Building the national landscape of research on violence against women and children
ANROWS Notepad | 12 October 2022
SETTING AUSTRALIA’S NATIONAL RESEARCH AGENDA (ANRA)
A new ANRA is coming!
ANROWS was established under The National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010–2022 (National Plan). Poised on the cusp of the arrival of the successor plan, we have already commenced work on the next iteration of Australia’s National Research Agenda to Reduce Violence against Women and Children (ANRA). Dovetailing with the future National Plan, our updated national research agenda will guide funders and the research sector toward resourcing and compiling the evidence we need to achieve the outcomes set out in the National Plan.
Developing a research agenda is becoming an increasingly popular strategy to guide investment in research about violence against women and children so that it is focused and coordinated. In February 2021, the Victorian Government drew upon ANRA to release their own research agenda, Victorian Family Violence Research Agenda 2021–2024. This state-based research agenda applies a Victorian-specific lens to our shared research interests. In March 2022, ANROWS worked with The Equality Institute to produce Research priorities and pathways for progress. This document maps ANRA’s priorities against those contained in the Global Shared Research Agenda for research on violence against women in low- and middle-income countries (GSRA) to present key areas of research related to violence against women and children that have been identified as priorities for the field in Australia and globally.
Like all ANROWS research, the way we develop our updated ANRA will be rigorous, using a methodical and transparent process. It will draw upon current evidence: what we already know from our research to date, and what we know from our work building our evidence portal. It will also be inclusive, bringing in the voices of people with lived experience, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, plus the full range of ANROWS stakeholders – academics, policymakers, and practitioners.
Following the 2018 model set out by Nyström and colleagues, ANROWS takes a collaborative approach to the whole research process. Our updated ANRA process will incorporate the insights of stakeholders who identified research gaps in the extensive consultation undertaken in the development of the upcoming National Plan. There will also be opportunities for our stakeholders to be endorsers, commissioners, informants and recipients of research outputs disseminated to suit diverse needs by our Evidence to Action team. As our new Director of Research and Evaluation Dr Jane Lloyd puts it, “Research is everybody’s business, and you have every right to ask us for the research that you need to work effectively to end violence against women and children.”
MEASURING SUCCESS WITH THE REGISTER OF ACTIVE RESEARCH
Help us build an accurate picture of research currently underway
As we come to the end of the current ANRA one way we can measure its success in guiding research toward key priority areas is through the Register of Active Research (RAR). The RAR is a centralised database of research currently underway relating to violence against women and children in Australia. At present, the RAR contains 107 active projects being run across 48 different organisations, including universities, practitioner organisations and other research institutions.
When projects in the RAR are completed, as 117 so far have been, research outputs are moved over to the ANROWS Digital Library. We can see from the RAR that two of the key priority areas identified in ANRA – children and young people’s experiences of violence and sexual harassment and other forms of sexual violence – make up 31 per cent and 26 per cent of the research underway, respectively. As the RAR will be used in the development of the next ANRA, it would assist our process if all researchers who are working on projects relating to violence against women and children with Australian target populations submitted their research as soon as possible.
ANROWS DIGITAL LIBRARY SEES JUMP IN VISITORS
Australia’s largest collection of research about violence against women
With more than 10,800 items, the ANROWS Digital Library is Australia’s largest collection of research relating to violence against women, and it has a dedicated librarian who provides live assistance to library users. As we add to this curated collection every month, the size of the collection has increased by more than 17 per cent over the course of the last two years. The ANROWS Digital Library integrates with our RAR and ANRA to create a map of research, both published and underway, and to identify research gaps where more work is required.
Unique visitors to the ANROWS Digital Library across the two-year period grew to more than 5,200 people (an increase of 56%), with more than 11,450 searches performed by library users. Even more encouraging is that 97 per cent of respondents to our 2022 stakeholder survey who had accessed the library in the last 12 months rated it as somewhat or very useful. However, only 52 per cent of survey respondents had accessed the library in the last 12 months. While this is a significant improvement (up 15%) on the 2021 stakeholder survey results, where only 37 per cent of respondents indicated they had accessed the ANROWS Digital Library in the last 12 months, we think the collection warrants more use.
This is where you, our valued Notepad readers, come in! We would love you to share our social media campaign about the ANROWS Digital Library with your colleagues and friends, and to let them know that if they are looking for a curated collection of current research about violence against women, there is no better resource in Australia. They may be surprised to know that the ANROWS Digital Library is free, with many of its contents provided in full text. People who are new to searching academic catalogues might find it useful to know that our library is staffed with online help during business hours.
