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'Just Say Goodbye' Forum wrap-up

'Just Say Goodbye' Forum wrap-up

DVRCV’s most recent Discussion Paper No. 8 2012: ‘Just say goodbye - Parents who kill their children in the context of separation’ was the subject of discussion at our forum held on Thursday 31 May. The forum was attended by more than 160 people. The program began with a presentation by Dr Debbie Kirkwood, the author of the Discussion Paper. Debbie presented national and international research on filicide (parents who kill their children); analysis of some case studies; and implications for systems responses to separating parties including where family violence is an issue. Her research found that in many instances in which children are killed by fathers in the context of parental separation, there has been prior violence towards the mother of the children. In some cases the act of killing the children is also a form of violence against the mother because it is directed at harming her. In many instances in which children are killed by fathers in the context of parental separation there is no indication of prior violence towards the children. Importantly, Debbie stressed that the paper highlights the risks to children’s safety in the context of separation, when there are risks to the mother’s safety. Other speakers included Professor Cathy Humphreys whose presentation was about ‘Keeping Children Safe: risks and challenges in post-separation parenting’. Cathy drew on her extensive knowledge of child protection to discuss the implications for children’s safety in the context of family violence and separation. Cathy asked a number of challenging questions for the audience to consider. Dr Elspeth McInnes travelled from Adelaide to speak. Her presentation focused on ‘Domestic Violence, Child Protection & Family Law: Worlds Apart’. Our final speaker was Danny Blay, the Executive Officer of No To Violence, the Male Family Violence Prevention Association of Victoria, and the Men’s Referral Service. Danny discussed the influences of men’s rights discourse in the area of family law, and how it may be contributing towards men’s violence against women and their children, including filicide. Feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive. The subject matter was so complex and moving (and as Cathy said in her address, ‘chilling’). DVRCV was pleased to receive great feedback such as:

‘really challenging and thoughtful’ ‘a useful & interesting forum… great speakers… good variety’ ‘some really interesting theory… would like some more practical responses to risk..’ ‘fantastic presentations... thought provoking!’

The forum highlighted the breadth of work that is needed to prevent violence against women and children, from addressing gendered ‘hate speech’ towards women, to embedding effective risk assessment and risk management practices across sectors and settings. It also highlighted the need for more effective integration of responses across state / federal laws and services., Podcasts & transcripts (where available) can be accessed here:

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