The 2010 report, Exposing the dark side of parenting: A report on parents’ experiences of family violence, published by the Regional Alliance Addressing Child and Adolescent Violence in the Home, South Australia, documented the results of a public phone-in exercise which took place in Southern Australia in 2008, designed to contribute to the body of knowledge on parent abuse. The report is important not just for its findings, which are broadly congruent with other similar studies, but also for the series of recommendations made: (i) the raising of community and agency awareness about child and adolescent family violence, (ii) the training and development for professionals about appropriate resources, (iii) the provision of effective accessible support for families and (iv) the establishment of a dedicated agency to provide ongoing support to parents, families and young people.
The launch in Adelaide, on February 24th 2012, of Respectful Relationships, a new project aimed at providing support to families and carers and equipping professionals with knowledge about violent and abusive behaviour from children and teenagers, comes as a direct result of this earlier research. In partnership with Relationships Australia (SA) and Southern Junction Community Services, the project will make a wallet card called Walking on Eggshells available to assist and inform families, while a series of training seminars will be held in the coming months to better empower helping professionals to handle cases of teen violence.
Mary McKenna, lecturer in law at Flinders University,and co-author of the 2010 report, has noted an increasing acknowledgement by professionals in Southern Australia of the problems parents can experience, and also an increasing acceptance that they need to be careful not to re-victimise – although she says there is still a long way to go. She is hopeful that the project will continue to develop and adapt resources as they are tested.