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Dr Fiona Buchanan 

Position: Lecturer: Social Work
Division/Portfolio: Division of Education, Arts and Social Sciences
School/Unit: School of Psychology, Social Work and Social Policy
Campus: Magill Campus
Office: H1-23
Telephone: +61 8 830 24386
Fax: +61 8 830 24386
Email: Fiona_dot_Buchanan_at_unisa_dot_edu_dot_au
URL for Business Card: http://people.unisa.edu.au/Fiona.Buchanan

I started as a full time lecturer at UniSA in January 2012. Previously I have worked as a social worker in community health and non government agencies in the U.K. and in Australia. Working from an empowerment perspective my experience includes counselling, group work, community development and agency co-ordination. My areas of expertise include the effects of domestic violence on women and children, young people, women's health and the effects of sexual abuse. My Honours thesis is entitled 'Feminist Collective Organisation' and my PhD is on 'The effects of Domestic Violence on the Relationships between Women and their Babies: Beyond attachment theory' My teaching philosophy corresponds with my critical approach to practice and I follow the belief that learning represents: 'Freedom to create and construct, to wonder and to venture, such freedom requires that the individual be active and responsible, not a slave or a well fed cog in the machine' (Pablo Friere 1972)

Links to other sites

Google Scholar Profile

Teaching interests

  • My teaching interests include applying critical theory to teaching critical thinking, the incidence and effects of domestic violence on women and children, communication skills, child centred practice, professional practice and social work and the law. I have a particular interest in a societal perspective to domestic violence and the need to address systems issues to promote prevention.

I teach the following courses

WELF 1019Communication Skills in Social Work and Human Services
WELF 4030Child Centred Practice
JUST 2005Human Service Workers and the Law
WELF 2009Social Work Practice Strategies

Professional associations

The Hawke Institute

Australian Women's and Gender Studies Association

Mothers at the Margins, Australian Branch.


PhD, Flinders University.

BSW Honours (First Class), University of South Australia

Research interests

  • domestic violence
  • gender issues
  • childhood trauma
  • mothering
  • innovation in teaching and learning
  • knowledge in emotions
  • incorporating arts as research methods

Research publications

Moulding, N, Buchanan, F & Wendt, S. (2015) Untangling self-blame and mother-blame in women's and children's perspectives on maternal protectiveness in domestic violence: Implications for practice" Child Abuse review published on Line August 2015

Buchanan F. (2015) Touching on emotions: Clay work as a method for investigating sensitive emotions, book chapter in Critical and Creative Social Work Research Methodologies. Ed Lia Bryant. Ashgate Publishing Ltd, Farnham, U.K.

Wendt, S. Buchanan, F. & Moulding, N. 2015"Mothering and domestic violence: understanding maternal protectiveness within gender power relations." AFFILIA: Journal of Women and Social Work. 01/2015; DOI:10.1177/0886109915570925

Pignata, S., Lushington, K., Sloan, J., & Buchanan, F. 2015 Email overload, volume and management strategies in an Australian university. Journal of Higher Education and Policy Vol. 37 Issue 2 .DOI:10.1080/1360080X.2015.1019121

Buchanan, F.2014 Connecting through clay: Sculpting tactile expressions of deep held emotions, book chapter in Community Art: Creative Approaches to Practice Ed. JILL M. CHONODY Common Ground Publishing LLC, University of Illinois, USA.

Buchanan, F. Wendt, S. & Moulding N., 2014 Growing up with domestic violence: what does protectiveness mean? Qualitative Social Work published online 27 August 2014, DOI: 10.1177/1473325014547251

Buchanan, F. Power, C and Verity. F., 2014 The effects of domestic violence on the formation of relationships between women and their babies: “I was too busy protecting my baby to attach”. Journal of Family Violence, 29 (7), 713-724 DOI:10.1007/s10896-014-9630-5

Zufferey, C, Gibson, C., & Buchanan, F.,2014 Collaborating to focus on children in Australian social work education. Social Work Education: The International Journal, DOI: 10.1080/02615479.2014.940889

Buchanan,F. 2014 Addressing the impact of domestic violence on mother's relationships with their infants. Family & Intimate Partner Violence Quarterly. 6.(3) Online at www.civicresearchinstitute.com/fipv.html

Buchanan,F, Power, C and Verity, F., 2013 Domestic violence and the place of fear in mother/baby relationships: “What was I afraid of? Of making it worse”. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Journal of Interpersonal Violence 28 (9), 1817-1838 www.sagepublications.com

Buchanan, F., 2013 How and why: Critical thinking matters when teaching diverse student groups. Advances in Social Work and Welfare Education, Vol 15, No 1,135-147

Buchanan, F., 2013 A critical analysis of the use of attachment theory in cases of domestic violence, Critical Social Work, 14 (2)

Buchanan, F. Wendt, S. & Moulding N., 2013 Understanding maternal protectiveness in the context of domestic violence: the complexity of children’s needs and women’s vulnerability. DVRCV Advocate.Domestic Violence Resource Centre, Victoria. Australia.

Buchanan, F., 2013 Addressing the Impact of Domestic Violence on Relationships between Mothers and Infants. Domestic Violence Report. Civic Research Institute, New York, USA.

Buchanan, F., 2012 The effects of domestic violence on the relationship between women and their babies: Beyond attachment theory Flinders University Thesis on Line

Buchanan, F., 2010. Transcending the divide between two domains: The fields of domestic violence and of attachment theory. .Program abstracts from the 12th World Congress “Infancy in times of transition”, H. E. Fitzgerald, R. McGreal-Miller, & D. K. Fitzgerald (Eds.), supplement to Vol 32(3) Infant Mental Health Journal.

Buchanan, F., 2008. Mother and infant attachment theory and domestic violence: Crossing the divide. Australian Domestic & Family Violence Clearinghouse. Stakeholder Paper No. 5, 1-16. www.adfvc.unsw.edu.au

Buchanan, F.,2005 Domestic violence and young children ‘Every Child’ vol 11 No 1, Early Childhood Australia Inc.

Buchanan. F ,& Pill, D.A., 2003 Young People and Human Rights-Promoting Healthy Relationships, Preventing Domestic Violence wcfv.confex.com

Research Degree Supervisor

I supervise honours and PhD students from the School of Psychology, Social Work and Social Policy. Research topics are related to violence against women and children and to the use of creative methods in social work practice.

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