Guide to Promising Programs

This page provides information about the Adolescent Violence in the Home (AVITH) programs currently operating in Victoria and Australia. This guide has been designed for service providers hoping to implement a similar, or adapted, program in their own agency, and for practitioners looking for a practice approach or referral that could benefit their clients. 

Background

Adolescent violence in the home is a highly complex issue sitting at the intersection of multiple service sectors. As such, it requires coordinated responses from agencies/workforces including family violence services, child and family services, schools, police, courts, youth services, and health care settings. 

In 2016, Victoria's Royal Commission into Family Violence (the RCFV) noted that adolescent violence in the home was a distinct form of violence, different from adult-perpetrated family violence, and requiring earlier interventions and diversionary programs. The RCFV report highlighted key limitations such as insufficient service options and a general lack of research. In the period since the report, many youth and specialist family violence services still have limited understanding of adolescent violence in the home and are ‘ill-equipped to address it’ [1]. 

Through consultations with the Adolescent Family Violence Cross Government Working Group (AFV CGWG), Family Safety Victoria (FSV) found that several services are beginning to design specialised programs to address this gap in service delivery. While there are dedicated programs in some regions in Victoria, their reach is limited, and the effectiveness of program outcomes is largely untested. FSV has incorporated material regarding adolescent violence in the home into the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management (MARAM) Framework Victim Survivor Practice Guides.  However, there is currently no systematic way of responding to adolescents who use violence in the home or a practice framework guiding a standardised approach to risk assessment and management with these adolescents.[2] 

 It should be noted that while adolescent violence in the home remains an under-recognised issue generally, the gap in service response is even starker for Aboriginal families and communities. The RCFV noted that this represents a significant service gap that should be addressed through the statewide roll out of services in partnership with Aboriginal Controlled Community Organisations (ACCOs) [3].

Purpose

This guide aligns with the ‘Roadmap for Reform: Strong Families, Safe Children’ vision of a service system that delivers programs shown to be effective and builds upon findings from an earlier consultation phase of the Building the Evidence project, undertaken by the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare (the Centre) for FSV. 

The Centre’s consultations with service providers identified the need to establish a common understanding of the drivers of adolescent violence in the home, earlier intervention, and improved knowledge of effective programs and approaches across the state to support young people and their families. 

The consultations also suggested the need for better awareness of other services where practitioners can refer clients, with consolidated information and current data relating to young people’s violence in the home. One suggestion to come out of the consultations was for a youth services guide for each regional area. Another suggestion was to host regular network meetings with local service agencies to make best use of this critical window of opportunity to refer the family for additional supports and counselling. 

The purpose of this document is to provide an annotated guide for service providers hoping to implement a similar, or adapted, program in their own agency, for practitioners looking for a practice approach or referral that could benefit their clients. 

Limitations

Findings from a recent scoping review undertaken by the Centre highlight a notable lack of rigorously evaluated programs targeting adolescents who use violence in the home. This makes it difficult to conclude which programs might be considered ‘evidence-informed’. 

Given the uncertain nature of many funding arrangements, innovative pilot programs might appear for a short period but are not continued. Even when an established program has access to ongoing funding, it is important to remember that our understanding of what constitutes best practice changes over time. This guide should be considered as a single point-in-time reference:

“Developments in program design, implementation, and evaluation will continue and, as such, new programs that are equally or more effective and efficient may emerge … Evidence of ineffectiveness or damaging effects may also emerge and checks for such developments should be conducted before programs are implemented.”[4]

  1. Gleeson, H. (2020).
  2. The Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare is currently working with Family Safety Victoria to develop an AVITH MARAM Practice Guide to support professionals working with adolescents using violence in the home.
  3. Neave, M. Faulker, P. Nicholson, T. (2016).
  4. Moore et al., (2016, p. 8).

What do we mean by ‘evidence’?

 

Programs being implemented throughout Victoria and Australia operate according to different theories of change, and therefore have vastly different approaches.

Click on the program name to learn more.

Program 

Provider 

State 

Duration 

Age 

Audience 

Teen          Parent 

Format 

Group   Indiv. 