Find our digital campaign material here: https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/ihxfapyab5z0huysrmsfo/h?dl=0&rlkey=rqimp6fwtleobxgf70igrojpa
Share these images with a direct link to the ANROWS library: https://anrows.softlinkhosting.com.au/liberty/libraryHome.do
RESEARCH SHOWS URGENT NEED FOR EARLY INTERVENTION
Voices of children with disability enrich child-centred evidence base
A significant gap in reliable data about children and young people’s experiences of domestic and family violence (DFV) made it a priority in ANRA. Recently, we’ve seen the benefits of this priority setting, with several projects focused on children and young people funded through the ANROWS 2020–2022 Core Grant Research Program that have been published or are due to be published soon. More consistent and representative evidence on the prevalence of children and young people with disability experiencing DFV and research featuring the voices of victims and survivors – especially children and young people – has been critical to bridging this gap. The latest two publications, led by Professor Sally Robinson from Flinders University, address both knowledge gaps.
The first report uses a Western Australian linked administrative dataset to identify the prevalence of DFV experiences among children with disability. The second report features findings from the team’s conversations with children, young people, families, and practitioners. The team found approximately 30 per cent of children who experience DFV are children with disability. They were also twice as likely to have a mother hospitalised due to a DFV assault (8% compared to 4%). The reports garnered considerable media attention, including articles in Crikey, SBS News and Triple M, which made the connection to recent BOCSAR research that showed adults with disability were more than twice as likely to be victims of violent and domestic violence–related crime.
The storied shared by families and practitioners with the research team included waiting several months for case plans, support coordinators unexpectedly discontinuing care, children in shared custody arrangements being harmed while visiting fathers, and multiple barriers to support when children’s behaviour escalated in response to trauma. They also shared their experiences of “pockets of good practice” and self-advocacy. With both statistics and stories, the research presents a robust picture of the current state of need experienced by children with disability and their families.
The project led by Professor Robinson builds upon recently published ANROWS projects, including one led by Dr Carol Orr and a team from The University of Western Australia, whose research made headlines earlier this year. Their finding that children were five times more likely to receive a mental health service by the time they turned 18 after experiencing DFV was reported across the country and was cited by Minister of Social Services Amanda Rishworth in a recent $20 million funding announcement. While Orr’s study showed the serious mental health consequences of DFV on children, including a two times increased risk in substance use disorder, research led by a team at Griffith University found that there was a particularly strong correlation between experiences of DFV and sexual offending by young males. The study, which examined two large existing Queensland youth offender datasets, found boys and young men who committed offences had commonly experienced high rates of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs; see below for more details).
The growing evidence base points to an urgent need to take children’s and young people’s experiences of DFV seriously, primarily through the funding and delivery of early child-centred intervention. Minister Rishworth’s announcement suggests there is an interest to provide investment in these vital areas.
RESEARCH YOU MAY HAVE MISSED
Childhood trauma and neglect common among youth who offend
As mentioned above, earlier this year ANROWS published the final report of the “Adverse childhood experiences and the intergenerational transmission of domestic and family violence in young people who engage in harmful sexual behaviour and violence against women” project. Conducted by researchers from Griffith University, the research revealed that male youth who had come into contact with the justice system experienced high rates of abuse, neglect and trauma in childhood. This was especially true for young males who had perpetrated sexual offences. This group had on average experienced a higher number of ACEs than those who had been adjudicated for other violent and non-violent offences. Significantly, experiencing DFV in childhood was strongly correlated with later sexual offending.
In an earlier report from this project, Exploring the onset, duration and temporal ordering of adverse childhood experiences in young people adjudicated for sexual offences: A longitudinal qualitative study, the researchers used longitudinal datasets to develop a new model for visualising ACEs by mapping them temporally, rather than simply recording whether or not they had occurred at any stage of childhood. To test their new approach, the researchers examined a subset of the larger cohort, focusing on those who had experienced the highest number of ACEs.
This analysis revealed that frequent changes to accommodation and caregivers were highly prevalent, as was the concentration of maltreatment in the first six years of life. For these male youths, ACEs were often experienced constantly, over long periods of time.
Together, the two reports build the evidence base about which young people are at risk of offending and generate insights that could lead to targeted early-intervention programs, reducing the risk of future violence. This research, which was recently reported on by The Guardian (Australia), can be accessed on our website here.
UPCOMING ANROWS WEBINAR
Family law parenting orders, breaches, and their impact on children
The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) has partnered with ANROWS to conduct research that examines how the parenting order enforcement regime is working in Australia, and what drives non-compliance. The study pulls together a range of perspectives, from the views of parents, carers and legal professionals to judicial insights from court files. This research demonstrates that when parenting orders fail to take children’s views into account, or when family violence makes these orders unsafe to comply with, these factors can be drivers of non-compliance. This new research will be launched on Monday 24 October 2022 at a webinar. Watch the panel unpack the findings and explore the policy implications for future reforms to achieve better outcomes for families with complex needs and long litigation histories.
