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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.

Message from the CEO, Dr Heather Nancarrow

Reflecting on three years of research

In this fortnight’s Notepad you’ll notice a plethora of publications as we reach the conclusion of our current research program, comprising our “Core grant” (funded by the Commonwealth, states and territories), the “Perpetrator Interventions Research Stream” (funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services) and the “Building Workforce Capacity” project.

I’m proud to say that since the launch of this program of work in May 2017, ANROWS has successfully completed more than 30 projects. This number includes those funded though the Core and Perpetrator Interventions research referred to above, as well as several directly commissioned by individual jurisdictions (Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales and the Northern Territory).

Connecting each of these projects is our mission to deliver high-quality, innovative and relevant research, and to disseminate the findings of this research to you in a way that can be applied in your work. Each of these projects has delivered a comprehensive, academically rigorous Research report, as well as additional resources, including Research to policy and practice papers, webinars, infographics, factsheets and posters.

I thank our funders (predominantly the Department of Social Services and the state and territory governments) and the many ANROWS collaborators who made this output possible: the researchers, the peer assessors and reviewers, and the policy-makers and practitioners who contributed. I also extend my appreciation to the ANROWS team for their diligence and commitment to excellence in our work.

As we close this chapter of our work, we look forward to a bright future for ANROWS. Our work in the immediate future will focus on leading research under the Fourth Action Plan of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022. We have already launched several new projects in this program of research, funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services: Pathways to intimate partner homicide, Compliance with and enforcement of family law parenting orders, Technology-facilitated abuse, and A life course approach to determining the prevalence and impact of sexual violence in Australia.

ANROWS is also continuing to lead the implementation of the periodic National Community Attitudes towards Violence against Women Survey (the NCAS). In addition to preparing for the next wave of the survey, the NCAS team is also conducting two qualitative research studies investigating some concerning findings from the 2017 results: The Mistrust Study and The Young People’s Attitudes Study.

Farewell to Paula Bennett

As our current Core grant research program comes to a close, we also bid farewell to our friend and colleague Paula Bennett. Paula joined ANROWS in early 2018 in a temporary short-term position, and accepted a subsequent appointment as the Director, Research Program (General) to deliver the 2017–2020 Core grant program of research.

In this role, Paula made a very substantial contribution to delivering high-quality, policy-relevant research, and guided changes to our internal processes that will stand us in good stead into the future.

We wish Paula the very best in her next endeavours, including her immediate plans to see more of Australia.


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Law and Culture are key to preventing family violence

A new ANROWS report highlights the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Law and Culture in responding to and preventing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander family violence.

The Research report explores the strengths of Law and Culture and recommends a greater focus on prevention, healing and diversions from the criminal legal system. It shows that while Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Law and Culture are features of everyday life in many communities, the mainstream legal system and forms of governance undermine their practice.

The research team included Professor Harry Blagg and Dr Tamara Tulich from the University of Western Australia, and Professor Victoria Hovane from the Australian National University. They found that policy and service responses to family violence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are most effective when they acknowledge the link between violence and issues that stem from colonisation, such as alcohol misuse and intergenerational trauma.

“Our research demonstrates that male and female Aboriginal Elders have a positive role to play in preventing family violence and resolving conflict,” said Professor Blagg. “They are seeking a fresh partnership with the mainstream justice system in which their knowledge, leadership and pathways to healing are granted greater respect and prominence.”


Understanding the role of Law and Culture in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in responding to and preventing family violence


Understanding the role of Law and Culture in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in responding to and preventing family violence: Key findings and future directions


Helping young people who engage in harmful sexual behaviours

Young people make up a significant proportion of individuals engaging in unwanted or harmful sexual behaviours against children.

A new ANROWS report shows that many young people who engage in these harmful sexual behaviours have their own history of childhood trauma, including exposure to domestic and family violence.

This research, led by Dr Antonia Quadara from the Australian Institute of Family Studies, found that young people who engage in harmful sexual behaviours require holistic interventions that involve specialist services and multiple partner agencies.

The project mapped the therapeutic service responses that are available to young people with harmful sexual behaviours across the country, and found that there are variations and gaps in services, and that information about service availability is not readily accessible.

