Study Guide

Curriculum Guidelines

The Family would be suitable for upper middle and senior secondary students in the following curriculum areas:

  • Psychology – the damage resulting from a closed community with an absolute leader
  • Religion and Society – what constitutes a cult?
  • Philosophy – understanding the power of individuals
  • Australian Culture and Society –changing values and attitudes in the 1960s, 70s and 80s
  • Health and Personal Development – rights and resilience
  • Legal Studies – the rights of the child and the policy of forced adoptions
  • Ethics – how can children be protected from groups and/or adults with their own bizarre agendas?
  • English – language and images: revealing and concealing
  • Media and Film Studies – telling a complex story using a range of records

It would also be a very powerful film to show to tertiary students of Psychology, Social Work, Community Services, Children and Family Services, Psychology, Sociology, Religion and Society, The Rights of a Child, Media and Film Studies.

The film raises a number of important issues about how the vulnerable and those seeking certainty and identity can be led to join groups such as The Family that seem to offer fulfilment and happiness in return for enduring and unquestioning loyalty. It also illustrates the dangers inherent in isolating children from mainstream society where they are unable to practice decision making and have no opportunity to compare and contrast their lives with those of others. This is a cautionary tale about the need for vigilance and transparency. In a time when the damage done to children by those seeking to control and mould them has been the subject of much overdue attention, including listening to and acknowledging the stories of victims of abuse, this documentary explores another aspect of this issue – the damage done by forced adoptions and concealing the truth about a person’s identity.  

It also asks that most fundamental question – How did Anne Hamilton-Byrne get away with it?

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