Adolescent Family Violence: Findings from a Group-Based Analysis

Abstract

Current understanding of adolescent family violence (AFV) is fragmented, with research describing offenders and offending at the aggregate level or exploring different forms of AFV in isolation. The current study aimed to describe and compare AFV offender groups drawn from the same population. A sample of 2717 adolescent offenders (12–17 years old) who were reported to Victoria Police for family violence offending in the 2014 calendar year were sorted into five mutually exclusive categories based on the relationship with their primary victim/survivor—mother, father, younger sibling, older sibling and other family members. The groups were then compared across a number of dimensions, including the characteristics of the young person and ‘type’ of violence and abuse perpetrated, as well as prior offending patterms. The analysis identified key differences between offenders based on their relationship with their primary victim/survivor. Mothers emerged as a high-risk cohort because the violence they were experiencing was often frequent and had been ongoing for extended periods of time. They were also the most likely cohort to report being afraid of the offender. Adolescents who were primarily violent towards other family members (eg grandparents) also emerged as key group for future examination due to their use of violence in various contexts, and other offending. Group-based analyses of AFV offenders can provide valuable insights into the differences and similarities underlying this offender population. Future studies should aim to build on this research.

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Correspondence to Hayley Boxall.

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Boxall, H., Sabol, B. Adolescent Family Violence: Findings from a Group-Based Analysis. J Fam Viol (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-021-00247-8

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Keywords

  • Family violence
  • Adolescent
  • Youth
  • Sibling abuse
  • Carer abuse