The report recommends the establishment of a public repository of information about available services, and suggests that funding should be provided for collaborative research into tailored therapeutic work.

The report includes principles of good practice, which can be used to guide practitioners in their therapeutic work with young people with these behaviours.


Good practice in delivering and evaluating interventions for young people with harmful sexual behaviours


Good practice in responding to young people with harmful sexual behaviours: Key findings and future directions


Holding perpetrators of domestic and family violence to account

“Holding perpetrators accountable” for domestic and family violence is often a key policy goal. A new ANROWS report explores what “accountability” actually means in practice, and how it can be achieved.

Led by Professor Donna Chung from Curtin University, this research comprised ten studies looking at Australian perpetrator intervention systems and how they can improve the engagement and retention of perpetrators.

“Accountability can take different forms, and these different forms don’t always align. In fact, they can come into conflict with each other,” said Professor Chung.

“For example, when a crime is prosecuted, the legal process is about ensuring accountability to the state, not to the victim. That kind of accountability might not acknowledge the impact of violence on the victim, or align with her wishes. It might not promote her safety. And if the perpetrator ends up being held accountable by the court, this can make it less likely that he takes personal responsibility for his violence.”

The study found that a wide range of human services agencies engage with perpetrators of domestic violence. However, they do not necessarily identify these individuals as perpetrators of violence, and when they do, they do not necessarily know how to respond appropriately.


Improved accountability: The role of perpetrator intervention systems


Improving accountability: The role of perpetrator intervention systems – Key findings and future directions


Assessing the effectiveness of men’s behaviour change programs

Men’s behaviour change programs are increasingly regarded as an essential component of any long-term strategy or policy to reduce violence against women. We count on these programs to achieve their goals effectively—but how do we know they are working?

New ANROWS research led by Dr Angela Nicholas from the University of Melbourne has found there is a lack of high-quality evaluation processes to determine the effectiveness of men’s behaviour change programs.

The report found this is because staff working for these programs have limited expertise or capacity to undertake evaluations themselves, and their agencies lack the resources to commission external independent evaluations.

“We found that a lack of guidance on how to conduct evaluation means that particular measures, such as program completion, are often relied on as outcome measures,” said Dr Nicholas. “Used alone, these measures are often problematic.”

To address the problem, the researchers have developed a guide for evaluating men’s behaviour change programs. The Evaluation guide is designed for practitioners who might be conducting an in-house evaluation, as well as funders, practice designers or practitioners who might be commissioning an external evaluation.


Developing a practical evaluation guide for behaviour change programs involving perpetrators of domestic and family violence


Evaluating behaviour change programs for men who use domestic and family violence: Key findings and future directions


The Evaluation guide: A guide for evaluating behaviour change programs for men who use domestic and family violence


Services struggling to support women and children with disability who experience DFV

New ANROWS research shows that while women with disability experience higher rates of partner violence than the general population of women, services are often unable to address the specific needs of women and children with disability when they experience domestic and family violence (DFV).

The researchers found that this is because staff at both DFV and disability services often lack the resourcing and training they need to address the intersections of disability and domestic and family violence.

Many skilled practitioners who were interviewed for the project felt uncertain talking with clients about disability, and expressed a lack of confidence, knowledge, and awareness in working with women and children with disability in the context of domestic and family violence.

Violence prevention and early intervention for mothers and children with disability: Building promising practice was conducted by Associate Professor kylie valentine and Dr BJ Newton from the Social Policy Research Centre at UNSW Sydney, and Professor Sally Robinson from the Flinders Caring Futures Institute.

The report recommends the creation of a training and workforce capacity-building framework to support service workers and organisations in developing more effective practice.


Violence prevention and early intervention for mothers and children with disability: Building promising practice


Violence prevention and early intervention for mothers and children with disability: Building promising practice – Key findings and future directions


The client–worker relationship in men’s behaviour change programs

Men’s behaviour change programs often use confrontational and punitive approaches that can discourage men from developing an intrinsic motivation to engage.

