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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.

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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.

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New study to examine the impacts of sexual violence on women’s health
Posted in Media releases

New study to examine the impacts of sexual violence on women’s health

Friday, 26th June 2020


A new research project will explore 25 years of data about Australian women’s health to determine the prevalence of sexual violence and its impact on women’s health and wellbeing.

Funded by Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS), the project will use data collected by the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (ALSWH), a national, population-based survey of over 57,000 Australian women—the largest of its kind ever conducted in Australia.

The ALSWH explores factors that influence the health and wellbeing of Australian women, including violence and abuse. This resource offers a unique opportunity to assess the impact of sexual violence on women’s physical and mental health.

The new ANROWS project aims to better understand the prevalence of sexual violence throughout women’s lives, including sexual abuse experienced in childhood and adulthood, and perpetrated both inside and outside an intimate relationship.

“We’re interested in understanding how experiences of sexual violence act as a risk factor for other experiences of violence at different stages of a woman’s life,” said lead researcher Professor Deborah Loxton from the University of Newcastle.

“We also want to know how those experiences affect women’s subsequent health and use of health services.”

The research team will also look at the impact that experiences of sexual violence have on socio-economic status over time, including women’s access to paid employment and education, and whether they have undergone financial stress.

Minister for Families and Social Services Minister Anne Ruston said the Morrison Government had committed $5.6 million for ANROWS to conduct this and other vital research that would help position ongoing investment in reducing violence against women and their children.

“As we seek to reduce the prevalence of and prevent domestic violence it is vital we understand how sexual violence occurs in relationships and outside of them and how that impacts on survivors, their health and relationships into the future,” Minister Ruston said.

The project will provide an evidence base that can be used by government and other Australian decision-making bodies in the development of policy and service delivery for women.

“This project is crucial because it will identify the factors that may help women more effectively recover from sexual violence,” said ANROWS CEO Dr Heather Nancarrow.

“Knowing what kind of service use is most effective, and the points in time at which such interventions might be best introduced, will guide good policy and decision-making.”

This study is part of a program of research led by ANROWS and funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services under the Fourth Action Plan of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010–2022. The project is due to release its findings in July 2022.

For further information, contact Michele Robinson at ANROWS
on +61 0417 780 556 or email michele.robinson@anrows.org.au.


About ANROWS

Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety Limited (ANROWS) is a not-for-profit independent national research organisation.

ANROWS is an initiative of Australia’s National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010–2022. 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.

ANROWS is the only such research organisation in Australia.



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