Early Intervention forum

On Friday 7th April, MAEVe held the highly successful forum Early Intervention: Changing the trajectory to prevent violence against women and their children. The event was attended by over 100 delegates from a mixture of the tertiary education, community and government sectors, and featured international and national experts in the sometimes-neglected area of early intervention into family violence and violence against women and their children (VAW).

The aim of the day was to bring together stakeholders to discuss key issues from different perspectives and experiences, with a view to learning from each other and informing research, policy, practice, education and training. As such, a list of the day’s goals read as follows:

For ‘early intervention’:

  • Develop a shared understanding and language
  • Share new knowledge
  • Begin to develop a framework; and
  • Discuss innovative approaches.

The event began with an introduction from Kelsey Hegarty, joint Chair in Family Violence Prevention at the University of Melbourne and the Royal Women’s Hospital. Kelsey spoke about the difficulty of defining ‘early intervention’ in the public health model of prevention, and offered several differing definitions for early intervention (sometimes called ‘secondary prevention’) from the literature.

Hegarty’s introduction was followed by keynotes from two international guests - Claudia Garcia Moreno from the World Health Organization and Jane Koziol-McLain from Auckland University of Technology - who were followed by Tania Farha from the Department of Premier and Cabinet.

These three keynotes then gave way to a session on alcohol and poverty as reinforcing factors for family violence, with short presentations by Deidre Gartland (Murdoch Children’s Research Institute - MCRI) on intergenerational impacts for women children and families, and Ingrid Wilson (LaTrobe University) on alcohol. They were then joined by Mary Sayers (Victorian Council of Social Services), Cathy Humphreys (University of Melbourne) and Claudia Garcia Moreno for a panel discussion with audience Q&A. Participants also broke into groups for their own discussions of key settings and interventions relating to these two reinforcing factors.

After lunch, Stephanie Brown (MCRI) and David Gallant (UOM) both spoke about interventions with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) communities. David’s presentation concentrated on working with men, while Stephanie’s spoke of trauma, healing and resiliency, with an additional focus on refugee populations. These presentations provided the background for a panel discussion on healing and resiliency with Indigenous communities, with Stephanie and David joined by Karen Glover (Aboriginal Family Health Research Partnership, SAHMRI), Elisha Riggs (MCRI) and Jane Koziol-McLain. Conference participants were again invited to share their perspectives on key policy and research priorities for both Indigenous and refugee populations.

Finally, conference participants and speakers joined together to discuss next steps, including:

  • What does early intervention mean or look like in the family violence and VAW space?
  • What are the key settings for early intervention?
  • What are the key policy and research priorities?
  • What key collaborations do we need? Who is missing from the room?

If you missed the event and would like more information, please contact Kate O'Halloran, the Academic Convenor of MAEVe, or Kelsey Hegarty, one of its two co-chairs.