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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.


Loans for women escaping domestic and family violence

A group of researchers, led by Dr Jananie William of the Australian National University, is responding to the well-known need in Australia for women to be able to access funds to safely leave violent relationships.

The project, “Income-contingent loans for women escaping domestic and family violence”, will investigate an income-contingent loan (ICL) scheme, with the ultimate aim of proposing a financial support scheme, involving ICL and government grants, to increase the number of women who can be supported to safely leave violence, as well as the amount each woman could receive.

The research team, which includes noted economist Professor Bruce Chapman AO, will provide the economic rationale and feasibility of the proposed scheme. Using the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health, the ABS Personal Safety Survey (2016) and ABS Census data (2016), a long-term income projection model will be built for women who are experiencing intimate partner violence.

Importantly, the proposed scheme would take place through a mechanism designed to protect women from future financial hardship. The scheme would provide substantial benefits in terms of enabling women’s safety and their financial wellbeing.

The details of this significant project are housed in ANROWS’s Register of Active Research. You can filter the register by topic, and see how this research complements other Australian projects in the area of financial security. You can also submit your own research for inclusion, and you might see it shared in a future edition of Notepad.


“Debt, duress and dob-ins:
Centrelink compliance processes and domestic violence”

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the prevalence of economic insecurity experienced by women who are victims and survivors of domestic and family violence (DFV). Income security is vital for women who experience DFV to leave violent relationships. However, social security is often left out of government DFV policy and planning. This ongoing gap in policy between social security and domestic violence response is a critical area which must be addressed.

A new report released last week by Economic Justice Australia, Debt, duress and dob-ins: Centrelink compliance processes and domestic violence, explores the interaction of social security law and Centrelink debt investigation practices for women experiencing DFV. The report findings show how a perpetrator can face no repercussions when a woman’s Centrelink debt is the direct result of the abuser lying to her about his income and assets.

The report presents findings from the research project led by University of Wollongong, with researchers from the University of Queensland and the University of Sydney. One of the researchers on the project was Lyndal Sleep, whose previous, ANROWS-funded research addresses social security and Centrelink’s “couple rule” in the context of DFV. The findings of the EJA report highlight the long-standing barriers in the law to relieve women of Centrelink debts that are a direct result of DFV, including coercion and financial abuse. The report makes 27 recommendations aimed at addressing these issues to ensure that the social security framework plays a vital role to provide a safety net for women escaping domestic violence.

Read the full report through Economic Justice Australia’s website.


What we learned from our stakeholders – and what we plan to do about it

ANROWS’s commitment to meeting the needs of our stakeholders is upheld each year in our annual stakeholder survey. Last year, as a result of feedback provided through the survey, we:

  • produced more knowledge translation in relation to synthesised findings rather than individual reports
  • grew our webinar program
  • improved website functionality and accessibility
  • worked on building public visibility and awareness of ANROWS through the media.

You can read more about the improvements we made in our annual report.

This year, we heard from 508 stakeholders who provided a raft of positive and constructive feedback. Key highlights include the following:

  • Over half of all respondents were very likely to turn first to ANROWS for most types of information on violence against women.
  • Nine in 10 respondents agreed strongly agreed that ANROWS’s research and resources were relevant, useful, appropriately tailored, and credible and authoritative.

Among those identified as policymakers, over half (56%) reported that they had used ANROWS research to inform policy development:

“I often research a policy position for government to take or occasionally a service model proposal and ANROWS provides the authority and background and research rigour I need to do that well.”

Respondents had ideas to expand our range of resources, for example:

“Summaries of webinars and conference discussions would be useful to have to read them during breaks at work when reading an entire article or research paper is not feasible.”

Multiple respondents highlighted the value of brief and engaging resources:

“It is wonderful and beneficial having accessibility to ANROWS for current evidence-based and valuable documents/resources. Having these in highly visual formats, brief and easily readable is appreciated.”

We learned overall that while, on the whole, stakeholders were highly engaged and satisfied with ANROWS, we still have some improvements we can make. This year our focus will include attention on:

  • continuing to promote ANRA and the RAR
  • continuing to promote the Digital Library and investigate options for online help (live chat), pending customer relationship management system (CRM) implementation
  • finalising implementation of further improvements to website navigation and search function
  • continuing to create bite-sized written materials including fact sheets and infographics
  • continuing to produce webinars.

