The Infant, the State, Ethics & the Law
2017 2017-07-19T12:18:35+00:00


Invitation to attend

The 2017 Australian Association for Infant Mental Health Conference promises a celebration of infants and the work of all practitioners who support families and communities in caring for them.

The program is designed to explore the complex systems that influence and govern our thinking and our work. It will focus on the matters that threaten to derail our thinking, that perplex and distress and guide us in our work with infants and families.

Themes will include

  1. The infant in families Assisted by Reproductive Technology (ART)
  2. The infant seeking asylum
  3. The infant’s experience of family violence
  4. The infant within the Child Protection System
  5. The observed infant
  6. Reflective supervision

Speakers representing frontiers of practice across Australia have been invited to inform and lead our discussion. The conference organising committee invites you to meet, share and enjoy the companionship of colleagues and to be part of what we hope will be a reflective, nourishing and stimulating conference for all delegates.

Who should attend?

This conference will be of interest to all professionals interested in the healthy and creative development of young children and their families:

  • Academics and Researchers
  • Child Care Workers
  • Children & Family Court Affiliates
  • Child Protection Practitioners
  • Early Childhood Educators
  • Ethicists
  • Family Service Practitioners
  • Family Violence Service Practitioners
  • Health and Mental Health Practitioners
  • Maternal and and Child Health Nurses
  • Men’s Behaviour Change Practitioners, and
  • Policy Leaders
Permission to use this image kindly given by the artist, Michael Leunig
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We are delighted that the following Keynote Speakers will be presenting at the AAIMHI Conference.

Dr Wendy Bunston

Dr Wendy Bunston is a senior trainer and consultant, as well as associate teacher at La Trobe University, Victoria, Australia, and has worked in the child and family welfare sector for 30 years. Wendy previously managed the multi-award winning Addressing Family Violence Programs in the Mental Health Program of Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital for 16 years as well as worked as a senior clinician and consultant family therapist.
Wendy’s recently completed PhD won the prestigious ‘Nancy Millis’ award and is titled “How Refuge provides ‘refuge’ to Infants: Exploring the ways in which ‘refuge’ is provided to, and experienced by, infants entering crisis accommodation with their mothers after fleeing family violence”. Wendy specialises in working with infants, children and their parents impacted by family violence. She provides clinical supervision and training to multiple early childhood services across Melbourne. She is a senior clinical social worker with a Master’s Degree in Family Therapy and further post graduate qualifications in Organisational Dynamics and Infant Mental Health.
Wendy has authored multiple international articles, chapters and books regarding infants, children, family violence and relational trauma. Wendy’s book, “Helping Babies and Children to heal after Family Violence” and released this year, is published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Sarah Jones

Sarah Jones works privately as a Psychotherapist/Mental Health Social Worker.
Her own clinical interests are working with couples with both perinatal and infertility difficulties and also as a parent-infant therapist. She also has an extensive experience in working as a an External Supervisor and Trainer, with both public and private health care services. In conjunction she works with in the fields of Maternal and Child Health, external consultant to medical/ paediatric staff at the Royal Children’s’ Hospital, and a long interest in working with hospital and community teams in Palliative Care.

Jon Jureidini

Jon Jureidini is a child psychiatrist who also trained in philosophy (PhD, Flinders University), critical appraisal (University of British Columbia) and psychotherapy (Tavistock Clinic). He is a professor in the Disciplines of Psychiatry and Paediatrics at the University of Adelaide. He heads Adelaide University’s Critical and Ethical Mental Health research group (CEMH), which conducts research, teaching and advocacy in order to promote safer, more effective and more ethical research and practice in mental health; and the Paediatric Mental Health Training Unit (PMHTU), providing training and support to medical students GPs, allied health professionals, teachers and counsellors in non-pathologising approaches to primary care mental health.

Jureidini learnt most of what he knows about psychiatry growing up in a pub, from being a father, from reading novels, and from Michael Leunig’s cartoons. He is chair of Australian-Palestinian Partnerships for Education and Health, and on the board of Siblings Australia, an organisation that advocates for individuals with ill and disabled siblings. His other published interests include cognitive science, ethics, quality use of medicines, immigration detention, suicide, and child abuse.

Dr Sarah Mares

Dr Sarah Mares is an infant, child and family psychiatrist with an established clinical and academic interest in early experience and risk, prevention and therapeutic intervention with high-risk infants, children and their families. This includes those in the child protection system, children in remote Aboriginal communities and asylum seekers and refugees. In addition her professional interests include human rights and mental health and the health and conduct of health professionals. She is an experienced multidisciplinary educator, consultant, and has contributed to a number of expert advisory groups and Inquiries.

In February 2014 Dr Mares was RANZCP Consultant to the Australian Human Rights Commission Inquiry into Immigration Detention of Children and in 2016 she provided expert testimony to the South Australian Child Protection Systems Royal Commission. She is Conjoint Senior Lecturer, School of Psychiatry, UNSW, Honorary Fellow at the Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin and Hearings Member at the NSW Medical Council

Jennifer McIntosh

Jennifer McIntosh is a clinical and developmental psychologist, family therapist, and researcher.  Jennifer is Professor of Psychology at Deakin University, where she leads the perinatal science stream of the Centre for Social and Early Emotional Development,  Fellow of the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, and Senior Fellow of the University of Melbourne. In these roles, she directs the Melbourne Attachment and Caregiving Lab (the ATP MAC Lab) and coordinates two nested studies of attachment development within the Australian Temperament Project. She is the founding director of Family Transitions, and its online training portal,

Jennifer’s 30-year career has been devoted to attachment and care-giving, focused on families and young children experiencing trauma or transition. McIntosh has had a substantial impact on policy and practice in Australian and international Family Law. In 2011, she was recipient of the AFCC Stanley Cohen Distinguished Research Award. McIntosh is the author of the Family Law DOORS (Detection of Overall Risk), the first tool for the screening of violence and well-being in separated families to enable the detection of developmental risk in infants. Her Family Law related research and intervention programs are housed at, including the Young Children in Divorce and Separation Program, an online education program for separated parents of very young children.

