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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.


Ochre Ribbon Week:
Listening to Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander women in Central Australia

ANROWS Notepad | 13 February 2020

Ochre Ribbon Week

This week (12-19 February) is Ochre Ribbon Week, a campaign raising awareness of the devastating impacts of family violence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The campaign is supported by the National Family Violence Prevention Legal Services Forum and its member organisations across Australia.

ANROWS supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led research. Our work is guided by the Warawarni-gu Guma Statement, which was delivered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders and delegates at the 2018 ANROWS National Research Conference: Acting on Evidence.

Current ANROWS projects with Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander communities:

Improving family violence legal and support services for Indigenous women

Improving family violence legal and support services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men who are perpetrators of family violence

Understanding the role of law and culture in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander communities in responding to and preventing family violence


Life experiences of incarcerated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women

Yesterday ANROWS launched a new report in Alice Springs exploring the life experiences of Aboriginal women incarcerated for alleged violent offending.

The authors of the report worked with participants in the Kunga Stopping Violence Program (KSVP), which provides trauma-informed pre-and post-release support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in the Alice Springs Correctional Centre.

Led by Miriam Bevis, the KSVP Program Manager, the research team included Professor Judy Atkinson, Dr Leisa McCarthy and Dr Michelle Sweet. The research explored the impact of intergenerational trauma and documented the women’s stories and the life experiences that had led to their incarceration.

It revealed a cohort of women who are financially stressed, lacking stable and safe accommodation, dealing with addictions to alcohol or other drugs, and have serious physical and mental health needs.

Almost all (96%) of the women had experienced violence by an intimate partner before their alleged offending. Notably, every one of them showed signs of complex trauma.

The systemic failures that contributed to their traumatisation are not resolved by incarceration, and are still present when the women are released. The report recommends immediate reinvestment in healing for Aboriginal women, their children and their communities, including:

  • culturally-specific support for teenagers to process loss, grief and intimate partner violence
  • an urgent increase in the supply of public housing for Central Australian communities.

The report was launched on Wednesday 12 February at an event marking five years of the Kunga Stopping Violence Program’s service to the Alice Springs community.

Listen to an ABC radio report on the research:

Start the audio at 1:15:20

Read the full research report:

Kungas’ trauma experiences and effects on behaviour in Central Australia

Read our recommendations for policy and practice:

Telling life stories: Exploring the connection between trauma and incarceration for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women —Key findings and future directions


Understanding and applying new findings about incarcerated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women

Alongside yesterday’s launch of the report Kungas’ trauma experiences and effects on behaviour in Central Australia, the Kunga Stopping Violence Program and ANROWS hosted a workshop to explore the new findings and unpack the report’s recommendations.

Workshop participants said the report findings provide clear direction and the evidence that they need to support their trauma informed practice.

Participants identified the practical supports needed to implement the recommendations. These include building on successful whole-of-family and whole-of-community approaches to housing and support services, and improved supports for trauma-informed policing and legal responses.

The workshop formed a key step in the research process by re-engaging stakeholders who had worked with the researchers to develop the study in its early phases. These included North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency Throughcare, Central Australian Aboriginal Congress, Central Australian Women’s Legal Service, Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantatjara Yankunytjatjara Women’s Council, NT Shelter, Sexual Assault Resource Centre, National Disability Insurance Scheme, Community Corrections, Relationships Australia, Central Australian Aboriginal Family Legal Unit, Drug and Alcohol Services Australia, Department of Justice, Territory Families, Tangentyere, Women’s Safety Services of Central Australia and Anglicare NT.


Preventing gender-based violence in mental health inpatient units

A new ANROWS research report shows that women who spend time in mental health inpatient facilities are not being protected from gender-based violence.

The report reveals that women experience sexual assault, sexual harassment and related threats while staying in the facilities. This violence is being perpetrated by other inpatients, by visitors, and by staff.

