AIFS conference showcasing research into family wellbeing


The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) biennial conference, attracting internationally renowned researchers and experts in the family wellbeing space, will be held from 11 to 14 June at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The event will be opened by Minister for Social Services, the Hon. Amanda Rishworth MP (via video link) and Attorney-General, the Hon. Mark Dreyfus KC, MP (in person).

Keynote speakers include expert in gender equity, family care time, employment-care balance and social policy, Professor Lyn Craig; Australia’s first Indigenous doctor and child psychiatrist, and expert in Aboriginal mental health provision, Dr Helen Milroy; clinical psychologist, researcher and leading men’s mental health expert, Dr Zac Seidler; and speech pathologist, autism researcher, community advocate for children and science communicator, Professor Andrew Whitehouse.

View all speakers and the full program.

As part of the program of 250 speakers across 82 sessions, many AIFS researchers will be presenting new research into a wide range of issues affecting families. You are invited to a media opportunity at 10.30am on Wednesday 12 June (the first morning of the conference proper) to meet in person with AIFS researchers including:

  • Dr Jennifer Baxter – presenting new research revealing the proportion of eligible mothers and fathers taking up government-funded paid parental leave, along with a report on how couple families share child care in the home. Both reports publishing 12 June.
  • Dr Emily Stevens – presenting a new report on improving the safety and wellbeing of vulnerable children – a collaboration between AIFS and the Australian Human Rights Commission, with funding from The Ian Potter Foundation. National Children’s Commissioner Anne Hollonds will also be available to interview about the report. Report publishing 14 June.
  • Dr Amanda Vittiglia – presenting preliminary research on associations between vaping and mental health, as part of AIFS’ Longitudinal Study of Australian Children.
  • Dr Kristel Alla – presenting a preliminary report on the benefits of nature play, highlighting that children spend a large proportion of their time indoors, and why this is problematic.
  • Dr Lixia Qu – presenting preliminary research on the time children spend with either parent post-separation based on administrative data, and how this has been trending over recent years.
  • Dr Nancy Greer – presenting preliminary findings from the National Gambling Trends Study 2023, revealing participation, harms and help-seeking behaviours amongst regular pokies gamblers and online bettors. Nancy also authored preliminary research that will be presented at the conference showing early initiation to gambling and alcohol before the age of 18 is often seen as a rite of passage – yet is associated with riskier behaviours and greater gambling harms as an adult.
  • Dr Jasmine MacDonald – presenting research from several published reports on coercive control – including technology facilitated coercive control, reproductive coercive control and coercive control victimisation.
  • Dr Kei Sakata – presenting research conducted during COVID that showed (despite concerns to the contrary) reducing pokies access didn’t lead to those who gambled on pokies to move onto other harmful activities like other gambling, or alcohol use.

More than 700 delegates from the child and family wellbeing sector are expected to attend the conference, held over four days (including the pre-conference workshops on Tuesday 11 June). Speakers include researchers, policy makers, service providers, practitioners and thought leaders from around Australia and overseas.

/Public Release. View in full here.