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Our research

Violence against women and their children affects everybody. It impacts on the health, wellbeing and safety of a significant proportion of Australians throughout all states and territories and places an enormous burden on the nation’s economy across family and community services, health and hospitals, income-support and criminal justice systems.


News and events

ANROWS hosts events as part of its knowledge transfer and exchange work, including public lectures, workshops and research launches. Details of upcoming ANROWS activities and news are available from the list on the right.



ANROWS was established by the Commonwealth and all state and territory governments of Australia to produce, disseminate and assist in applying evidence for policy and practice addressing violence against women and their children.



To support the take-up of evidence, ANROWS offers a range of resources developed from research to support practitioners and policy-makers in delivering evidence-based interventions.

Webinar: Violence against women and mental health

Webinar: Violence against women and mental health

  • 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm, Monday, 8th February 2021 - Monday, 8th February 2021
  • Webinar - AEDT

Domestic and family violence (DFV) is a major contributor to disease burden (the impact of illness, disability and premature death) among Australian women, with mental health conditions making up the largest proportion of this DFV burden.

Research has found that mental health intersects with DFV in complex ways. Mental illness can be brought on by DFV, can compound the effects of DFV, can act as a barrier to reporting or accessing support during or after DFV, or can be used as a tool against women by perpetrators of DFV.

Drawing from the evidence base, the expert panel will unpack this nuanced issue and discuss a move towards a collaborative approach to mental health policy and practice. The discussion will be facilitated by Michele Robinson, Director of Evidence to Action, ANROWS with:

  • Professor Kelsey Hegarty, University of Melbourne
  • Carmel O’Brien OAM, Counselling Psychologist, Psychrespect
  • Fiona, representative with lived experience, WEAVERs, University of Melbourne
  • Dr Sabin Fernbacher, Consultant

There will also be a live Q&A.

For more information about this topic please see the ANROWS research synthesis ‘Violence against women and mental health’.

This webinar is designed for:

  • policymakers, practice design decision makers, practitioners and researchers working in domestic and family violence, mental health and other health services.

The webinar is open to any-one and free to attend. A recording of the webinar will also be available on the ANROWS website.

Enquiries: rachel.pow@anrows.org.au



Professor Kelsey Hegarty
Professor Kelsey Hegarty leads the Safer Families Centre of Research Excellence. She also holds the joint Chair in Family Violence Prevention at the University of Melbourne and the Royal Women’s Hospital, and co-chairs the Melbourne Research Alliance to End Violence against women and their children (MAEVe).

An academic general practitioner, her research focuses on interventions to prevent violence against women; to identify domestic and family violence in primary care settings; and for early intervention with men, women and children exposed to abuse.

Kelsey developed the Composite Abuse Scale, a validated multidimensional measure of intimate partner abuse; was co-editor of Intimate Partner Abuse and Health Professionals (2006); and led the development of the Royal Australian College of General Practice White Book on Abuse and Violence.

Fiona ran away from her 28-year domestic violence relationship eight years ago. When she left, she vowed she would speak out about domestic violence, and in some way, change the perception of women who had had this lifestyle.

Fiona was involved in the ANROWS/University of Melbourne WITH program, in a series of digital stories helping to promote understanding of intimate partner violence. She has become a passionate advocate speaker, sharing her long experiences at the First International Domestic Violence Conference in 2018 (as keynote speaker) in The Guardian, in a YouTube video for North Western Health, and at North Western Health.

Fiona is extremely passionate and driven. By sharing her experiences she hopes to educate the community and break down stigma and stereotypes about domestic violence. Fiona is part of the WEAVERs (Women and their children who have Experienced Abuse and ViolEnce: Researchers and advisors) project at the University of Melbourne.

Carmel O’Brien
Carmel O’Brien is a counselling psychologist whose special clinical interest is the recovery of women and children from family violence. She has worked in a variety of community settings as well as private practice. Carmel initiated some unique models of service provision including utilising trained mentors to aid recovery, a family violence prevention program for girls in schools, and a successful choir for survivors. Her first book “Blame Changer: Understanding Domestic Violence” was released in October 2016. Her second book, which looks at survivors’ experiences in the justice system, is awaiting publication. She has spent 17 years serving on various Boards in the education and welfare sector. Carmel has received a number of awards for her work, including a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her contribution to mental health and social welfare organisations.

Dr Sabin Fernbacher
Dr Sabin Fernbacher works as an independent consultant. Her work has focused on social justice, family violence, sexual assault, homelessness and mental health and the intersection of those issue for both, individuals, and systems. She has worked in and across all those sectors as well as in the Mental Health Branch (Victorian Department of Health).

Sabin is committed to the development of realistic policies that are implementable to ultimately make a difference for those accessing services. She enjoys authentically engaging with people from all walks of life and working with people from diverse sectors. She is passionate about collaborating, co-designing, and co-producing with people with lived experience.

Facilitated by:
Michele Robinson
Michele joined ANROWS in 2017 as the Director, Evidence to Action. Michele leads the translation and dissemination of research at ANROWS to support the take-up of evidence into policy and practice, to reduce violence against women and their children. This role builds on Michele’s 18 years of experience in leadership roles developing advice and strategies on research, knowledge partnerships and exchange in a diverse range of sectors, including the prevention of violence against women and their children.


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