Dr Jemma Venables


Dr Jemma Venables is a social work lecturer and researcher at the University of Queensland. Motivated to improve outcomes for vulnerable children, young people and their families, her research explores how social policy is implemented in practice. Jemma’s research illuminates the lived experience of service users as they navigate service systems and builds knowledge of factors that shape how frontline workers ‘do’ practice. Underpinning her research is an interest in participatory practice and justice.


Son to Mother Violence: Rebuilding relationships following experiences of violence (Interactive Workshop)

Trauma resulting from domestic violence can significantly impact the relationship between mothers and their children. Sons can be impacted by violence in different ways and must be supported to both address the resultant trauma and avoid reproducing violent and abusive behaviours. Increasingly, there is acknowledgement that mothers can experience violence and abuse from their sons. This most often occurs in the context of trauma arising from a history of domestic violence. The situation is complex because the mother-child relationship has different power dynamics and responsibilities than violence committed by an adult intimate partner. There have been few specialist service responses to violence committed by sons against their mother and other siblings.

This presentation outlines findings from an evaluation of a local program, which aims to reduce son to mother violence, and restore attachment between mothers and sons. The program aims to address sons’ use of violence. It also aims to act as an early intervention and prevention program to reduce the likelihood that sons will use violent behaviours in future intimate partner relationships through addressing sons’ behaviours, and challenging gendered beliefs held by the sons. We report on a sub-set of data from a longitudinal, mixed-methods study that tracked participants from three groups over a period of up to 30 months. This presentation draws on the perspectives of 8 women and 8 sons who attended the group and 6 practitioners who were involved in program delivery. Data was collected using in-depth, semi-structured interviews and data was analysed thematically using constant comparison techniques.

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