Prof Sue Saltmarsh, Associate Dean (Research and Postgraduate Studies) of FEHD has been awarded the Springer Award for best paper 2021.
The award-winning paper, 'I'm trying to tell you, this man is dangerous...and no one's listening': Family violence, parent-school engagement and school complicity, was co-authored with Dr Eseta Tualaulelei from the University of Southern Queensland and Dr Kay Ayre from Edith Cowan University.
The paper presents a case study of a mother’s experience of engaging with her children’s schools after leaving a long-term relationship. The mother, Bernadette, suffered from family violence perpetrated by the children’s father, and her experiences with school staff during the period of family upheaval were unsatisfactory in numerous critical and troubling respects. In particular, Bernadette and her children were exposed to greater levels of risk and ongoing physical and psychological harm when her appeals to the school for assistance went unheeded.
“Bernadette’s experience underscores an urgent need for a national conversation about school policies, procedures and everyday practices when dealing with children and parents living with or fleeing family violence,” Prof Saltmarsh commented regarding the case in her study. “While research concerning schools and family violence tends to focus on identifying signs of child neglect or abuse and cooperation between social services, less has been written about schools as sites of intervention and support.”
The paper also argues that gender politics and organisational strategies for keeping parents “in their place” can significantly contribute to systemic failures and school cultures that reinscribe the effects of family violence. It helps initiate an ongoing and interdisciplinary dialogue, suggesting that education researchers and practitioners need to rethink the role of schooling and education research as sites of intervention, safety and support for women and children affected by family violence.
The Springer Award for best paper is presented by Australian Association for Research in Education. The Australian Educational Researcher 's editorial team chooses the best paper from those published in each year.
As this award illustrates, FEHD strives to bring new insights to family studies and education policies. By promoting families and children’s well-being, we seek to take our research to the NEXT LEVEL.