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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.


Heal Country!

NAIDOC 2021 invites the nation to embrace First Nations’ cultural knowledge and understanding of Country as part of Australia’s national heritage and equally respect the culture and values of Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders as they do the cultures and values of all Australians.”

The theme for this year’s NAIDOC Week is “Heal Country!” For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples “Country is family, kin, law, lore, ceremony, traditions, and language”, and it has been this way since the dawn of time. After 250 years of dispossession, this year’s theme seeks substantive and collaborative reform at institutional and structural levels. Future generations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples deserve better.

For non-Indigenous people in Australia, an essential first step in respecting the cultures and values of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples involves identifying and recognising the Traditional Custodians of the unceded land upon which they live and work. There are plenty of helpful resources to enable this, including the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies’s (AIATSIS) map of Indigenous Australia and Native Land’s global map of Indigenous territories, treaties and languages.

ANROWS acknowledges that injustices continue to affect the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across Australia. Through our collaboration with the Healing Foundation, we hope to contribute to redressing these injustices as we build trauma-aware and healing-informed capability in the Queensland violence against women sector.

We would also like to celebrate the work of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander colleagues and peers, and below we share a current research project being led by Professor Marcia Langton AO, who was the principal chief investigator on two research projects that formed part of the core grant research program ANROWS completed in 2020.

You can read more about how we are guided by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership in our work towards addressing family violence in the Warawarni-gu Guma Statement: Healing together in Ngurin Ngarluma.

For more information about this year’s NAIDOC Week, and how to celebrate, visit the NAIDOC website.


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander healing programs

Led by Professor Bronwyn Carlson (Macquarie University), the research project “An exploration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander healing programs that respond to domestic and family violence and sexual assault” is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led project that aims to provide new evidence and best practice principles regarding “what works” in healing services responding to domestic and family violence and sexual assault.

The first component of the project, a narrative review of existing literature, has now been published, and is available through the ANROWS website. The review explores family violence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities; explores intergenerational trauma and healing, including collective healing and trauma-informed care; presents the evidence for “what works” with family violence and healing programs; and outlines research gaps, including the experiences and needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTQA+ and intersex peoples and those with disability, and the way programs engage with clients when face-to-face contact is not possible.

The review notes that there is a continuing lack of knowledge about the effectiveness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander healing and justice services and programs to address family violence. In identifying previous and current such services, the review has established a knowledge base of identified principles of good practice for both family violence and healing programs.

Further research for this project will explore Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander healing programs that respond to family violence; programs, models and theoretical frameworks used; how trauma-informed practices are implemented; impacts and outcomes; use of digital technologies to facilitate service provision; and future directions for policy development.




Addressing the challenges of alcohol-related family violence in Indigenous communities

Understanding and addressing violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women (priority 3.2 under Australia’s National Research Agenda to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children [ANRA] 2020–2022) involves taking a specific focus on violence in the broader context of colonisation, dispossession, structural discrimination, intergenerational trauma and socio-economic disadvantage.

Australian Indigenous women are 35 times more likely to experience family violence than non-Indigenous women, with family members responsible for approximately two-thirds of offences. Family violence and alcohol misuse contribute to many health and social inequities facing Indigenous Australians. Led by Professor Marcia Langton AO (The University of Melbourne), the research project “Improving understanding of and response to alcohol-related family violence for Aboriginal people” will investigate associations between alcohol and family violence in urban, regional and remote Indigenous contexts to develop interventions for Indigenous Australians experiencing these issues.

The Indigenous-led project will combine the expertise, experience and resources of researchers and Indigenous community leaders to address the challenges posed by alcohol-related family violence in Indigenous communities. It is intended to fill many gaps in our understanding of the relationship between family violence and alcohol use in the context of local policy and service shortfalls and strengths.

This project can be found on ANROWS’s Register of Active Research (RAR), a publicly available database of current violence against women research. The RAR enables ANROWS, its stakeholders and other research funders to monitor progress on addressing the priorities set out in ANRA 2020–2022.

The utility of the RAR increases with every project submitted. If you have research underway relating to violence against women and their children, with an Australian target population and a robust, rigorous and ethical research design, please submit details for its inclusion on the RAR.


Dr Heather Nancarrow will retire after 40 years in the violence against women sector

ANROWS’s inaugural CEO, Dr Heather Nancarrow, will retire on 1 August after spending the past 40 years dedicated to reducing violence against women and their children.

Before we welcome our new CEO, Padma Raman PSM, on 12 July, we would like to acknowledge the incredible contributions that Dr Nancarrow has made to the sector. Particular highlights include: founding member of the Queensland Immigrant Women’s Support Service (1986); founding Director of the Queensland Centre for Domestic and Family Violence (2003 to 2014); establishment of the annual Queensland Indigenous Family Violence Prevention Forum (2004); Deputy Chair of the National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children (2008 to 2009); member of the Queensland Premier’s Special Taskforce on Domestic and Family Violence, led by Dame Quentin Bryce (2014 to 2015); and Co-Deputy Chair, with Rosie Batty AO, of the Council of Australian Governments’ Advisory Panel on Reducing Violence against Women and their Children (2015 to 2016).

We will not soon forget Dr Nancarrow’s leadership, tenacity and commitment to changing the story.  After more than seven years at ANROWS, she leaves behind a legacy of passion for the hard work of creating safety from violence for all women and their children.