The study was led by Dr Juliet Watson from RMIT University and conducted by her team of researchers at RMIT and Charles Sturt University. The project found that mental health services often lack appropriate policies and procedures to support women who report violence during their stay.

Although the study found some examples of women receiving supportive responses, incidents of harassment were also frequently disbelieved or not taken seriously.

“If a woman is perceiving some behaviour as violent, she should have the opportunity to decide what action is taken. Staff should then respond in a way that ensures she feels safe”, said Dr Watson.

Many of the female clients staying in these facilities have previously survived violent trauma. The study found that the experience of being restrained by staff, which is common during treatment, may be a trigger for traumatic memories of past abuse.

The report concludes that there is an urgent need for trauma-informed care and better understanding of clients’ experiences of sexual, domestic and family violence. This can be achieved by using a gender lens to revise policies used to protect mental health unit inpatients from violence and inform procedures when it happens.

These studies form part of ANROWS’s growing body of evidence about how an understanding of the impact of gendered violence and trauma can be embedded into policy, systems and practice frameworks to reduce violence against women and their children. This research includes the WITH and forthcoming SUSTAIN studies, and “Constructions of complex trauma and implications for women’s wellbeing and safety from violence”.

Listen to an ABC radio report on the research:

Calls for segregated mental health wards to reduce sexual assault risk

Read the full research report:

Preventing gender-based violence in mental health inpatient units

Read our recommendations for policy and practice:

Preventing gender-based violence in mental health inpatient units—Key findings and future directions

Upcoming report

Adolescents who use violence in the home

An upcoming research report from The PIPA project: Positive Interventions for Perpetrators of Adolescent violence in the home will be jointly launched on 3 March 2020 at a panel event hosted by ANROWS and RMIT University’s Centre for Innovative Justice.

PIPA Project lead author, Elena Campbell and ANROWS CEO Dr Heather Nancarrow will be joined by Judge Amanda Chambers, President of the Children’s Court of Victoria, and Family Violence Consultant Jo Howard to discuss the findings and recommendations of the report.

The project aims to improve evidence regarding:

  • legal responses to adolescent violence in the home as it presents in different justice and service contexts
  • its co-occurrence with other issues and juvenile offending
  • current responses and gaps in service delivery.

ANROWS National Research Conference

28–30 April 2020 | Hilton Adelaide


Last chance for Early Bird savings

Tomorrow is your last chance to grab an early bird discount for the ANROWS National Research Conference in Adelaide from 28–30 April 2020.

Register by Friday 14 February to save up to $280 and be part of this year’s most important conversation about responding to and preventing violence against women and their children.


Victorian Gender Equality Bill

The Gender Equality Bill 2019 was debated in the Parliament of Victoria on 6 February. It passed through the Legislative Assembly  and will now be considered in the Legislative Council.

If passed, the Bill will take effect in 2021, requiring organisations in the state with more than 50 employees to plan, measure and track their progress towards gender equality, including reporting on pay disparity, sexual harassment and equal opportunity. The Bill would cover about 11 per cent of Victoria’s workforce.


2020 NSW Women of the Year Awards

Voting is now open for the 2020 NSW Women of the Year Awards. Shortlisted nominees include Christine Strachan, of the Women’s Domestic Violence Advocacy Service, who is nominated for the Lifetime Achievement Award; and Kay Schubach, an advocate for women experiencing disadvantage and domestic violence, who has been nominated for the Community Hero Award.

New resources

National Advocacy Group on Women on Temporary Visas Experiencing Violence. Blueprint for reform: Removing barriers to safety for victims/survivors of domestic and family violence who are on temporary visas.

New research

Books & Reports

Australian Government Response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. (2019). Annual Progress Report 2019 – Australian Government Response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Queensland Productivity Commission. (2020). Inquiry into imprisonment and recidivism: final report. QPC.

Thredgold, C., Beer, A., Zufferey, C., Peters, A., & Spinney, A. (2019). An effective homelessness services system for older Australians (Final Report 322). AHURI.


