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Our research

Violence against women and 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.

16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence

Evidence is crucial if we are to design effective policy and practice to prevent and respond to violence against women (VAW) and their children. ANROWS is Australia’s only national research organisation dedicated to producing this kind of evidence.

We guide evidence production by setting Australia’s National Research Agenda to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children (ANRA). This is a framework of priority research areas for academics, researchers, governments and funding bodies to coordinate our efforts to prevent and reduce VAW. Implementation of ANRA is supported through the ANROWS Register of Active Research (RAR), which aims to provide a comprehensive landscape of VAW research currently in progress in Australia.

During this year’s global 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence campaign, we have focused on providing you with at least one practical resource every day: a total of 16 evidence-based resources to support your work in designing policy and practice to respond to and prevent violence against women and their children.

Follow us using #16days on Twitter or LinkedIn  to view our 16 Days of evidence-based resources, and access the UN’s campaign resources here.


This Notepad reaches you halfway through the 16 Days, on International Day of People with Disability.

It is estimated that women with disability experience partner violence at rates higher than the wider population of women. Our project “Women, disability and violence: Creating access to justice” showed that violence can look different, even invisible, for women with disability. Women with disability also face compounded and specific barriers when seeking support.

Today’s 16 Days resource points to proven and promising practice in violence prevention for families with a child or parent with disability. This evidence shows that for mothers, safety means access to resources, support and community networks.

This project formed part of the broader ANROWS 2016–2020 research program focusing on systems and services, experiences for diverse women, and perpetrator interventions. Its findings echo a key consistent message throughout the suite of research: the impact of intergenerational trauma, and the importance of early intervention and work with children.


How has COVID-19 affected women’s experiences of intimate partner violence?

In July this year, research published by the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) provided the strongest evidence yet that that the COVID-19 pandemic—and the restrictive measures designed to contain it—have coincided with an increase in domestic and family violence. Surveying 15,000 Australian women about their experiences from March to May 2020, the study documented increased violence, more complex forms of violence, and a reduced ability of victims to seek help.

ANROWS is now pleased to announce the commissioning of a follow-up study with AIC, exploring “The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on experiences of intimate partner violence among Australian women”.

This study will explore the experiences of self-reported intimate partner violence (IPV) among Australian women in the 12 months following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Surveying approximately 10,000 adult Australian women, the study will seek to determine how IPV risk factors are influenced or exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and how the impact of these factors differs across IPV experiences and observed patterns of violence and abuse.

By understanding the impacts of risk factors on IPV, many of which are able to be influenced and changed, this study offers a valuable opportunity for governments and the intimate partner violence sector to identify opportunities for intervention.

The project will be led by the AIC with consultation from the Departments of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Home Affairs, Social Services, and the Attorney-General.



International study of responses to domestic violence during COVID-19

ANROWS will collaborate with international researchers on a new study examining global responses to domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Domestic Abuse: Harnessing Learning internationally under COVID-19” (DAHLIA-19) is being funded by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council and led by Professor Nicky Stanley and colleagues at the University of Central Lancashire.

The study will examine policy and practice responses in four countries: the UK, Australia, Ireland and South Africa, and brings together researchers at the University of Edinburgh, University of Melbourne, ANROWS, Trinity College Dublin and the University of the Witwatersrand in collaboration with domestic violence organisations and policy actors in all four countries.

The study will collect and compare different initiatives and policies for all family members living with domestic violence and abuse during the pandemic.

Briefings and feedback for providers and policy makers will be available throughout the 14-month study, and a final report will be available by January 2022.


Accurately identifying the “person most in need of protection”

ANROWS has published a new research report examining the identification of women victims/survivors—especially Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women—as perpetrators of domestic and family violence (DFV) on protection orders.

The report offers recommendations for how police and courts can better identify and respond to the “person most in need of protection”, an explicit provision in the Queensland Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012.

Accurately identifying ‘the person most in need of protection’ in domestic and family violence law” was led by ANROWS CEO Dr Heather Nancarrow. It shows that practical and systemic barriers are preventing police and courts from identifying the person most in need of protection and issuing orders to prevent them from coming to harm in the future.

The research shows that the likelihood of a woman being inappropriately identified as a perpetrator is increased by factors such as misperceptions about victim behaviour, resourcing and time constraints, as well as organisational culture and procedural requirements.