The discussion will be facilitated by Michele Robinson (ANROWS), with a panel including Dr Rae Kaspiew (AIFS), Dr Rachel Carson (AIFS), Dr Heidi Saunders (Carinity Talera), Michelle Hayward (Aboriginal Legal Service NSW/ACT) and Gabrielle Craig (Women’s Legal Service NSW). There will also be a live Q&A.
NATIONAL PRINCIPLES ON COERCIVE CONTROL
New principles aim to provide national consistency across legislative and policy settings
In submissions, reports, and, notably, in a recent policy brief, ANROWS has long been calling for a nationally consistent definition of “coercive control”. ANROWS has argued that this is necessary for women’s safety, because understanding coercive control is fundamental to preventing abusive behaviour, recognising abusive behaviour, responding to abusive behaviour and recovering from abusive behaviour. That is, there are many people and institutions, across the community and in many sectors, who need a shared, consistent definition in order to keep women safe.
Following these calls, the Attorney-General’s Department has released a consultation draft of National Principles to Address Coercive Control. The consultation process is open, and feedback is welcomed via survey at this link. The survey is open until Friday 11 November 2022.
ANROWS commends the work to identify and articulate common features and impacts of coercive control. The Principles also reflect key ANROWS evidence-based recommendations for attention to discrimination and inequality; the inclusion of lived expertise; and the need for whole-of-system approaches to prevention, intervention, response and recovery. Importantly, the Principles pick up on ANROWS research and recommendations we have made in submissions to the New South Wales, Queensland and federal governments to consider the unintended consequences of the criminalisation of coercive control. For example, see information below on ANROWS’s most recent feedback to the NSW Department of Communities and Justice on considering and mitigating the possible unintended consequences of their move to create a standalone criminal offence for coercive control.
ANROWS welcomes these Principles and looks forward to providing feedback.
Did you know?
Making submissions to key government inquiries is one knowledge translation activity regularly undertaken by ANROWS. This submission, which supports a long lead-in time and careful oversight of the drafting, implementation and evaluation of the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Coercive Control Bill) (NSW), was provided to the New South Wales Department of Communities and Justice in September 2022.
DFAT/UN WOMEN SOCIAL PROTECTION WEBINAR
Register now for tomorrow’s “Harnessing social protection to address violence against women and girls” webinar. Starting at 11:00 am AEST, Thursday 13 October 2022, the webinar will be facilitated by ANROWS CEO Padma Raman. Hosted by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), UN Women, socialprotection.org and ANROWS, this webinar will cover recent research, evidence and program examples of social protection as it relates to mitigating gender-based violence. Reflecting on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on rates of violence against women and girls, the webinar will explore how social protection systems and strategies can provide vital support to victims and survivors, reduce financial stress, and provide a protective measure against violence. ANROWS Director Evidence to Action Michele Robinson will be presenting recent research on COVID-19 and violence alongside speakers including Sarah Goulding (DFAT) and Kalliope Mingeirou (UN Women).
SEXUAL HARASSMENT OF LGBTQ YOUNG PEOPLE
We are pleased to announce the #SpeakingOut@Work online national survey is now open for responses! The #SpeakingOut@Work study is investigating the sexual harassment of LGBTQ young people (aged 14–30) in the workplace and in workplace training, so we can better understand these experiences. The findings from this survey will inform workplace policy, practice and targeted resources to address and prevent sexual harassment of LGBTQ young people and to make a positive difference to their working and workplace experiences. The link to the survey will also provide more further information about this research, and how you can also volunteer to be interviewed and/or involved in our photo-story exercise, where you can share your experiences creatively. This is an ANROWS-funded research project.
WORKPLACE SEXUAL HARASSMENT RESEACH
Alongside ANROWS’s Sexual Harassment Research Program, Dr Nicola Helps from Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre is also conducting research into workplace sexual harassment. The survey asks participants to describe an incident of workplace sexual harassment they have experienced.
FILM EXPLORING HOMELESSNESS AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
On any given night, around 116,000 people in Australia are homeless. Some Happy Day, an Australian independent social impact film by Catherine Hill, shines a light on one woman’s experience of homelessness and domestic and family violence. You can view it on SBS On Demand or at this website.
ATTORNEY-GENERAL TO GIVE KEP ENDERBY MEMORIAL LECTURE
The Australian Human Rights Commission’s prestigious Kep Enderby Memorial Lecture this year will be delivered by The Hon Mark Dreyfus KC MP, the Attorney-General of Australia. This lecture, held during lunch hour on Friday 3 November, represents one of the first public opportunities to hear the new Government’s agenda for human rights policy implementation and reform. The address is expected to cover the Government’s commitments relating to justice for First Nations peoples and communities and a national anti-racism strategy and will be followed by a panel discussion about online hate and the need for legislative reform. Online attendance is expected to reach a thousand people and is free of charge.