Evaluation 

Adolescents Building Connections 

Quantum Support Services *  

VIC 

10 sessions 

12-17 

✓ 

 

✓ 

 

Not publicly available 

Adolescent Family Violence Program 

Baptcare 

VIC 

40 hours/ 110 hours 

12-17 

✓ 

✓ 

 

✓ 

Underway 

Keeping Families Safe 

Peninsula Health 

VIC 

10 weeks 

12-18 

✓ 

✓ 

✓ 

✓ 

2019  

Step Up: Building Healthy Relationships 

BCYF/  
SAFVC 

VIC 

 

10-18 

✓ 

✓ 

✓ 

✓ 

2019 * 

AFV (Restoring Childhood)

Berry Street

VIC

6 months

12-17

✓ 

✓ 

 

✓ 

 

Step Up 

CAFS 

VIC 

 

 

✓ 

✓ 

✓ 

✓ 

2019  

Breaking the Cycle 

Anglicare 

VIC 

8 weeks 

10-18 

 

✓ 

✓ 

✓ 

2009; 

2019 not yet published 

Family Violence Service for Young People 

drummond street services 

VIC 

  

<25 

✓ 

✓ 

 

✓ 

 

Functional Family Therapy (FFT)  

Various 

Various 

3-5 months 

11-18 

✓ 

✓ 

 

✓ 

Yes 

Family Support Program *  

Conflict Resolution Service (CRS) 

ACT 

Up to 6 months 

12-20 

✓ 

✓ 

 

✓ 

  •  

Koorie AFVP 

Mallee District Aboriginal Service 

VIC 

7 weeks 

12-17 

✓ 

 

 

✓ 

  •  

Managing Angry Adolescents Differently (MAAD) 

Various providers * 

ACT, QLD, NSW 

1-day facilitator training workshop 

11-17 

 

✓ 

✓ 

 

  •  

Multisystemic Therapy (MST) 

OzChild 

Various 

Up to 60 hours 

12-17 

✓ 

✓ 

 

✓ 

Yes 

Name, Narrate, Navigate * 

 

NSW 

6 sessions 

 

✓ 

 

✓ 

 

Pathways to Resilience 

EACH/ 
Uniting/ 
ACF 

VIC 

 

 

✓ 

✓ 

✓ 

✓ 

RAGE 

Various providers * 

ACT, QLD, NSW 

6 sessions 

11-17 

✓ 

 

✓ 

 

  •  

ReNew * 

Talera 

QLD 

20 sessions 

12-17 

✓ 

✓ 

✓ 

 

T.A.R.A. (Teenage Aggression Responding Assertively) workshop 

Berry Street 

VIC 

3 hours 

12-18 

 

✓ 

✓ 

 

Therapeutic Adolescent Family Violence Specialist Program (TAFVS) 

Mackillop Family Services 

VIC 

3-6 months 

10-17 

✓ 

✓ 

 

✓ 

 

Step Up 

The Bridge Youth Service 

VIC 

~10 weeks 

12-17 

✓ 

✓ 

✓ 

✓ 

Step Up 

Uniting 

VIC 

~10 weeks 

12-17 

✓ 

✓ 

✓ 

✓ 

Who’s in Charge? 

Various 

VIC 

7-8 weeks 

8-18 

 

✓ 

✓ 

 

Youthlaw Pre-Court AVITH program 

Youthlaw 

VIC 

3  

months 

<18 

✓ 

 

 

✓ 

Currently being evaluated 

YPOP * 

Domestic Violence Crisis Service 

ACT 

6-8 months 

5-13 

✓ 

✓ 

 

✓ 

 

Notes: 

  • Adolescents Building Connection program not currently operating during COVID-19 conditions. 
  • Step Up: Building Healthy Relationships - Overview of evaluation available at: https://outcomes.org.au/symposium-presentations/travis-harries-deakin-university/ Additional report on extension of the program to 10-12-year-old adolescents also available.
  • Family Support Program model of mediation provides holistic, family-based interventions to support young people at risk of homelessness. Staff are accredited mediators with counselling background. Read more: https://crs.org.au/family-support-program/
  • MAAD program developed by Interventions Plus https://www.interventionsplus.com.au/maad/ Workshop focuses on: Understanding the drivers of adolescent anger including brain development, attachment disruption and experiences of neglect and abuse; and developing skills to engage at risk adolescents effectively and manage challenging behaviours.
  • Name, Narrate, Navigate workshops develop new knowledge, skills and behaviours; greater confidence. Utilises mindful engagement through breathing, experiential activities, photovoice exercise, group discussions. Acknowledges past experiences of participants to validate trauma. Outcomes being measured through various quant and qual data collection. Read more: https://sustainingcommunity.wordpress.com/2020/02/25/nnn-overview/
  • RAGE program developed by Interventions Plus https://www.interventionsplus.com.au/rage-re-navigating-anger-and-guilty-emotions/ Model based on anger management techniques.
  • ReNew program involves group therapy with young people and mothers. Aims to address impacts of DFV; challenges beliefs about gender and violence, develops non-violent problem-solving skills; increases parental confidence and strengthens bond with children. Program not currently operating. Contact David.burck@uq.connect.edu.au for further info.
  • YPOP supports wellbeing & trauma recovery of children & young people exposed to DFV Practitioners work with children showing behaviours resulting from trauma experiences. Read more at https://dvcs.org.au/our-services/programs-for-young-people/ Also refer: https://outcomes.org.au/symposium-presentations/susana-dudas-e-silva-domestic-violence-crisis-service-canberra/ for Symposium presentation.