Recent ANROWS research by Dr Elizabeth Reimer from Southern Cross University explores perceptions of the client–worker relationship in men’s behaviour change programs, including the purpose, value and meaning of the relationship, and factors that are perceived to affect its development.

The findings stress the value of approaches that emphasise empathy and trust, and show they are more likely to create behavioural and attitudinal change.

The report recommends that the value of the client–worker relationship be recognised by organisations, and support offered to facilitators to help them maintain personalised relationships.

Flexible funding models are also needed to allow participants to continue attending groups once they have completed all program modules, to enable behaviour change to be sustained in the long term.


“Growing to be a better person”: Exploring the client–worker relationship in men’s behaviour change group work programs


The client–worker relationship in men’s behaviour change programs: Key findings and future directions


Updated: Special collection on Perpetrators of domestic, family and sexual violence

An updated edition of the ANROWS Special collection on Perpetrators of domestic, family and sexual violence is now available.

This collection offers a guiding resource on Australian peer-reviewed publications and grey literature.

Use it to access information on a range of topics, organised around perpetrator characteristics and patterns of offending; prevention; perpetrator programs/interventions; legal and justice responses; statistics.

This updated second edition published in June 2020 includes 12 additional ANROWS reports that have been published since June 2019.

A collection like this will always be a work in progress, and we welcome your feedback and contributions to future editions at enquiries@anrows.org.au.



Invisible practices: Working with fathers who use violence

1–2pm AEST, Wednesday, 22 July

Women and children living with violence can experience inconsistent responses from different service systems.

While domestic and family violence services often focus on supporting them to separate from men who use violence, the family law system generally allows contact between parents who use violence and their children.

Join ANROWS and the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) for a webinar exploring how all-of-family approaches can help address these differences between service systems, and the need to work with men who use violence.

This webinar will build on the learnings from Sadie’s story, a previous webinar from ANROWS and AIFS that highlighted one woman’s challenges within a fragmented system.


Catch up on past webinars

Have you missed some of our recent great discussions with researchers and practitioners? All of our webinars have been recorded and are being made available online.

Now available on demand:

Strengthening capacity for multicultural and settlement services to support women experiencing violence discusses the MuSeS project, research led by Associate Professor Cathy Vaughan from the University of Melbourne. Cathy speaks with her co-investigator Adele Murdolo, Executive Director at the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health, as well as practitioners from multicultural services around Australia. The panel explores how multicultural and settlement services regularly encounter and respond to clients who are experiencing violence, and discusses the strengths and constraints impacting service provision. Also check out the new info sheet: What we know: how multicultural and settlement services support women experiencing violence, for a four-page summary of findings from the MuSeS project.

Working with women who have experienced complex trauma in mental health and refugee services  explores survivors’ understandings of complex trauma and how these differ from those of the professionals who provide them with services. It also looks at show shared understandings of complex trauma can improve trauma-informed care. The panel includes Michael Salter, Associate Professor Associate Professor at UNSW Sydney and lead investigator on the research project; Clinical Psychologist Amy Burkett; complex trauma survivor and researcher Scarlett Franks; and Psychiatrist Dr. Karen Williams.


WorkUP Queensland: Get involved in action learning

WorkUP Queensland is offering the Queensland sexual violence, domestic and family violence and women’s wellbeing workforce the opportunity to enhance their skills in meeting the needs of clients through an action learning process.

Over the course of six months, participating organisations will be supported by a facilitator to design and implement a strategy to make their services more inclusive. To help secure long-term sustainable change, organisations are asked to nominate two representatives, at least one of whom holds a leadership position.

To find out more, join the free online Q&A session on Monday 6 July, or contact workforce@healingfoundation.org.au.

New resources and reports


Michael Salter: Women, Complex Trauma, and The Need for Recognition (podcast)—The Trauma Therapist project

Mandatory reporting of child abuse and neglect: CFCA Resource Sheet—Child Family Community Australia

Domestic and family violence services: Practice principles, standards and guidance (Effective from 1 January 2021)—Queensland Government Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women

Books and reports

Carrington, K., Sozzo, M., & Ryan, V. (2020). What Australia can learn from women’s police stations to better respond to and prevent gender violence: Report of community and workforce surveys.

