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Data custodian: Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS)
Contact: General Manager (Research)
Address: Level 20, South Tower, 485 La Trobe St, Melbourne, VIC, 3000
Telephone: 03 9214 7888
Facsimile: 03 9214 7839
The study aimed to provide a picture of the separation experience of parents across broad range of family arrangements and to contribute to understanding the long-term effects of family law policy.
“Family Pathways: The Longitudinal Study of Separated Families” (LSSF) explores questions about separation and caring for children when a relationship ends. This information provides a picture of what life is like for separated parents across a broad range of family arrangements, from shared care through to one parent never seeing their child. The study is helping to improve understanding of the early and longer term effects of family law policy. Findings from Wave 1 of this study contributed strongly to the AIFS’ evaluation of the 2006 family law reforms.
Family and Domestic Violence related content (data items collected)
2 Refers to whether these health factors were considered prior to separation and does not specify which parent had the issues.
The full instrument is available at: http://www.aifs.gov.au/institute/pubs/fle/appendixc.pdf
Definition of Family and Domestic Violence
The LSSF uses a broad definition of FDV, incorporating both the Family Law Act (section 4) and the Screening and Assessment Framework Guidelines for Family Dispute Resolution as these provide the context for family separation experiences being assessed by the LSSF.
The Family Law Act (Section 4) defines family violence as:
The Screening and Assessment Guidelines refer to the Partnerships Against Domestic Violence (1997) definition, which is:
To establish whether FDV was a factor in their separation experience, respondents were asked a series of questions about their partner’s behaviour:
(1) try to prevent you from contacting family or friends;
(3) try to prevent knowledge of or access to family money;
(4) insult you with the intent to shame, belittle or humiliate;
(5) threaten to harm the (child/children);
(6) threaten to harm other family/friends;
(7) threaten to harm you;
(8) damage or destroy property;
(9) threaten to harm or pets;
(10) threaten to harm themselves.
Before you separated: were you ever physically hurt by (focus parent) in any way?
Relationship to Conceptual Framework for Family and Domestic Violence (Cat. No. 4529.0)
The Longitudinal Study of Separated Families is a national study of some 10,000 parents (with at least one child under 18 years old) who separated after the introduction of the reforms in July 2006. The study involves the collection of data from the same group of parents over time.
A random sample was used to select respondents from Child Support Agency clients and surveys were conducted by telephone interview.
Where the separated couple had more than one child together who was under 18 years at the time of the survey, most of the child-related questions that were asked focused on only one of these children (called the “focus child”).
The first wave of the LSSF 2008 took place between August and October 2008, up to 26 months after the time of parental separation. The final overall response rate for LSSF W1 2008 was 60.2%. An equal gender split was achieved. The majority of participants were aged between 25 and 44 years (74%) and were born in Australia (83%).
A second wave of 7,031 re-interviews was conducted between September and November 2009. In addition, adolescent children of parents participating in the LSSF were also surveyed following Wave 2. This adolescent survey obtained information about their experiences and opinions relating to parental separation. The second wave of data from the LSSF and the adolescent survey data will be used in a subsequent report to be undertaken in 2010.
Information collected as part of this study will contribute to understanding the long-term effects of family law policy and will provide a picture of what life is like over time for separated parents across a broad range of family arrangements, from shared care through to less frequent contact.
Scope / target population
Parents, 18 years or over, who met the following criteria:
Geographic coverage and disaggregation
Data available for:
Frequency / Timing
Collection commenced: 2008
Breaks in series: no
Other details: The questions on family violence were also asked in the survey Looking Back Survey conducted in 2009. This survey interviewed 2000 separated parents who registered with the CSA in 2005 and separated before 1 July 2006. The questions on family violence and other questions asked in this survey were similar to the LSSF.
The emotional abuse questions were modified based on some questions asked in the ABS Personal Safety Survey.
Has this data source changed?
Contact the ABS to report updates or corrections to the information above.