This guide has attempted to map some of the emerging and promising programs currently operating in Victoria and Australia. While there are limitations to attempting to document a ‘guidebook’ of possible program options, there are also benefits. For practitioners wanting to refer a young person, this has potentially provided some further detail about service options; for service providers considering implementing a similar or adapted type of program or practice approach within their own region, this guide provides an overview of common approaches.  

 

Locating program details has been difficult. It is not easy to find which services are being delivered and where, or whether these services have been effective. This speaks to the need for ongoing work to provide a centralised, regularly updated and monitored register of programs to which practitioners can refer. It also supports another suggestion from earlier project consultations about hosting regular network meetings with local service agencies to be better informed about opportunities for cross-sector collaborations. 

 

In line with the Roadmap to Reform initiative, the guide advocates collecting and sharing outcomes data that can contribute to a shared, cross-sector understanding of programs and practice approaches that are helpful when working with young people using violence in the home. 

 

Developing these summary tables has confirmed that effectiveness of program outcomes remains largely untested. Many programs listed in this guide have adapted program models to suit their own context, such that fidelity to the original design is lost. Without re-evaluating the program effect, it might no longer be valid to call such programs ‘evidence-based’.

The information sheets below highlight the importance of evidence-informed practice but also the associated difficulty of assessing the robustness of evidence when this is not publicly available. Selecting and implementing an off-the-shelf evidence-based program is insufficient to produce improved outcomes.  The model must be fit for purpose. We also need to consider the processes used to deliver the program or service, and that the values and beliefs of professionals and clients are also critical to achieving success.