DANISH TELEVISION SERIES COVERING CHILD PROTECTION
Danish television series Cry Wolf (2020), currently available on SBS On Demand, follows a traumatised family. Holly’s depiction in an essay of violence in the home sees her teacher call in a municipality social worker, who immediately recommends out-of-home care.
New research and resources
In this edition of Notepad’s new research and resources, we feature the final report from a completed Register of Active Research (RAR) project titled: Domestic violence perpetrator programmes: How do they respond to neurodiversity? Led by Dr Nicole Renehan from Durham University in the UK, it is the first international study to explore and build evidence on the experiences and perspectives of practitioners in the UK and Australia who work with neurodivergent men, setting out the challenges, needs and strengths of neurodivergent men attending men’s behaviour change programs.
The project was funded by the Economic Social Research Council and the Centre for Research into Violence and Abuse (CRiVA). Dr Kate Fitz-Gibbon, who has led several ANROWS projects, with a report published last month titled Adolescent family violence in Australia: A national study of prevalence, history of childhood victimisation and impacts, was a co-author and collaborator on the project with Dr Renehan.
You can view this report and the list of new research, along with over 10,000 records of sector-relevant resources and research, in the ANROWS Digital Library.
Asian-Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence Resource Library [Website].
Respect Victoria. (2022). Resources and templates [Website].
Social Protection Inter-Agency Cooperation Board Gender Working Group. (2022). Resource sheet on gender-based violence & social protection.
Women’s Health East Resources [Website].
World Wide Web Foundation. (2022). Strengthening accountability for online gender-based violence – One year later.
Books and reports
Centre for Women’s Safety and Wellbeing. (2022). Domestic, family, and sexual violence: Reader.
Ellard, R., Hew, E., Simpson, M., & Campbell, E. (2022). Evaluation of the pre-court support for Adolescents using Violence In The Home (AVITH) pilot. Centre for Innovative Justice.
Renehan, N., & Fitz-Gibbon, K. (2022). Domestic violence perpetrator programmes and neurodiversity. MGFVPC.
Seymour, K., Wendt, S., & Natalier, K. (2023). Responding to domestic violence: Difficult conversations. Routledge.
Wolbers, H., Boxall, H., Long, C., & Gunnoo, A. (2022). Sexual harassment, aggression and violence victimisation among mobile dating app and website users in Australia. (Research Report no. 25.).
Afrouz, R., & Robinson, K. (2022). Domestic and family violence for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communities in Australia during COVID-19 pandemic. Practice: Social Work in Action, 1–20. https://doi.org/10.1080/09503153.2022.2114443
Forsdike, K., O’Sullivan, G., & Hooker, L. (2022). Major sports events and domestic violence: A systematic review. Health & Social Care in the Community. https://doi.org/10.1111/hsc.14028
Gillespie, K., Branjerdporn, G., Tighe, K., Carrasco, A., & Baird, K. (2022). Domestic violence screening in a Public Mental Health Service: A qualitative examination of mental health clinician responses to DFV. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing. https://doi.org/10.1111/jpm.12875
Quintana Vigiola, G., Donnelly, S., & Wan, K. (2022). Housing provision for women experiencing domestic and family violence in NSW during COVID-19. Urban Policy and Research, 1–15. https://doi.org/10.1080/08111146.2022.2122426
Russell, E. K., Carlton, B., & Tyson, D. (2022). ‘It’s a gendered issue, 100 per cent’: How tough bail laws entrench gender and racial inequality and social disadvantage. International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 11(3), 107–121. https://doi.org/10.5204/ijcjsd.1882
Walklate, S., Fitz-Gibbon, K., Reeves, E., Meyer, S., & McGowan, J. (2022). In control, out of control or losing control? Making sense of men’s reported experiences of coercive control through the lens of hegemonic masculinity. Journal of Criminology. https://doi.org/10.1177/26338076221127452
In the media
Children victims, survivors of domestic violence need to be heard and supported to end intergenerational trauma—Canberra Times
Australia requires critical support for the needs of young people using adolescent family violence—Women’s Agenda
‘Fear of speaking out’: Queensland police officer’s sexual assaults went unreported for years, inquiry told—Guardian (Australia)
Almost three-quarters of dating app users subjected to online sexual violence, study finds—ABC News
Grace Tame gets big crowd for book launch—The Advertiser (Cessnock)
Employers will have positive duty to prevent sexual harassment in workplaces, under new legislation—The Conversation
What’s changed, ten years since Jill Meagher’s senseless murder?—Women’s Agenda
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