Emerging Minds

The impact of family and domestic violence on the child

About the course

This course provides you with an introduction to the impact of family and domestic violence (FDV) on children. It gives a definition of family and domestic violence, and highlights the impact that it can have on a child’s relationships, physical health, and social and emotional wellbeing.

This foundation course will also introduce you to the case for incorporating child focused practice (in adult services) when working with parents effected by FDV. The high prevalence of FDV in Australia combined with the short, medium and long-term effects on the mental health and social and emotional wellbeing of children, make these understandings crucial for all professionals working with adults and children.1

Who is this course for?

This course is designed for practitioners in adult-focused services who engage with adult and family adversity. It recognises the significant proportion of parents affected by FDV who present to services, and the interrelated nature of FDV and mental health, substance use, homelessness, financial pressure and child protection issues.  


This course is not designed to equip you in the skills of crisis response, risk assessment and safety planning to recognise and respond to FDV. It assumes you have a basic understanding of these. It will however explore an approach that will help you to focus on the children in families where FDV is a presenting issue.

Learning aims

As you progress through this course, you will work towards:

  • understanding the nature and prevalence of family and domestic violence in Australia
  • understanding a view of family and domestic violence that enables child-aware approaches
  • recognising the impact of family and domestic violence on children
  • linking the impact of family and domestic violence with a child’s social and emotional wellbeing
  • understanding the importance of identifying and responding to issues of FDV in ways that prevent immediate and long-term consequences for children’s social and emotional wellbeing.

This course is a foundation for the practice-based Family and domestic violence and child-aware practice course. It is highly recommended that you complete this foundation course first before moving on to the core course, as it will provide you with important understandings around FDV that will enable you to incorporate child-aware practice into safe and effective conversations with mothers or fathers where FDV is a presenting issue.

This course is based on the following understandings: 

  • FDV is prevalent in the lives of many Australian women and children. 
  • Women experiencing FDV will typically not present at specialist FDV services. 
  • There is a role for workers in non-FDV services to gain skills in crisis response, risk assessment and safety planning to recognise and respond to FDV. 
  • It is important that this response has a focus on the children in these families to minimise the effects of FDV on children’s mental health and wellbeing.


This course features videos of fictional parents and family scenarios. As you work through the course, it is important to be aware of your own emotional responses. Please follow the self-care tips below and seek help if needed: 

  • We do not recommend undertaking the entire course in one sitting. Give yourself some breaks. Even if you don’t feel that you need a break, it’s a good idea to take one anyway and come back later. 
  • Be aware of your emotions as you progress through the course, and take action if you are starting to feel stressed or upset. For example, consider taking a break and doing something for yourself that you enjoy. 
  • Be aware of your emotional responses after you complete the course. 

If at any point you find you are struggling, please talk with your supervisor, seek help, or call Lifeline on 13 11 14, Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, or SANE Australia on 1800 18 7263. 


For the purpose of this course, the term ‘parent’ encompasses the biological and adoptive parents of a child as well as individuals who have chosen to take up a primary or shared responsibility in raising that child.

'Social and emotional wellbeing' refers to the way a person thinks and feels about themselves and others. Social and emotional wellbeing incorporates behavioural and emotional strengths. It is integral to child development.2

Ready to start learning?

Register today to access.