This is the second and final report to be produced from the Adverse childhood experiences and the intergenerational transmission of domestic and family violence in young people who engage in harmful sexual behaviour and violence against women project.

Building on work completed in the first report which analysed a small subset of cases, the authors have used two large existing datasets that coded information relating to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) for male youth in Queensland who had committed an offence.

Results of this research demonstrate that ACEs, particularly exposure to DFV, are prevalent in the developmental histories of young males whose antisocial behaviours bring them into formal contact with the justice system. High prevalence of ACEs is particularly the case for male youths who engage in sexual harm and violence.

This finding highlights the impact of childhood trauma on perpetuating cycles of violence, and points to clear implications for system communication and intervention policies. The findings also suggest that early intervention with children who experience maltreatment and trauma may have the potential to prevent later contact with the youth justice system when they are adolescents and may be effective in breaking cycles of violence. This would require investment in processes to identify children most at risk for poor outcomes.

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Research report 13/2022