Staff Profile

photo of Dr Daryl Higgins

Dr Daryl Higgins
Deputy Director (Research)

BA (Melb), BA(Hons) (Deakin), PhD (Deakin)

Biography

Dr Higgins is the Deputy Director (Research) at the Australian Institute of Family Studies, where he has responsibility for the Institute's research program. The Institute undertakes a wide range of research, evaluation and dissemination projects focusing on policy- and practice-relevant issues affecting families in Australia. He is a registered psychologist, and has been researching child abuse, family violence, sexuality and family functioning since 1993. He has extensive experience in managing and supervising research, and has led projects looking at child abuse and neglect, child protection, children in out-of-home care, child-safe organisations, Family Court processes for responding to allegations of child abuse, caring for a family member with a disability, welfare reform, jobless families, past adoption practices, and community development approaches to children at risk in Indigenous communities. He has a sound knowledge of state and territory policy contexts across Australia. He has considerable experience in evaluation methodology and frameworks across areas including child protection, out-of-home care, sexual assault, child care, parenting, care for family members with a disability, and family and community wellbeing.

Daryl also has experience in conducting qualitative research and program evaluations with Indigenous communities, as well as understanding and analysing and interpreting quantitative administrative data (such as child protection departmental statistics relating to Indigenous Australians). In particular, Daryl has led projects examining best practice in Indigenous out-of-home care, and a range of community development projects focusing on early childhood, young people, and education engagement/mentoring for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people. He is currently leading AIFS' contributions to the Closing the Gap Clearinghouse, a research dissemination unit, run in collaboration with the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, focused on identifying and communicating key findings from research evidence about what works to close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage in relation to the seven building blocks identified by the Council of Australian Governments - early childhood, schooling, health, employment, housing, community safety, and governance/leadership.

Specialist areas

  • "Multi-type maltreatment" and the overlap between occurrence of various types of child abuse and neglect
  • Family relationships, family functioning, and family support services
  • Statutory child protection systems
  • Child abuse prevention
  • Impact of and therapeutic responses to child maltreatment and adult sexual assault (including complex post-traumatic stress disorder)
  • Caring for family members with a disability
  • Community development strategies for protecting children
  • Jobless families and disadvantaged communities
  • Preventing and responding to sexual assault

Selected recent publications

Presentations

Top