Graham Music

Graham Music (PHD) is Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist at the Tavistock and Portman Clinics and an adult psychotherapist in private practice. His publications include Nurturing Natures: Attachment and children’s emotional, sociocultural and brain development 2011/(2016), Affect and Emotion (2001), and The Good Life: Wellbeing and the new science of altruism, selfishness and immorality (2014), as well as many journal articles and book chapters.
He has a interest in exploring the interface between developmental science research and clinical work. Formerly Associate Clinical Director of the Tavistock’s child and family department, he has managed a range of services working with the aftermath of child maltreatment and neglect, has a particular interest in the therapeutic challenges of working with trauma and neglect, and has specialised for many years in work with children who have been adopted or are in public care.
He has also organised many community based psychotherapy services, for example in over 70 schools, aiming to make therapy services more accessible. He currently works clinically with forensic cases at The Portman Clinic. He teaches, lectures and supervises on a range of trainings in Britain and abroad, and speaks regularly at conferences and in the media.

Louise Newman

Louise Newman is the Director of the Centre for Women’s Mental Health at the Royal Women’s Hospital and Professor of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne. She was the founding Chair of Perinatal and Infant Psychiatry at the University of Newcastle and the previous Director of the New South Wales Institute of Psychiatry. In January 2011 she was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia for work in child protection.

She is a practising infant psychiatrist with expertise in the area of disorders of early parenting and attachment difficulties in infants.  She has undertaken research into the issues confronting parents with histories of early trauma and neglect.  Her current research focusses on the evaluation of infant-parent interventions in high-risk populations, the concept of parental reflective functioning in mothers with borderline personality disorder and the neurobiology of parenting disturbance.

She was recently awarded grants for intervention studies in Domestic Violence, and she has published in the areas of infant mental health, attachment disorders trauma, and prevention of child abuse.

She is the Convenor of the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Group. She has been a Government advisor on asylum seeker and refugee mental health and contributed to the development of policy for mental health screening and response to torture survivors. She has been involved in research into the impact of immigration detention on child asylum seekers.

Gillian Triggs
Opening Address

Emeritus Professor Gillian Triggs recently took up the position of Vice Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Melbourne, following the completion of her five year term as the President of the Australian Human Rights Commission. Prior to that, she was Dean of the Faculty of Law and Challis Professor of International Law at the University of Sydney from 2007-12 and Director of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law from 2005-7. She is a former Barrister and a Governor of the College of Law.

Professor Triggs has combined an academic career with international commercial legal practice and has advised the Australian and other governments and international organisations on international legal and trade disputes. Her focus at the Commission is on the implementation in Australian law of the human rights treaties to which Australia is a party, and to work with nations in the Asia Pacific region on practical approaches to human rights.

Professor Triggs’ is the author of many books and papers on international law, including International Law, Contemporary Principles and Practices (2nd Ed, 2011).


Melbourne University Law Building

David P. Derham theatre Level 1
Parkville Campus
Grattan Street
Parkville, Victoria, 3010
For cycling & public transport options click here
View Program


Thursday 23rd November

Welcome Reception – University of Melbourne, Law Building

Friday 24th November

Book Launch – University of Melbourne, Law Building

Saturday 25th November

Conference Dinner – University of Melbourne
Tickets – $110


Please see below list of recommended accommodation options located near the venue or in the surrounding areas.

Hotel Name Rate per night
Rydges on Swanston From $188
Ibis Melbourne Swanston Street From $149
The Larwill Studio From $254
The Sheraton Melbourne From $355
Melbourne Marriott From $366
Melbourne Metro YHA From $95



Day Registrations Full Conference Registrations
Category 1 Day 2 Day Early Bird
Prior to 22 Sept
22 Sept Onwards
Members $250 $450 $500 $600
Non-Members $310 $570 $650 $750
Primary Author of Poster Member $220 $390 $425 $525
Primary Author of Poster Non-Member & Students $280 $510 $575 $675

Social Functions

Item Per Ticket
Welcome Reception Complimentary
Book Launch Complimentary
Conference Dinner $110

All fees are listed in AUD and are inclusive of GST.

Cancellation Policy

To allow us to meet our Conference commitments, registrations received after 21 September 2017 will be subject to a price increase (see table above).

Cancellations made prior to 21 October 2017 will be subject to a $100 cancellation fee. No refunds will be made following 21 October 2017 due to commitments that will be made at this time to the venues.

Please note credit card surcharges will not be refunded at any stage.

Terms and Conditions

The AAIMHI and The Production House Events do not accept any liability for any losses incurred pre, post or during the Conference due to unforeseen cancellation or postponement. In the event of the Conference being cancelled, no refunds will be issued. All available funds will be credited towards a future symposium/s held by the AAIMHI. Registration fee does not include accommodation, meals for partners and tickets for the Gala Dinner.


  • Abstract submissions open – 19 May 2017
  • Abstract submissions close – 6 August 2017
  • Abstract notifications – 6 September 2017
  • Early Bird registration closes – 21 September 2017
  • Date primary author of the poster is required to register – 15 October 2017


Conference Enquiries

Gina Samuels
The Production House Events
03 9020 7056

Abstract Enquiries

Candice Franich-Ray