  • Australian Institute of Criminology, (2019). Evaluation of the Adolescent Family Violence Program. Melbourne: Victoria.  
  • Baidawi, S., & Piquero, A. R. (2020). Neurodisability among Children at the Nexus of the Child Welfare and Youth Justice System. Journal of Youth and Adolescence , 1-17.  
  • Bandura, A. (1973). Aggression: A social learning analysis . Prentice-hall.  
  • Campo, M. (2015) Children’s Exposure to Domestic and Family Violence: Key issues and responses in Child Family Community Australia Paper 36, pp. 6-9. Australian Institute of Family Studies.  
  • The Centre for Community Child Health, (2016). Supporting the Roadmap for Reform: Evidence-informed practice. Melbourne, Australia.   
  • Christie, D. & Viner, R. (2005). ABC of adolescence: Adolescent development. BMJ: British Medical Journal , 330 (7486), 301-304. doi: 10.1136/bmj.330.7486.301. 
  • Coogan, D. (2017) Responding to Child to Parent Violence and Abuse: Family interventions with non-violent resistance p. 57. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.  
  • Correll, J. R., Walker, S. C., & Edwards, T. C. (2017). Parent perceptions of participating in a program for adolescents who are violent at home. Journal of family violence , 32 (2), 243-255.  
  • Department of Health and Human Services, (2014). Adolescent Family Violence Program service model . Retrieved from: https://providers.dhhs.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/2017-08/Adolescent-family-violenceservice-model-feb-2014.doc    
  • Douglas, H., & Walsh, T. (2018). Adolescent family violence: What is the role for legal responses. Sydney L. Rev., 40 , 499.  
  • Elliott, K. McGowan, J. Benier, K. Maher, JM. Fitz-Gibbon, K. (2017 ) Investigating Adolescent Family Violence: Background, Research and Directions , p. 6. Monash Gender and Family Violence.  
  • Early Intervention Foundation (2014) Early intervention in domestic violence and abuse . London. A member of the What Works Network. 
  • Fitz-Gibbon, K., Elliott, K. and Maher, J. (2018) Investigating Adolescent Family Violence in Victoria: Understanding Experiences and Practitioner Perspectives . Monash Gender and Family Violence Research Program, Faculty of Arts, Monash University.  
  • Freiverts, L. & Bautista, Z. (2017). Breaking the Cycle Facilitator and Resource Manual: A resource for professionals and groupwork program for parents and carers experiencing adolescent violence in the home (AVITH). Melbourne: Australia.  
  • Amanda B. Gilman1 & Sarah C. Walker2. (2020). Evaluating the Effects of an Adolescent Family Violence Intervention Program on Recidivism among Court-Involved Youth. Journal of Family Violence , 35:95–106. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-019-00070-2  
  • Gleeson, H. (2020). ‘Invisible' victims of teenage violence are already suffering in silence. The legal system is making the problem worse . https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-14/adolescent-family-violence-victimsslipping-through-cracks/12034112?nw=0   
  • Holt, A. (2013). Adolescent-to-parent abuse: Current understandings in research, policy, and practice . Bristol, United Kingdom: Policy Press.  
  • Holt, A. (2015). Adolescent-to-Parent abuse as a form of domestic violence: A conceptual review, trauma, violence & abuse. Advance online publication (13 May 2015) https://pure.roehampton.ac.uk/ws/portalfiles/portal/229615/TVA_PrePublishedVersion_2015.pdf  
  • Hong, J. S., Kral, M. J., Espelage, D. L., & Allen-Meares, P. (2012). The social ecology of adolescent-initiated parent abuse: A review of the literature. Child Psychiatry & Human Development , 43 (3), 431-454.  
  • Howard, J. & Rottam, M. (2008). It All Starts at Home: Male adolescent violence to mothers. Inner South Community Health Services.  
  • Howard, J. (2018). Adolescent Family Violence: A report prepared for Family Safety Victoria . Melbourne: Australia.  
  • Malti, T., Chaparro, M. P., Zuffianò, A., & Colasante, T. (2016). School-based interventions to promote empathy related responding in children and adolescents: A developmental analysis. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 45 (6), 718-731. doi: 10.1080/15374416.2015.1121822.  
  • Moulds, L. Day, A. Mildred, H. Miller, P. Casey, S. (2016) Adolescent Violence towards Parents – The Known and Unknowns p. 548 in Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy 37, p. 547-557. DOI: 10.1002/anzf.1189  
  • Moore, T.G. (2016). Towards a model of evidence-informed decision-making and service delivery . CCCH Working paper No. 5. Parkville, Victoria: Centre for Community Child Health, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.3155.7367. http://www.rch.org.au/uploadedFiles/Main/Content/ccchdev/CCCH-Towards-a-model-of-evidenceinformeddecisio-making-and-service-delivery-Tim-Moore-May2016.pdf    
  • Moore, T., Beatson, R., Rushton, S., Powers, R., Deery, A., Arefadib, N., West, S. (2016). Supporting the Rpadmap for Reform: Evidence-informed practice , prepared for the Department of Health and Human Services. Parkville, Victoria. Centre for Community Child Health, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, The Royal Children’s Hospital.  
  • Neave, M. Faulker, P. Nicholson, T. (2016). Royal Commission into Family Violence Volume IV Report and Recommendations. 
  • Onrust, S. A., Otten, R., Lammers, J., & Smit, F. (2016). School-based programmes to reduce and prevent substance use in different age groups: What works for whom? Systematic review and meta-regression analysis. Clinical Psychology Review , 44, 45-59. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2015.11.002.  
  • Pereira, R. (2015). Responding to filio-parental violence. W orking with adolescent violence and abuse towards parents: Approaches and contexts for intervention , 80.  
  • Reid, C. & Ervin, K. (2015). Prevalence of adolescent violence in the home and service system capacity in rural Victoria. Australian Journal of Primary Health, 21 , 132–138. http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/PY14079  
  • Reimer, E. C. (2020). “Growing to be a better person”: Exploring the client-worker relationship in men’s behaviour change program (Research report, 15/2020). Sydney: ANROWS.  
  • Routt, G., & Anderson, L. (2015). Adolescent violence in the home: restorative approaches to building healthy, respectful family relationships (1 Edition.). Routledge  
  • Savvas, E. & Jeronimus, A. (April 2017). Troubled Teens: Adolescent family violence requires a unique legal and service system response. Law Institute Journal, p. 40-43. Retrieved from http://online.fliphtml5.com/lxdj/yetu/#p=44  
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  • Selwyn, J., & Meakings, S. (2016). Adolescent-to-parent violence in adoptive families. The British Journal of Social Work , 46 (5), 1224-1240.  
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  • Stuart, G. & Hartman, D. (2019). Evidence-informed practice and the integration of research, policy, teaching and practice in family services. Developing Practice: The Child, Youth and Family Work Journal, 53 (1). 34-53.  
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  • Van Dyke, M., Kiser, L., and Blase, K. (2019). Heptagon Tool . Chapel Hill, NC: Active Implementation Research Network. https://www.activeimplementation.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/HeptagonTool.pdf  

Do you work with a specific program or practice approach that is dedicated to adolescents using violence in the home? We want to hear from you! Please contact karalyn.davies@cfecfw.asn.au

AVITH Project

The Centre has a strong interest in identifying, translating and embedding the best available research and practice expertise to build Victoria’s evidence base in relation to young people who use violence in the home. The ongoing work of family violence reforms has highlighted gaps in knowledge about adolescents who use violence and the need for specialist expert advice to enable service providers, professionals, parents and carers to more effectively respond to and support these young people.

The Centre for Excellence acknowledges the Tradition Custodians of the land on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nations and pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. Sovereignty has never been ceded and this was and always will be Aboriginal land.
We appreciate and celebrate diversity in all its forms. We believe diversity of all kinds makes our teams, services and organisation stronger and more effective.
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