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Understanding Children's Resources in the Context of Family Violence through a Collaborative Songwriting Method

  • Rebecca Fairchild (a1) and Katrina Skewes McFerran (a1)


The majority of literature about children experiencing family violence focuses on reporting ‘problems’ and highlighting detrimental outcomes for children. In contrast, there is little acknowledgement of children's personal resources and capacities in times of crisis.

This article describes a participatory arts-based research project involving 10 pre-adolescent children. The research aimed to explore children's individual resources and to highlight the value of giving voice to children through participatory processes. A collaborative songwriting method sought to co-construct knowledge with children about what helped them to ‘do well’ in their lives. An illustrative example demonstrates the collaborative process of engaging children throughout the data generation, collaborative analysis and presentation of the findings. The children described a range of resources and supports in their lives, such as friends, family, sport, pets, journaling, hope and creativity. Five themes explore the role these resources play in children's lives: seeking refuge, wanting to feel safe, hoping for a better future, feeling cared for and being self-determined. The results emphasise the ongoing need to build upon existing resources in children's lives and to support them to navigate access to additional resources. We advocate for participatory approaches that provide opportunities for children's voices to be heard, fostered and responded to.


Corresponding author

address for correspondence: Rebecca Fairchild, The University of Melbourne, Building 862, 234 St Kilda Road, Southbank, Victoria 3006, Australia. E-mail:


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Understanding Children's Resources in the Context of Family Violence through a Collaborative Songwriting Method

  • Rebecca Fairchild (a1) and Katrina Skewes McFerran (a1)


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