ANROWS staff wish Dr Nancarrow a happy retirement.



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 family dispute resolution practitioners, family violence sector professionals, and professionals working in post-separation support services, such as parenting order programs).





The Australian Curriculum Review, currently underway, seeks to ensure that the Australian Curriculum continues to meet the needs of students, including through increasing the visibility of consent education.

Among the included revisions are those proposed to strengthen the teaching of consent and respectful relationships through the Health and Physical Education curriculum. These cover a range of areas including the impact of power and coercion on boundary setting in relationships; strategies for dealing with relationships when there is an imbalance of power; challenging gender stereotypes and social norms that lead to inequalities, disrespect and violence; and understanding the nature of gender-based violence and the beliefs and attitudes that drive this behaviour.

The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) is inviting feedback on proposed revisions to consent education. While the feedback process is aimed at educators, other members of the public can still have their say. Section 2 of the consultation survey invites general feedback following a series of Likert scale questions. We encourage stakeholders to provide feedback about the revisions made to strengthen expectations in relation to the teaching of consent and respectful relationships education. Submissions can also be emailed. Proposed revisions can be found on the Australian Curriculum Review website.

The consultation period closes on Thursday 8 July.





The next National Plan to address violence against women and their children is currently being developed by the Australian Government, with the existing National Plan drawing to a close in June 2022. As with the current National Plan, the next National Plan will coordinate the efforts of governments, organisations and individuals across Australia to reduce family, domestic and sexual violence.

A public consultation, run by the Department of Social Services in partnership with the Office for Women, is currently underway, and individuals and organisations across the nation are invited to have their say.

Feedback is encouraged from family safety advocates, organisations, people with lived experience of violence, researchers, service providers, frontline first responders, businesses, state and local governments, and the public. The consultation period ends on 31 July 2021.





The Audit Office of New South Wales is welcoming contributions to their assessment of the effectiveness of the NSW Police Force’s responses to domestic and family violence. The audit will respond to the following questions:

  1. Does the NSW Police Force effectively conduct capability planning for responding to domestic and family violence and supporting victim-survivors?
  2. Has the NSW Police Force effectively resourced its approach to respond to domestic and family violence and support victim-survivors with the required capability?
  3. Is the effectiveness of domestic and family violence policing and NSW Police Force support to victim-survivors improving over time?

Contributions are confidential and will be accepted until 30 September 2021.



New research and resources

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


Books and reports

Lester, L., Seivwright, A., Flatau, P., Crane, E., & Minto, K. (2021). Supporting women and children experiencing family and domestic violence: The Zonta House impact report. Centre for Social Impact UWAhttps://zontahouse.org.au/board-and-management/social-impact-report/  

McGorrery, P., Bathy, Z., & Simu, O. (2021). Sentencing sex offences in Victoria: An analysis of three sentencing reforms. Sentencing Advisory Council. https://www.sentencingcouncil.vic.gov.au/publications/sentencing-sex-offences-in-victoria-an-analysis-of-three-sentencing-reforms  

Richardson, G., Zardoni, C., Martin, M.-L., & Treminio, S. (2021). Gender-based violence in the highlands of Papua New Guinea: A literature review. Morobe Development Foundation Inc. https://mdfpng.com/gender-based-violence-in-the-highlands-of-papua-new-guinea-a-literature-review/  



Block, K., Hourani, J., Sullivan, C., & Vaughan, C. (2021). “It’s about building a network of support”: Australian service provider experiences supporting refugee survivors of sexual and gender-based violence. Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies, 1–15. https://doi.org/10.1080/15562948.2021.1930321

Giesbrecht, C. J. (2021). Animal safekeeping in situations of intimate partner violence: Experiences of human service and animal welfare professionals. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. https://doi.org/10.1177/08862605211025037  

Hansen, B., Wells, L., & Claussen, C. (2021). Engaging men across the violence prevention continuum: An exploratory study. Advances in Social Work, 21(1). https://doi.org/10.18060/24458  

Kuo, S.-Y., Zhang, H., & Zhao, R. (2021). Research on family violence in Greater China: Opportunities, challenges, and development. Journal of Family Violence. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-021-00295-0  

Tarzia, L., Cameron, J., Watson, J., Fiolet, R., Baloch, S., Robertson, R., Kyei-Onanjiri, M., McKibbin, G., & Hegarty, K. (2021). Personal barriers to addressing intimate partner abuse: A qualitative meta-synthesis of healthcare practitioners’ experiences. BMC Health Services Research, 21(1), 567. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-021-06582-2

Vakhitova, Z. I., Alston-Knox, C. L., Reeves, E., & Mawby, R. I. (2021). Explaining victim impact from cyber abuse: An exploratory mixed methods analysis. Deviant Behavior, 1–20. https://doi.org/10.1080/01639625.2021.1921558

Vijeyarasa, R. (2021). Gender equality in Australia: Looking for the silver bullets in the short and long term. Australian Journal of Human Rights, 1–8. https://doi.org/10.1080/1323238X.2021.1932407

In the media


“Bogus” domestic violence orders on the rise as violent partners seek to silence survivors “out of spite”—ABC News

NSW to examine how justice system treats sexual assault survivors—Daily Telegraph

Sara wants Victoria to criminalise coercive control, but family violence and legal experts are split on the issue—ABC News

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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