results in responses that can result in further harm for the young person with disability and their family. It is critical to establish an explicit, integrated and comprehensive framework to guide prevention and response.

Drawing on multidisciplinary bodies of knowledge, including direct input from young people with disability and their families, the aim of this project is to develop a conceptual framework that examines and explains the intersection of AFV, gender and disability.

AFV does not fit within prevailing models of domestic and family violence, nor within other theoretical frameworks that seek to explain how and why violence occurs. The project directly responds to gaps in the evidence base about the drivers of, and situational factors that contribute to, AFV but is deliberately focused on the disability and gender nexus. The conceptual framework will enable Australian jurisdictions to develop more effective and targeted policy and practice responses to AFV by young people with disability.


Dr Georgina Sutherland, University of Melbourne
Professor Anne Kavanagh, University of Melbourne
Professor Gwynnyth Llewellyn, University of Sydney
Dr Tania King, University of Melbourne 
Associate Professor Cathy Vaughan, University of Melbourne


This project is funded by Australian Commonwealth, state and territory governments under ANROWS’s 2020–2022 Core Grant round.

Research Group

School Research Themes

Disparities, disadvantage and effective health care

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Melbourne School of Population and Global Health

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