Note: Several of the articles in this fortnight’s list come from a special issue of the Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law published on 07 January 2020, which covers critical perspectives on “parental alienation”.

Ahmadabadi, Z., Najman, J. M., Williams, G. M., Clavarino, A. M., d’Abbs, P., & Tran, N. (2020). Intimate partner violence and subsequent depression and anxiety disorders. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. Springer Link.

Babcock, J. C., & Potthoff, A. L. (2020). Effects of Angry Rumination and Distraction in Intimate Partner Violent Men. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. SAGE Journals.

Barrios, V. R., Khaw, L. B. L., Bermea, A., & Hardesty, J. L. (2020). Future Directions in Intimate Partner Violence Research: An Intersectionality Framework for Analyzing Women’s Processes of Leaving Abusive Relationships. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. Online First publication. SAGE Journals.

Boggess, L. N., & Chamberlain, A. W. (2020). Investing in Neighborhoods: The Mitigating Role of Home Mortgage Loans on Intimate Partner Violence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. Online First publication. SAGE Journals.

Brown, S. J. (2020). Disparities in outcomes for Indigenous children. The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, 4(1), 5-6. Elsevier.

Brown, S. J., Mensah, F., Giallo, R., Woolhouse, H., Hegarty, K., Nicholson, J. M., & Gartland, D. (2020). Intimate partner violence and maternal mental health ten years after a first birth: An Australian prospective cohort study of first-time mothers. Journal of Affective Disorders, 262, 247-257. ScienceDirect.

Carlson, C., Namy, S., Norcini Pala, A., Wainberg, M. L., Michau, L., Nakuti, J., . . . Devries, K. (2020). Violence against children and intimate partner violence against women: overlap and common contributing factors among caregiver-adolescent dyads. BMC Public Health, 20(1), 124. Springer Nature.

Conroy, S., Burczycka, M., & Savage, L. (2019). Family violence in Canada:  A statistical profile, 2018. Juristat, 39(1). Statistics Canada.

Dyar, C., Feinstein, B. A., Zimmerman, A. R., Newcomb, M. E., Mustanski, B., & Whitton, S. W. (2019). Dimensions of sexual orientation and rates of intimate partner violence among young sexual minority individuals assigned female at birth: The role of perceived partner jealousy. Psychology of Violence. Advance online publication. American Psychological Association.

Elizabeth, V. (2019). The affective burden of separated mothers in PA(S) inflected custody law systems: a New Zealand case study. Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, 1-12. Taylor & Francis.

Feresin, M. (2020). Parental alienation (syndrome) in child custody cases: Survivors’ experiences and the logic of psychosocial and legal services in Italy. Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, Online first, 1–12. Taylor & Francis.

Grace, K. T., Alexander, K. A., Jeffers, N. K., Miller, E., Decker, M. R., Campbell, J., & Glass, N. (2020). Experiences of Reproductive Coercion Among Latina Women and Strategies for Minimizing Harm: “The Path Makes Us Strong”. Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health. Early view publication. Wiley Online Library.

Gregory, A., Arai, L., MacMillan, H. L., Howarth, E., & Shaw, A. (2020). Children’s experiences and needs in situations of domestic violence: A secondary analysis of qualitative data from adult friends and family members of female survivors. Health & Social Care in the Community, 28(2), 602-614. Wiley Online Library.

Gurrieri, L., McKenzie, M. & Bugden, M (2019). Community Responses to Gender Portrayals in Advertising: A research paper. Women’s Health Victoria Issues Paper No. 15.

Hooker, L., Versteegh, L., Lindgren, H., & Taft, A. (2019). Differences in help-seeking behaviours and perceived helpfulness of services between abused and non-abused women: A cross-sectional survey of Australian postpartum women. Health & Social Care in the Community. Early view publication. Wiley Online Library.

Humphreys, C., Healey, L., & Heward-Belle, S. (2019). Fathers who use domestic violence: Organisational capacity building and practice development. Child & Family Social Work. Early View publication. Wiley Online Library.

