In this article, the author argues for social work educators to incorporate comprehensive theories of offender rehabilitation in a final-year specialist unit on working with family violence, child abuse and neglect. Teaching students about the value of strengths-based approaches in building a safe and just community engages them in considering the ethical frameworks taught in an earlier unit and then provides a theoretical framework demonstrating how to apply these same ethical principles to working with family violence and child protection. Though the rights of survivors and perpetrators often seem diametrically opposed to many students at the beginning of the programme, by demonstrating the need for a holistic, culturally sensitive, rights-based approaches incorporating social justice, narrative and strengths-based models, a more complex understanding of working with situations of family violence can be integrated into the learning experience. The 'Good lives Model' of offender rehabilitation is introduced to illustrate the importance of a comprehensive model of offender rehabilitation which students find consistent with social work's concern with social justice and social work professionals' codes of ethics. The implications for social work education are discussed.