Child maltreatment is a leading contributor to the development of a range of mental disorders, drug use, self-injurious behaviour and suicide attempts, and behavioural disturbances among children and adolescents. Our researchers focus on identifying the individual, family and contextual factors that place maltreated children at greatest risk of developing early mental health and behavioural disorders.  

Our work focuses on developing knowledge for preventative interventions to alter high-risk pathways and buffer children against negative impacts of early trauma and adversity. Furthermore, the research team has investigated models of effective assessment, intervention and management for working with young people who have had contact with the criminal justice system. 

Our research in this area focuses on: 

  • risk and resilience in the pathways from child maltreatment to early mental health and behavioural disorders 
  • valid models for risk and need assessment with families involved with child protective services, including ‘dual-status’ youth 
  • understanding individual and contextual factors associated with youth intimate partner violence and child-to-parent violence 
  • effective early intervention and diversion models for fostering desistence from youth offending and improving emotional and social functioning. 

Current and recent projects 

  • Validity of the Child Abuse Risk Evaluation (CARE-EN) and Detection of Unsafety in Families (DUF) assessment measures for identifying and managing high-risk families involved with child protective services. 
  • Improving understanding and risk assessment of youth-perpetrated family violence. 
  • Mental health need and service utilisation among youth preparators and victims of family violence.  
  • Self-harm and suicidality in dual child protection and justice involved youth — identifying opportunities for prevention and early intervention.  
  • Predictive validity of the Youth Level of Service / Case Management Inventory (YLS/CMI 2.0) with ‘cross-over’ and ‘dual-status’ young people in the Victorian Children’s Court. 
  • Psychological change through Youth Justice group conferencing. 
  • Development and evaluation of the Victoria Police Embedded Youth Outreach Project. 

Research stream leaders 

Recent publications 

Papalia, N. L., Luebbers, S., & Ogloff, J. R. P. (2020). A developmental lifecourse approach to the study of offending and victimisation following child sexual abuse. In I. Bryce & W. Petherick (Eds.) Child Sexual Abuse: Forensic issues in evidence, impact, and management (pp. 293–323). Academic Press. 

Guha, A., Luebbers, S., Papalia, N. L., & Ogloff, J. R. P. (2019). A follow-up study of mental health service utilisation in a cohort of 2433 sexually abused Australian children utilising five years of medical data. Child Abuse & Neglect, 90, 174-184. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2019.01.015 

Simmons, M., McEwan, T. E., Purcell, R., & Ogloff, J. R. P. (2018). Sixty years of child-to-parent abuse research: What we know and where to go. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 38, 31–52. 

Daff, E. S., McEwan, T.E., Luebbers, S. (2018). Australian adolescents’ experiences of aggression and abuse by intimate partners. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 

Papalia, N. L., Luebbers, S., Ogloff, J. R. P., Cutajar, M., Mullen, P. E., & Mann, E. (2017). Further victimization of child sexual abuse victims: A latent class typology of re-victimization trajectories. Child Abuse & Neglect. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2017.02.040 

Papalia, N. L., Luebbers, S., Ogloff, J. R. P., Cutajar, M., & Mullen, P. E. (2017). Exploring the longitudinal offending pathways of child sexual abuse victims: A preliminary analysis using latent variable modeling. Child Abuse & Neglect. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2017.01.0 

Shepherd, S. M., Luebbers, S., & Ogloff, J. R. P. (2016). The role of protective factors and the relationship with recidivism for high-risk young people in detention. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 43, 863-878. 

Our other research programs

Contact the Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science

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