Women who have “fought back” are therefore at greater risk of being misidentified as a perpetrator.

“The fact that our systems have not only failed to protect women from becoming victims of homicide—but have frequently misidentified them as the greater threat—is alarming,” said Dr Nancarrow. “This research provides important context for a national understanding of how we can better support the ‘person most in need of protection’.”

State Domestic, Family Violence and Vulnerable Persons Unit Inspector Ben Martain said the Queensland Police Service (QPS) was focused on working with the community and its partners to prevent, disrupt, respond to and investigate domestic and family violence.

“In direct response to this report, the QPS will be directing further efforts to training products for front line officers including creating a domestic and family violence manual and coercive control training.”

The report responds directly to a recommendation in the 2017 Annual Report of the Queensland Domestic and Family Violence Death Review and Advisory Board.

Read the report here. 


The report was launched on 25 November: a recording the webinar is now available.

Listen to Dr Nancarrow discuss the research findings and policy and practice implications with Inspector Ben Martain, His Honour Terry Ryan, State Coroner and Chair of the Queensland Domestic and Family Violence Death Review and Advisory Board, and His Honour Colin Strofield, Magistrate at Brisbane Magistrates Court.


Annual Report & AGM

Last Monday 30 November saw reflections on a successful 2019–2020 year at ANROWS in our Annual General Meeting and the release of our 2019–2020 Annual Report.

Throughout a tumultuous year, ANROWS has continued to provide a much-needed evidence base for policymakers, practitioners and researchers to support the safety of women and children.

We are very proud of the organisation’s achievements over these 12 months. Some highlights from the year include the impact of ANROWS research on policy and practice to reduce violence against women and their children.

Findings from the “Transforming legal understandings of intimate partner violence” report informed amendments to the Western Australian Evidence Act 1906 via the Family Violence Legislation Reform Act 2020 (WA) and contributed to the release of an imprisoned Aboriginal woman who had killed her abusive partner.

Drawing on findings from the “Domestic violence, social security and the couple rule” research, ANROWS and Economic Justice Australia worked with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) to develop a tailored training module on the impact of DFV for AAT decision-makers. This will inform decisions impacting women whose Centrelink entitlements are negatively affected by the “couple rule”.  This important outcome is the result of strong relationships with allies and key end users of the research.

ANROWS also assisted the Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia with the development of a family violence training e-learning package for Family Consultants. The training was rolled out late last year to very positive feedback, and is now being expanded to include registrars and associates. The National risk assessment principles for family and domestic violence, and other ANROWS evidence, feature prominently in the training.

We also delivered two major streams of research and initiated a new program of research under the Fourth Action Plan of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010–2022, finalised 21 research projects and published 68 reports and associated resources.

Access the Annual Report to find out more about who we are, our mission and strategic goals, our work and our governance.


Gambling harm and intimate partner violence

1:30–2:45 pm (AEDT) Wednesday 9 December 2020

ANROWS research shows that while gambling does not directly cause intimate partner violence (IPV), it exacerbates it in serious ways.

Moving beyond the usual associations between problem gambling and physically abusive tactics of IPV, this research, led by Professor Nerilee Hing, examined the connection between gambling and coercive control and economic abuse.

A practice guide, “The dangerous combination of gambling and domestic and family violence against women”, has been developed as part of this ANROWS research project, with the aim of enhancing practice across gambling help, financial counselling and domestic and family violence services.

Join us on 9 December for a webinar launching the practice guide and exploring the findings of the research.




The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) has been commissioned by ANROWS to undertake research into the compliance with and enforcement of family law parenting orders. The research will involve multiple studies, including a survey of legal and non-legal professionals working in the family law system.

You are invited to take part in this survey if you are a legal professional (including judicial officers, barristers and solicitors) or non-legal professional (including FDR practitioners, family violence sector professionals, and professionals working in post-separation support services, such as parenting order programs).


Are you a service manager/designer, practitioner or researcher with expertise in responses to intimate partner violence and sexual violence against women?

ANROWS and the University of Melbourne are conducting a survey of experts as part of a project called “Transforming responses to intimate partner and sexual violence: Listening to the voices of victims, perpetrators and services”. The study is led by Dr Dominiek Coates at ANROWS and Professor Kelsey Hegarty at the University of Melbourne. 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.

