This paper seeks to highlight the potential impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the use of violence by adolescents against their family members. Commonly referred to as ‘adolescent family violence’ or ‘adolescent violence in the home’ (AVITH), AVITH has been recognised as a significant policy challenge in Victoria for some time, as well as in other Australian jurisdictions.
Notably, Victoria’s Royal Commission into Family Violence (RCFV) dedicated a specific chapter of its substantial final report to AVITH, identifying a need for increased policy attention and resourcing for this particular form of family violence.
When declarations of a State of Emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic required families across Australia to retreat and remain behind these closed doors, the needs of families experiencing AVITH were only likely to become more acute. This was especially the case in Victoria, where the community was effectively in lockdown for well over six months.
Accordingly, this paper seeks to highlight some of the challenges which families experiencing AVITH have faced during the pandemic, as well as to signal some of the personal, service and systemic challenges which lie ahead. Rather than a formal research report, this Issues Paper draws directly on the existing PIPA project findings; on internal service data provided by CFRE and other agencies; on the survey distributed to AVITH-specific practitioners; and on targeted consultations with service providers with which the CIJ and CFRE collaborate.