Completion Certificates of Domestic Violence

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					A progress report on a pilot study to analyse data gathered by
Family Relationship Centres from clients affected by domestic
and family violence

MAPPING THE VIOLENCE
RESEARCH TEAM


  Sue Rice, Project Manager, Centacare,
   Rockhampton
  Tania Signal, Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology,
   Central Queensland University, Rockhampton
  Paula Washington, Family Relationship Services
   Manager, Centacare, Townsville
THE RESEARCH STORY – WHY RESEARCH


   Commitment to continuous improvement – having
    an evidence base
   Curiosity – practice and service based observations
   Large amounts of primary data previously
    unexplored
OVERVIEW
 Conceptual framework of the research
 Background to the research
 Role of the Family Relationship Centres and the
  process of Family Dispute Resolution (FDR)
 Context of the research: literature and research
 Purpose and aims of the research
 Research design
 Research progress plan
 Collaborative research model
 Bibliography and acknowledgements
CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK OF THE RESEARCH

   Acknowledge tensions between different schools of thought
    (conflict vs abuse ideology)
   Recognising the different forms of violence (differentiation of
    types of violence, not a ‘one size fits all’ approach)
   Acknowledge gender analysis of violence (patterns of
    controlling violence)
   Priority of safety and empowerment of victims and
    responsibility and accountability of perpetrators
   Caution around the allegations vs ‘proof’ debate
BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT
 Commissioning of ‘Every Picture Tells a Story’
  report by House of Representatives Committee on
  family and community affairs in 2003
 Report recommended changes to Family Law Act
  1975 (Family Law Reforms)
 Recommended a move away (changed culture)
  from adversarial approaches to parenting
  disputes
 Post-separation parenting disputes mandated to
  attend Family Dispute Resolution (FDR)
ROLE OF FAMILY RELATIONSHIP CENTRES
 65 Family Relationship Centres were
  established nationally between 2006-2008
 Provision of FDR services aimed at achieving
  agreed parenting arrangements (parenting plans)
 Screen for suitability to attend FDR (capacity to mediate
    includes violence, child protection, mental illness etc)

   Issuing of certificates of unsuitability (according to
    criteria)

   Facilitated access to appropriate referrals,
    support and resources
FAMILY DISPUTE RESOLUTION PROCESS

 Party approaches FRC (initial contact/screening)
 Intake and assessment interviews (using FRC Intake
    and Assessment form)
 Information session (optional)
 Pre-FDR session (individual/optional)

 Joint session(s)

 Follow up referral, support, other

 Review (if required)
DOMESTIC AND FAMILY VIOLENCE IN AUSTRALIA

   One in three women will report experiencing family
    violence in their lifetime (ABS 2005)
   Cost the nation $13.6 billion annually (KPMG, 2009)
   Research shows that the majority of family and domestic
    violence is perpetrated by men against women (Time for
    Action, 2009)

   79% of family law cases determined by the Family Court
    contained allegations of violence (Maloney, Smyth, Weston, Richardson,
    Qu & Gray, 2007)

   Argued that family violence is a significant factor in
    family breakdown and separation (Kirkwood and McKenzie, 2008)
DOMESTIC AND FAMILY VIOLENCE AND MANDATORY FDR - ISSUES


   Current research :
       Family Violence and Family Law (Bagshaw and Brown)
       Evaluation of the Family Law Reforms (AIFS)
       Review of Family Violence in the Family Court (Chisholm)

   Tensions in the discourse regarding ideologies and approaches
   FDR/mediation challenged as having limited suitability for
    cases involving violence (Bagshaw, 2001; Murphy & Rubinson, 2005)
   Calls for FDR services to have specialised policies and
    practices for parties affected by violence (Clements & Gross, 2007)
   Quality assurance regarding the training and skills of FRC staff
    to identify and respond appropriately ?(Kirkwood, 2006; Field, 2006)
DOMESTIC AND FAMILY VIOLENCE AND MANDATORY FDR - ISSUES


   Concerns that:
      clients may not disclose violence (Bailey, 2005/06)

      screening tools may not detect the nuances (DVIRC, 2007;
         Kirkwood and McKenzie, 2008)
      approaches that categorise violence may minimise or
       negate impacts (Bickerdike, 2007)
   FDR may be appropriate in some situations and under certain
    conditions (Salem & Dunford-Jackson, 2008)
   Calls for more research and monitoring of screening processes
    (Braaf & Sneddon, 2007: Bagshaw, 2001)
DOCUMENTS INFORMING THE RESEARCH CONTEXT