This study will develop recommendations for service and system improvements to better respond to victims/survivors, their children and perpetrators. Responses will be strictly confidential and de-identified.

To find out more, access the survey here.

This project has received ethics approval from the University of Melbourne Human Research Ethics Committee.


The Australian Institute of Family Studies is asking people to tell them about their lives since the initial COVID-19 crisis emerged. The second Families in Australia Survey: Towards COVID Normal follows up the first survey, “Life During COVID-19”, that they conducted in May/June this year.

Each state and territory came out of the first lockdown differently—AIFS is asking, “what does ‘normal’ mean for families now”? Insights from the survey will be shared with government decision makers and service providers, helping to inform decisions on family policy programs and initiatives. Take the survey here.




Australian Institute of Health and Welfare—The health and welfare of women in Australia’s prisons

Our Watch—Pornography, young people, and preventing violence against women

Books & reports

Bailey, R. K. (Ed.) (2020). Intimate Partner Violence: An evidence-based approach. Switzerland: Springer Nature.

Carrington, K., Morley, C., Warren, S., Harris, B., Vitis, L., Ball, M., . . . Ryan, V. (2020). The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on domestic and family violence services, Australia (Research report series).

Gibson, M., Kassisieh, G., Lloyd, A. & McCann, B (2020). There’s no safe place at home: Domestic and family violence affecting LGBTIQ+ people, Equality Australia and the Centre for Family Research and Evaluation.

Hegarty, K., Gleeson, S., Brown, S., Humphreys, C., Wheeler, J., Hooker, L., & Tarzia, L. (2020). Early engagement with families in the health sector to address domestic abuse and family violence: Policy directions.

Pooley, K., & Boxall, H. (2020). Mobile dating applications and sexual and violent offending. Trends & issues in crime and criminal justice (No. 612).

Hunter, S., Burton, J.,Blacklaws, G., Soltysik, A., Mastroianni, A., Young, J., . . . Shlonsky, A. (2020). The Family Matters report 2020: Measuring trends to turn the tide on the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care in Australia.

Spinney, A., Beer, A., MacKenzie, D., McNelis, S., Meltzer, A., Muir, K., Peters, A. and valentine, k. (2020) Ending homelessness in Australia: A redesigned homelessness service system, AHURI Final Report No. 347, Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute Limited, Melbourne.

New research articles

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

Chirwa, E., Jewkes, R., Van Der Heijden, I., & Dunkle, K. (2020). Intimate partner violence among women with and without disabilities: a pooled analysis of baseline data from seven violence-prevention programmes. BMJ Global Health, 5(11), e002156.

Dagistanli, S., Umutoni Wa Shema, N., Townley, C., Robinson, K. H., Bansel, P., Huppatz, K. E., . . . Bizimana, L. (2020). Understandings and Responses to Domestic Violence in the African Great Lakes Communities of Western Sydney.

Du Mont, J., Hemalal, S., Kosa, S. D., Cameron, L., & Macdonald, S. (2020). The promise of an intersectoral network in enhancing the response to transgender survivors of sexual assault. PLOS ONE, 15(11), e0241563.

Mason, G. (2020). Sexual assault law and community education: A case study of New South Wales, Australia. Australian Journal of Social Issues.

McCartan, K., & Kemshall, H. (2020). The Potential Role of Recovery Capital in Stopping Sexual Offending: Lessons from Circles of Support and Accountability to Enrich Practice. Irish Probation Journal, 17.

Meiksans, J., McDougall, S., Arney, F., Flaherty, R., Chong, A., Ward, F., & Taylor, C. (2020). The Nature of Domestic and Family Violence Reported to Child Protection Prenatally. Children and Youth Services Review.

Rowse, J., Bolt, C. & Gaya, S. Swipe right: the emergence of dating-app facilitated sexual assault. A descriptive retrospective audit of forensic examination caseload in an Australian metropolitan service. Forensic Science, Medicine and Pathology 16, 71–77 (2020).

Tidmarsh, P., & Hamilton, G. (2020). Misconceptions of sexual crimes against adult victims: Barriers to justice. Trends & Issues in crime and criminal justice, No. 611.

Wong, J. S., & Bouchard, J. (2020). Examining Changes in Abusive Attitudes and Behaviors of Intimate Partner Violence Perpetrators through a Community-based Prevention Program. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 1-21.

Contribute to Notepad

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

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