Jemma VenablesDr Jemma Venables is a social work lecturer at the UQ School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work. Her research explores the policy-practice interface in child, youth and family practice. In particular, her research focuses on the intersection of statutory child protection, family support services, domestic and family violence (DFV) and transition from out-of-home care support. Underpinning her research is a key interest in collaboration, inter-agency working and justice.

Current research

Currently finalising a longitudinal evaluation of an attachment-based, trauma-informed group program addressing son-to-mother violence. The mixed-method study followed mothers and sons, from three different cohorts engaged in the group program, over a period of 30 months. The study highlights the complex needs of families with a history of DFV and signals the need for specialist interventions for mothers and their sons where violence is reoccurring in the context of trauma and structural/socioeconomic disadvantage. The preliminary findings suggest that addressing disrupted mother-son attachments and jointly addressing trauma from previous experiences of DFV, serves as a platform from which young people can address their own use of violence. The findings also highlight the importance of wholistic support provided outside of the group sessions. This project is due to be completed in September 2019.

Collaborative project with industry re the experience and support needs of young people in out-of-home care who are self-placing away from their department-approved placements. There are very few specialised services that support this cohort and little is known about the factors that help to build safety, both physical and felt, for this cohort of young people. The preliminary findings from this mixed-methods study highlight the importance of relationship-based practice; flexible and responsive services; as well as systemic advocacy for achieving positive outcomes. This project is due to be completed in October 2019.

Understanding the impact of recent reforms to the child protection and domestic violence sector. Do the changes reduce the responsibility and burden placed on the non-offending parents in child protection cases involving DFV. Qualitative study involving practitioners in the DFV sector that support mothers in contact with the child protection system.

Career highlights

  • Receiving Best Research Paper Award for 'The role of leadership teams in shaping office culture towards collaborative practice in statutory child protection: Practitioner perspectives' at the International Conference on Change and Innovation for a Better World: The Future of Social Work Profession, held in Hong Kong, 27-29 June 2019.