Pfitzner, N., Fitz-Gibbon, K., Meyer, S., & True, J. (2020). Responding to Queensland’s ‘shadow pandemic’ during the period of COVID-19 restrictions: practitioner views on the nature of and responses to violence against women.

Pfitzner, N., Fitz-Gibbon, K., & True, J. (2020). Responding to the ‘shadow pandemic’: Practitioner views on the nature of and responses to violence against women in Victoria, Australia during the COVID-19 restrictions.

Proulx, J., Cortoni, F., Craig, L. A., & Letourneau, E. J. (Eds.). (2020). The Wiley Handbook of What Works with Sexual Offenders: Contemporary Perspectives in Theory, Assessment, Treatment, and Prevention. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.

Walklate, S., Fitz-Gibbon, K., Maher, J., & McCulloch, J. (Eds.). (2020). The Emerald Handbook of Feminism, Criminology and Social Change. Massachusetts: Emerald Publishing Limited. https://www.emerald.com/insight/publication/doi/10.1108/9781787699557

New research

You can access this list and all the other articles in Notepad in the ANROWS Library.


Batchelor, D. A.-F. (2020). Exploring the Significance of Some Cultural and Religious Factors in Domestic Violence among Muslim Immigrant Australians. Islam and Civilisational Renewal ICR Journal, 11(1), 9-38.

Bows, H. (2020). The other side of late-life intimacy? Sexual violence in later life. Australasian Journal on Ageing, 39(S1), 65-70.

Fay, K. E., & Yee, L. M. (2020). Birth Outcomes Among Women Affected by Reproductive Coercion. Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health.

Harkin, D., & Molnar, A. (2020). Operating-System Design and Its Implications for Victims of Family Violence: The Comparative Threat of Smart Phone Spyware for Android Versus iPhone Users. Violence Against Women(Advance online publication).

Hegarty, K., McKibbin, G., Hameed, M., Koziol-McLain, J., Feder, G., Tarzia, L., & Hooker, L. (2020). Health practitioners’ readiness to address domestic violence and abuse: A qualitative meta-synthesis. Plos One, 15(6), e0234067.

Kelly, P., Chan, C., Reed, P., & Ritchie, M. (2020). The national child protection alert system in New Zealand: A prospective multi-centre study of inter-rater agreement. Children and Youth Services Review, 116, 105174.

Korkodeilou, J. (2020). Forget me Not: Stalkers, Modus Operandi and Perceived Motivations Victims of Stalking: Case Studies in Invisible Harms (pp. 73-101). Cham: Springer International Publishing.

Mayshak, R., Curtis, A., Coomber, K., Tonner, L., Walker, A., Hyder, S., . . . Miller, P. (2020). Alcohol-Involved Family and Domestic Violence Reported to Police in Australia. Journal of Interpersonal Violence.

Ørke, E. C., Bjørkly, S., & Vatnar, S. K. B. (2020). IPV Characteristics, Childhood Violence, and Adversities as Risk Factors for Being Victimized in Multiple IPV Relationships. Journal of Interpersonal Violence.

Saxton, M. D., Jaffe, P. G., & Olszowy, L. (2020). The Police Role in Domestic Homicide Prevention: Lessons From a Domestic Violence Death Review Committee. Journal of Interpersonal Violence (Advance online publication).

Stylianou, A. M., Nikolova, K., Ebright, E., & Rodriguez, A. (2020). Predictors of Family Engagement in Child Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Screening Following Exposure to Intimate Partner Violence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence.

von Sikorski, C., & Saumer, M. (2020). Sexual Harassment in Politics. News about Victims’ Delayed Sexual Harassment Accusations and Effects on Victim Blaming: A Mediation Model. Mass Communication and Society, 1-29.

White, E., Longpré, N., & Stefanska, E. B. (2020). Stalking Behaviors Presented by Ex-Intimate Stalkers: A Victim’s Perspective. Journal of Interpersonal Violence.

Contribute to Notepad

If you have publications, resources, opportunities or events to promote, please forward them to enquiries@anrows.org.au.

Preferred format is a very brief outline (maximum 4 lines) and a link to further information.

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