SWSP6313 Interpersonal, Family and Structural Violence

Level: Master
Credit Points: Six
Prerequisites: None
Mode(s) of delivery: On-campus (Sydney)
Core/elective: Elective

Unit Description

This unit aims to advance students’ knowledge of interpersonal, family and structural violence theories, research approaches, and policy and practice responses at local, national and international levels. Cutting across class, gender, ethnicity, age, culture and religion, interpersonal, family and structural violence seems the least explored impediment to individual, family and societal safety and wellbeing. In addition to an analysis of the impact interpersonal, family and structural violence has on both the victims, perpetrators, culture's and society's key models of practice responses will be investigated for their effectiveness. The question of who benefits from the use of violence and its associated link with power and privilege will be addressed. Current national and international research will be evaluated as well as the effectiveness of current skills for intervention at individual, policy, societal and cultural levels.

Unit Workload

The workload for this unit is 9 hours per week. This includes timetabled class time and private study time.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the nature, causes, scope and impact of IFS violence on all those affected, especially how class, gender, age, culture, economics, ethnicity, religion, and ability contribute to its manifestation.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of and critically evaluate a range of theoretical perspectives and contemporary debates about violence in its manifestations.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of roles and responsibilities of the Government, the Law and NGO agencies in relation to IFS violence.
  4. Evaluate the effectiveness of Government services, resource allocation and practice solutions to IFS violence.
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of the issues concerning IFS violence from a variety of perspectives – practitioners, service users, locally, nationally and internationally.
  6. Evaluate the role of advocacy, service users, survivors, research and policy in addressing the issues.

Learning and Teaching Approach

  1. Learning is an active process – which involves both questioning and challenging.
  2. Learning is a shared process – where others’ thoughts and ideas are presented, critically analysed, exchanged and respected.
  3. Learning is a collaborative and empowering process for self and others.
  4. Learning is thoughtful and reflective.
  5. Learning requires integration with prior knowledge and other arenas of knowledge development in the program.
  6. Preparation for lectures and seminars and reading the recommended texts and references is essential.

The content of this unit has been designed to maximise both online and face-to-face learning to integrate the subject matter.

Students are expected to:

  • Complete all activities
  • Complete readings
  • Complete all assessments
  • Attend all classes

It is also recommended that students:

  • Keep a record of new terminology that is introduced in this unit
  • Keep a copy of assessments and other correspondence
  • Make notes on unit content and readings

There will be learning activities linked to all lecture materials which are designed to encourage students to deliberate and reflect and to provide opportunities for further learning. The activities are designed to help students think through and practise the specific skills and general concepts presented in this unit as well as provide valuable learning opportunities.


Recommended Text

  • Lockhart, L. L., & Danis, F. S. (Eds.) (2010). Domestic violence: Intersectionality and culturally competent practice. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

Recommended Readings

  • Barnett, O. W., Miller-Perrin, C. L., & Perrin, R. D. (2011). Family violence across the lifespan: An introduction (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
  • Braithwaite, J. & Strang, H. (2002). Restorative justice and family violence. Melbourne, Australia: Cambridge University Press.
  • Cleaver, H., Nicholson, D., Tarr, S., & Cleaver, D. (2007). Child protection, domestic violence, and parental substance misuse: Family experiences and effective practice. London, England: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
  • Ellsberg, M., & Heise, L. (2005). Researching violence against women: A practical guide for researchers and activists. Washington, DC: World Health Organization, PATH.
  • Galtung, J. (2010). A theory of development: Overcoming structural violence. Oslo, Norway: TRANSCEND University Press.
  • Jackson, N. A. (Ed.) (2007). Encyclopedia of domestic violence. New York, NY: Routledge.
  • Leech, G. (2012). Capitalism: A structural genocide. London, England: Zed Books.
  • Lombard, N., & McMillan, L. (Eds.) (2013). Violence against women: Current theory and practice in domestic abuse, sexual violence and exploitation. London, England: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
  • Loseke, D. R., Gelles, R. J., & Cavanaugh, M. M. (Eds.) (2005). Current controversies on family violence (2nd ed.). London, England: SAGE Publications.
  • Magnani, L. (2011). Understanding violence: The intertwining of morality, religion and violence: A philosophical stance. Berlin, Germany: Springer-Verlag.
  • McClennen, J. C. (2010). Social work and family violence: Theories, assessments and intervention. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.
  • Pease, B., & Camilleri, P. (Eds.) (2001). Working with men in the human services. Crows Nest, Australia: Allen & Unwin.
  • Renzetti, C. M., Edleson, J. L., & Kennedy Bergen, R. (Eds.) (2013). Sourcebook on violence against women (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
  • Strang, H., & Braithwaite, J. (Eds.) (2002). Restorative justice and family violence. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.


  • Australian Social Work
  • ADVANCES: Journal of Social Work and Welfare Education
  • Australian Journal of Social Issues
  • Critical Social Work
  • Journal of Social Work Education (USA)
  • Journal of Social Work (UK)

Academic Misconduct

Ethical conduct and academic integrity and honesty are fundamental to the mission of ACAP. Academic misconduct will not be tolerated by the college. Please refer to http://currentstudents.acap.edu.au/assets/Managing-My-Course/A-Z-Policies/Academic-Misconduct-Policy.pdf for full details of the Academic Misconduct Policy.


This unit outline may be updated and amended from time to time. To ensure you have the correct outline please check it again at the beginning of the trimester. For a list of required textbooks for the upcoming trimester, please click here.