‘Can he be a good dad and an abusive partner?’ Responding to fathers who perpetrate family violence – what families can tell us


Can men who are abusive to their intimate partners still be good fathers? This is a question the family violence team at RCH are asked almost daily. As a children’s hospital, the RCH is in a unique position to help children experiencing family violence and the best interests of the child are our priority as we work alongside families.

However, individual clinicians and treating teams face challenges when navigating complex family dynamics within an acute health setting. For example, how do we know that we are working with a father who uses violence and control? How might we recognise and avoid unintentional collusion with a dominant family member? How can we use the opportunity we have as clinicians to engage with fathers and prioritise family safety? Kristin will discuss these issues using the extensive research of her University of Melbourne team, including the Melbourne Research Alliance to End Violence against women and their children (MAEVe). She will share the voices of children, mothers and fathers, providing a valuable perspective for clinicians faced with these challenges


Dr Kristin Diemer is a Sociologist and Senior Research fellow in the Department of Social Work at the University of Melbourne. Her research program is split between practice-based research within the domestic and family violence sector (including perpetrator programs) and co-leading a training program to measure the prevalence of violence against women across Asia and the Pacific.  Kristin has extensive experience analysing large institutional administrative data sets (including from hospitals and government departments) and national prevalence and attitudes survey data, and is a member of the MAEVe team.


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