Barriers and enablers to conducting domestic violence research with children

PhD Thesis

Mackey, Patricia Anne. (2021) Barriers and enablers to conducting domestic violence research with children [PhD Thesis]. Australian Catholic University School of Allied Health
AuthorsMackey, Patricia Anne
TypePhD Thesis
Qualification nameDoctor of Philosophy

Twenty-five percent of Australian children are purported to have experiences of domestic and family violence. Despite this statistic, there is a lack of research in Australia with these children. To facilitate children’s engagement in domestic violence research, this study explored the barriers, enablers, and decision-making considerations of key gatekeepers and domestic violence researchers. In-depth, semi-structured interviews were held with 49 participants from five cohorts: domestic violence service providers, mothers with experiences of domestic/family violence, clinicians providing therapeutic interventions for children, Human Research Ethics Committee members, and domestic violence researchers. Themes about the barriers in domestic violence research with children concerned fears, safeguarding imperatives, and heightened risks. Domestic violence research with children was constructed as risky and dangerous. All cohorts, except domestic violence researchers, thought that this research could retraumatise children. The domestic violence service system and children being overshadowed in a closed adult-centric system emerged as further barriers in this research. Enablers in domestic violence research relate to the model and design of the research. Adopting a child-rights focus and trauma-safe methodology, along with having sector leadership, supportive gatekeepers and resources were identified as enablers. Attuned trauma-safe research, which is child-friendly, flexible, child-led, and creative, and which draws on the expertise of clinicians, further facilitates domestic violence research with children. To inform this research with children, an enabling model of attuned trauma-safe research, referred to as the STARR model, has been developed from the research findings.

PublisherAustralian Catholic University
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range1-430
Final version
File Access Level
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online23 Jun 2021
Publication process dates
CompletedJun 2021
Deposited23 Jun 2021
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