Lapierre, S., Ladouceur, P., Frenette, M., & Côté, I. (2020). The legitimization and institutionalization of ‘parental alienation’ in the Province of Quebec. Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, Online first, 1–15. Taylor & Francis.

Leitão, R. (2019). Technology-Facilitated Intimate Partner Abuse: a qualitative analysis of data from online domestic abuse forums. Human–Computer Interaction, 1-40. Taylor & Francis.

Mackenzie, D., Herbert, R., & Robertson, N. (2020). ‘It’s Not OK’, but ‘It’ never happened: Parental alienation accusations undermine children’s safety in the New Zealand Family Court. Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, Online first, 1–12. Taylor & Francis.

Magnussen, L., Shoultz, J., Iannce-Spencer, C., & Braun, K. L. (2019). Testing a Talkstory Intervention to create Supportive and Safe Violence-Free Communities for Women. Hawai’i Journal of Health & Social Welfare, 78(5), 169-174.

Mandel, D., & Wright, C. (2019). Building on the Greenbook: A Perpetrator Pattern-Based Approach to Improve Child Welfare’s Response to Domestic Violence. Juvenile and Family Court Journal, 70(4), 119-135. Wiley Online Library.

Meier, J. S. (2020). U.S. child custody outcomes in cases involving parental alienation and abuse allegations: What do the data show? Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, Online first, 1–14. Taylor & Francis.

Munro, V. E. (2019). Judging Juries: The “common sense” conundrums of prosecuting violence against women. New Zealand Women’s Law Journal, 3, 13-34. HeinOnline.

O’Dwyer, C., Tarzia, L., Fernbacher, S., & Hegarty, K. (2019). Health professionals’ experiences of providing care for women survivors of sexual violence in psychiatric inpatient units. BMC Health Services Research, 19(1), 839. Springer Nature.

Reif, K., Jaffe, P., Dawson, M., & Straatman, A.-L. (2020). Provision of specialized services for children exposed to domestic violence: Barriers encountered in Violence Against Women (VAW) services. Children and Youth Services Review, 109. ScienceDirect.

Rosenberg, S., Riggs, D. W., Taylor, N., & Fraser, H. (2020). ‘Being together really helped’: Australian transgender and non-binary people and their animal companions living through violence and marginalisation. Journal of Sociology. Online First publication. SAGE Journals.

Rossi, F. S., Holtzworth-Munroe, A., Applegate, A. G., & Beck, C. J. (2019). Subtypes of violent separating or divorcing couples seeking family mediation and their association with personality and criminality characteristics. Psychology of Violence. Advance online publication. American Psychological Association.

Semukhina, O. (2020). The decriminalization of domestic violence in Russia. Demokratizatsiya, 28(1), 15-45. Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies, The George Washington University.

Sheehy, E., & Lapierre, S. (2020). Introduction to the special issue. Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, Online first, 1–4. Taylor & Francis.

Sheehy, E. A., & Tolmie, J. (2019). Feminist Interventions: Learning from Canada Part Three – Courts and Litigation. New Zealand Women’s Law Journal, 201-242. HeinOnline.

Steiner, J. J., Johnson, L., Hetling, A., Lin, H.-F., & Postmus, J. L. (2020). Creating a Tool for Assessing Domestic Violence Risk and Impact Among TANF Clients. Advances in Social Work, 19(1). Indiana University School of Social Work.

Tolmie, J., Aho, F. T., Doolin, K., Arnerich, S., & Herewini, N. (2019). Criminalising Parental Failures: Documenting Bias in the Criminal Justice System. New Zealand Women’s Law Journal, 3, 136-182. HeinOnline.

Vila, G. C. (2020). Parental Alienation Syndrome in Spain: Opposed by the Government but accepted in the Courts. Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, Online first, 1–11. Taylor & Francis.

