Understanding encounters with Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) among Australia veterans and families

International studies indicate that IPV is a significant concern among current and ex-serving military personnel, and thus they highlight the need for initiatives to address violence used by current or former personnel, as well as IPV victimisation (or exposures) encountered in military and veteran-specific contexts.

However, there has been limited empirical attention to IPV among current and former personnel outside the U.S., and this project comprised a preliminary study of IPV in support services for current and ex-service personnel and families in Australia. This was conducted in partnership with Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling (Open Arms), and involved an online survey of mental health practitioners who provide services on behalf of Open Arms, with follow-up interviews with a subsample of providers.

The findings indicated areas of confidence and low self-efficacy as perceived by providers, and provide evidence regarding the frequency of encounters with clients who disclose both IPV use and exposure. They also indicate clinical practices that are commonly reported by service providers and relate to IPV (e.g., identification strategies and typical responses to clients who disclose IPV).

The findings from the interviews provide important narrative accounts of the different understandings of IPV among service providers, while illustrating military-specific factors that may influence violence and complicate processes of risk assessment.

A technical report has been produced which positions the findings in relation to the policy context for Open Arms and comparable support services in Australia, and discusses implications of these for practice and future research.


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