Course Title: Working with Violence and Abuse

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Working with Violence and Abuse

Credit Points: 12


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


365H Global, Urban and Social Studies


Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 1 2017,
Sem 2 2018,
Sem 2 2019,
Sem 2 2020


City Campus


365H Global, Urban and Social Studies


Sem 1 2010,
Sem 1 2016,
Sem 1 2018,
Sem 1 2019,
Sem 1 2020

Course Coordinator: Christine Craik

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 99252940

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: Building 8, Level 10

Course Coordinator Availability: Wednesday and Thursdays

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

An overwhelming percentage of the work done by Social workers, youth workers and other human service workers, focuses on addressing the consequences of domestic/family violence and childhood sexual abuse. This course is designed to give students an introduction to this work in domestic/family violence with a strong emphasis on childhood sexual abuse. Students will examine the social and political underpinnings of violence in our society and the gendered manifestations of this. Students will gain an understanding of the definitions and myths of the many forms of domestic/family violence and sexual abuse, and investigate in whose interests these are maintained. Students will be introduced to current statistics, research and legal responses to this issue as well as the physical and emotional effects on survivors. Students will explore ways in which they can identify and support survivors and ways in which to ensure perpetrator accountability.

Please note that if you take this course for a bachelor honours program, your overall mark in this course will be one of the course marks that will be used to calculate the weighted average mark (WAM) that will determine your award level. (This applies to students who commence enrolment in a bachelor honours program from 1 January 2016 onwards. See the WAM information web page for more information.)

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Students will particiapte in the debates, gain a firm knowledge of the relevant legislation governing this field,  and have an opportunity to practice various levels of intervention when working with survivors of domestic violence and childhood sexual abuse.

Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs)

  1. To explore many of the social and political structures within our society that allow and contribute to the continuation of domestic/family violence and childhood sexual abuse in Australia.
    2. To increase students knowledge of current research and statistics around domestic/family violence and childhood sexual abuse.
    3. To outline and explore a broad range of behaviours and practices which constitute domestic/family violence and childhood sexual abuse.
    4. To provide students with the information necessary to identify survivors of domestic/family violence and childhood sexual abuse.
    5. To introduce students to current social and feminist empowerment based models of support and treatment that will enable them to respond to both survivors and perpetrators.
    6. To promote practice that prioritises survivor safety and perpetrator accountability.


Overview of Learning Activities

The format of this course, will be a series of 13 lectures (each an hour), followed by a two hour tutorial. The tutorials will be highly interactive with students working in small groups, large group discussions and group/solo exercises to explore the issues of working with violence. There will be extensive use of role plays and experiential learning to encourage students to actively engage with the skills, further clarify their personal values and viewpoints and unpack the issues presented.


Overview of Learning Resources

  • There will be a reading pack available. 
  • Students are encouraged to join the library and look through the research and publications of the DVIRC (Domestic Violence and Incest Resource Centre). 
  • Australian Domestic & family violence clearing house. 
  • Australian Centre for the study of sexual assault 
  • Centres Against Sexual Assault libraries – CASA House 93473066; SECASA 9928 8741; Northern CASA 9496 2240; WestCASA 9687 8637; Eastern CASA 98707310. 
  • Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention Legal Service 
  • Immigrant Women’s Domestic Violence Service 
  • Victorian Government: Women’s Safety Strategy 
  • Australian Government: Partnerships Against Violence

Key texts and reports include:
Victorian Law Reform Commission – Review of Family Violence Laws available at: (follow prompts to family violence review).

Crimes (Family Violence) Act, Vic

Cleary, P. (2002) Just another little murder Allen & Unwin NSW

Fitzgerald A (2005) Animal abuse and family violence : researching the inter-relationships of abusive power. Lewinston NY. Edwin Mellen Press.

Kimm J (2004) A fatal conjunction: two laws, two cultures.
Annadale NSW. Federation Press.

Kissane K (2006) Silent Death: The Killing of Julie Ramage
Hodder Publications.

MacDonald, H. (1998) What’s in a name? Definitions and domestic violence. Brunswick DVIRC.

Radford, L & Hester M. (2006) Mothering Through Domestic Violence, Jessical Kingsley Publishers, London.

Responding to Violence: a collection of papers relating to child sexual abuse and violence in intimate relationships. Adelaide, SA. Dulwich Centre Publications. 2003.

Southwell, J (2003) What is Child Sexual Abuse? :Rethinking What we Know . Collingwood DVIRC.

Taylor, C. (2004) Surviving the legal system : a handbook for adult & child sexual assault survivors & their supporters. Port Melbourne, Vic. :Coulomb Communications.

Overview of Assessment

There are three components to Assessment for this course.

1. Magistrates Court visit Report 40% CLOs 1,4,6
Students will be required to visit either the Melbourne Magistrates Court or one of the specialist domestic violence Courts (Heidelberg Domestic Violence Court or Ballarat Domestic Violence Court) prior to the Easter break. Students will then write a report on the process of obtaining an Intervention Order in Victoria. This report is to include a safety plan for a survivor who still resides with the perpetrator, and specifics that would need to be included on the Intervention Order to ensure maximum safety once the perpetrator leaves the residence. More information on this Report and details of the domestic violence court, will be covered in class.
Length 1000 words
Due date: The week prior to the Easter semester break

2. Essay 50% CLOs 2,3,4,5,6
Students are expected to write a 2000 word essay to be handed in two weeks after the course has finished. Students have a choice of two kinds of essays.
1. A personal reflection on an experience of violence/ abuse, relating to theory..
2. An essay which will cover a specific area of interest within childhood sexual abuse. Essay topics will be handed out in week 6 of this course.
Length 2000 words
Due date: Two weeks after the last class

3. Workshop participation 10% CLO 1
Students are expected to participate in all workshops and your participation, evidence of reading and contribution will be randomly assessed.