   Family Law Act 1975
   Family Law Amendment (Shared Parental Responsibility) Bill 2006.
   Operational Framework for Family Relationship Centres with additional
    information and draft guidelines.
   Towards a National Blueprint for the Family Law System
   The Practice Framework for Screening and Assessment in Family
    Relationship Centres and Family Relationship Advice Line.
   Family Law Regulations 1984, Statutory Rules 1984 No. 426, 5 (2006).
   Framework for Screening, Assessment and Referrals in Family Relationship
    Centres and the Family Relationship Advice Line
   FRSP Approval Requirements
   ‘Time for Action’
GOAL OF THE RESEARCH



To provide best possible outcomes and processes
for clients affected by domestic and family
violence attending FRCs for Family Dispute
Resolution
AIMS OF THE RESEARCH


1. To gain insights into the extent and
  characteristics of the violence that is being
  presented by clients at intake and assessment
     Quantify the frequency and identify the
      characteristics of violence
AIMS OF THE RESEARCH

2. To examine the Intake and Assessment process
  with a view to how it can be improved
     Specifically to examine the capacity of the Intake and
      Assessment form to effectively and appropriately
      identify family and domestic violence i.e.
        What is the tool capturing?
        Explore trends in the completion of the screening and
         assessment tool?
RESEARCH DESIGN
   Independent research sponsored by Centacare
    Rockhampton
   Pilot research
   Quantitative methodology (some coding of qualitative data –
    client responses)
   Ethics approval from Central Queensland University Ethics
    Committee (October 2009)
   Client consent obtained (introduced mid-Sept 2009)
   Research method
       Analyse data gathered from clients Intake and Assessment forms
       Retrospective data gathered for purposes other than the research
DATA GATHERING
   3 independent regional FRC sites auspiced by Centacare
      Rockhampton,
      Mackay
      Townsville
   Use of a standardised Intake and Assessment form across
    all sites
   Random selection of client files (I & A forms)
   Only consenting client data used (signed consent form in
    client’s file)
   Sample size = 20 client files per site
ANALYSIS OF DATA
   Raw data entered into custom designed database in
    excel
   Quantitative data exported into SPSS v15
   Qualitative data free coded
   Frequency based analysis
   Identify patterns of client presentation
   Descriptive and inferential statistical methods
    (correlation and ANOVA)
INTAKE AND ASSESSMENT DATA SECTIONS
    Client / children’s details
    Client story/history/orders
    Status of relationship
    Communication and decision-making
    Level of conflict
    FDR considerations
    Health and well-being
    Previous attempts at problem-solving
    FDR and negotiability
    Disclosure
    Special considerations and safety planning
PROPOSED AREAS OF INITIAL ANALYSIS

 Number of reported victims and perpetrators
 Characteristics of presenting violence (frequency, types
    of violence including non-physical violence, impacts and risk factors)

 Trends of presenting violence (past, present, escalation etc)
 Patterns of identification and detection (when, where
    and how are clients disclosing, or not?)

   Special interest areas:
      e-violence
      animal violence
RESEARCH PROGRESS PLAN

 Database test completed
 Data entry – commenced, due for completion
  by January 2010
 Data analysis - March 2010

 Research report due June 2010

 Preparation of publications and presentation of
  findings
POTENTIAL INFORMATION/OUTCOMES

 Continuous improvement – gaps that we can
  address?
 Sort the ‘fact’ from the ‘fiction’…?

 Indicators of the extent and scope of the issue?

 Pointers for further training and supervision?

 Insights into the effectiveness of the screening
  and assessment tool?
 Potential to inform further research?
LIMITATIONS OF THE RESEARCH

 Small sample - caution in making
  generalisations
 Data does not differentiate between actual and
  alleged violence i.e. based on client reporting
 No application to determining FDR

 Doesn’t grasp case complexity

 Not ‘case-specific’ data – limited
  understanding of impacts
COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH MODEL

 Common organisation, service delivery and
  research goals and interests
 Common practice frameworks

 Goodwill and respect

 High support from management

 Continued communication and inclusive
  participatory decision-making
 Commitment to team-work
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS AND THANKYOUS
   Dr Tania Signal, CQU
   Dr Ricki Jeffery, Director, Centacare Catholic Diocese
    of Rockhampton, Qld
   Dr Anthony McMahon, Director, Centacare Catholic
    Diocese of Townsville, Qld
   Sue Bauman, Manager, FRC Rockhampton
   Alex Collins, Centre Manager (Mackay), Centacare
    Catholic Diocese of Rockhampton, Qld

				
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