Voce, I., & Bricknell, S. (2020). Female perpetrated intimate partner homicide: Indigenous and non-Indigenous offenders. Statistical Reports, 20. Australian Institute of Criminology.

​In the media


Corrective Services NSW former staff left devastated by toxic ‘boys’ club’ – ABC


This predator targeted victims on Tinder for years. Why wasn’t he stopped sooner? – ABC Radio National

Ronan Farrow’s insights into the abuse allegations against Harvey Weinstein – ABC Radio National

The woman defending Harvey Weinstein – New York Times

Tackling ageism and challenging myths about ageing – ABC

The 2019 CBC Massey Lectures| Power Shift: The Longest Revolution – CBC

The end of silence: The unfinished business of indigenous reconciliation – ABC

The Arts Show with Alex McCulloch: Miriam Cabello works with domestic abuse survivors to create interactive art workshops


Don’t silence the violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women – Women’s Agenda

Closing the Gap report shows only two out of seven targets on track as PM calls for new approach – SBS

Domestic abuse and the darker side of the smart home – Brisbane Times

Tinder’s new safety features won’t prevent all types of abuse – The Conversation

Domestic violence: What we can learn from Brazil – Monash Lens

Sexual assault victims in ethnically diverse suburbs face ‘tremendous hurdles’ in coming forward – ABC

‘Why isn’t this a national crisis’: Report calls for action on Indigenous women’s deaths – SBS

Tough new manslaughter laws aimed at men who kill women – The Age

A predator kept targeting victims on Tinder for years. Why wasn’t he stopped sooner? – ABC

Reproductive healthcare facing ‘biggest threat in decade’ with Religious Discrimination Bill – Women’s Agenda

Sister of murdered Sydney dentist Preethi Reddy backs calls for domestic violence trauma recovery centre  – ABC

Jamming the revolving door of women in prison, Jill Prior is putting a new spin on lady justice – ABC

Violence against women: Peruvian teacher travels to Melbourne in search of answers – The Age

SA high on DV list as extra crisis beds open – InDaily

‘It’s a matter of holding ground’: where to for gender equality in 2020 – WA Today

Rape survivor urges Governor-General to cancel Bettina Arndt’s Australia Day award – ABC

Conferences & events

Events & Training

Sydney, 19 February 2020: Women’s Legal Service NSW: Meet the New LOIS (Legal Online Information Service) – 2020 Launch

Melbourne, 21 February 2020: Brazilian research endeavors in gender, violence and health: multi-sectoral approaches

Online, 26 February, 2020: What is child-focused supervision in adult-focused services and how does it work?

Melbourne, 27 February 2020: NETFA campaign launch to end Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in Australia

Sydney, 4 March: Women’s Legal Service NSW Seminar Series 2020: Eggshell Skull, presented by Bri Lee, Author (International Women’s Day special event)

Melbourne, 13 March 2020: Adolescent Violence in the Home Symposium


Sydney, 19 February 2020: Housing: the foundation for mental health (AHURI One-day Conference)

Melbourne, 27-28 February 2020:  Advancing the Evidence: Migrant Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Conference

Melbourne, 1 April 2020: PreventX 2020

Adelaide, 28-30 April 2020: ANROWS National Research Conference: Evidence in Action

Brisbane, 13–14 May 2020: Queensland Indigenous Family Violence Prevention Forum (QIFVP)

Siem Reap, Cambodia, 26–29 May 2020: 10th Asia-Pacific conference on reproductive and sexual health and rights

Melbourne, 10-12 June 2020: AIFS 2020 Conference: What is a good life for families? And how do we get there?

Sweden, 30 June – 2 July, 2020: 23rd Conference of the Nursing Network on Violence Against Women International

Canberra, 10-11 August 2020: National Homelessness Conference 2020

Sydney, 21-22 October 2020: Evidence and Implementation Summit 2020 

Canberra, 3–4 November 2020: Intersectionality: Challenges for Critical Feminist Research, Practice and Policy

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