We would to extend our thanks to everyone who filled in our stakeholder survey which helps to guide our work now and in the future.


“Creating a vibrant post-pandemic Australia”

Speaking to the National Press Club last Wednesday, Sam Mostyn, President of Chief Executive Women (and Chair of the ANROWS Board), noted “the unique privilege [we have had] of observing up close the experiences of many, particularly women, trying to deal with the relentless upheaval caused to our world and this country by COVID-19.”

Ms Mostyn called for the country to put care at the centre of the economy, and to recognise the often unpaid work that women carry out to sustain the “human and social infrastructure of the care economy” – infrastructure that has “kept us alive and together through this pandemic”.

She mentioned ANROWS research “that paints a comprehensive picture of how COVID-19 and extended lockdowns have affected service provisions for women and children experiencing domestic and family violence, and how domestic and family violence is a sure pathway to desperate levels of financial stress among Australian women”. She also pointed to the “disturbing insights” arising from ANROWS’s National Community Attitudes towards Violence against Women Survey (NCAS), including that 4 in 10 Australians mistrust women’s reports of sexual violence, despite false allegations of sexual assault being incredibly rare.

Ms Mostyn’s address is now available to watch on ABC iView, and you can read more about the NCAS on the ANROWS website.


Understanding economic and financial abuse

“For many women with cognitive or psychosocial disabilities or intellectual disabilities, financial abuse along with all forms of abuse are actually intrinsically linked with the kind of societal view that women with disability can’t make their own decisions and don’t have the capability to do so … [which is] very misguided.” Heidi La Paglia, Director of Policy and Programs, Women with Disabilities Australia

The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the economic insecurity experienced by women who are victims and survivors of DFV; the economic costs of DFV, both for women and at a societal level; and the scourge of financial and economic abuse.

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CommBank) has partnered with the University of New South Wales Gendered Violence Research Network (GVRN) through its CommBank Next Chapter program to develop a research series exploring current knowledge of financial abuse in Australia.

A recent ANROWS webinar, facilitated by ANROWS CEO Padma Raman PSM, unpacked the program’s research findings to build community, sector and industry understanding of this important issue.

The webinar had a live audience of 537, and 100 per cent of those who responded to the post-event survey rated the webinar as “excellent” or “good”. One attendee commented, “I thought you addressed the lack of understanding and discussion about family violence and financial abuse in non-mainstream groups very well. I loved the discussion regarding people with cognitive and intellectual disabilities, and Indigenous women and people.”

The webinar was recorded, and you can now catch up through the ANROWS website.



Opportunities and events


On Wednesday 1 Dec at 10:00 am (AEDT), Minister for Social Services and Women’s Safety, Senator The Hon Anne Ruston, will officially launch the third edition of the National Association for Services Against Sexual Violence’s National Practice Standards. The Standards document is full of useful and practical information to guide the work of sexual assault services and others who respond to victims of sexual violence. It identifies six key practice standards:

  • valuing access for all clients
  • valuing client experience at the service
  • valuing sound clinical interventions
  • valuing advocacy, collaboration and community engagement
  • valuing staff
  • valuing a stable organisation, good governance and effective systems.

Interested parties are invited to attend the launch, and can register here.



On Tuesday 7 December, Monash University will host an event exploring the misidentification of women victims and survivors of family violence as “predominant aggressors” in Australia. Over the last two years, this phenomenon has been heralded as a key point of contention in the ongoing debate on the potential criminalisation of coercive control in Australia.

Featuring Dr Ellen Reeves, Professor Heather Douglas, Matt Addison, Ela Stewart and Ashlee Donohue, this event will host an informed discussion on the issue of misidentification, looking at the systems in which misidentification occurs, who is most at risk of misidentification, and what role, if any, policy and law reform can play in better protecting victims and survivors who are at risk of being misidentified.


New research and resources

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



Women’s Financial Toolkit—Women NSW

End Gender-Based Violence Series—WAGEC

Safe Response Toolkit—The Stop Campaign




Books and reports

Jenna, P., & Blair, W. (2021). 2021 Women for media report. Women’s Leadership Institute Australia. https://apo.org.au/node/315144

Our Watch. (2021). Change the story: A shared framework for the primary prevention of violence against women in Australia (2nd ed.). Our Watch. https://www.ourwatch.org.au/resource/change-the-story-a-shared-framework-for-the-primary-prevention-of-violence-against-women-in-australia  

Owren, C. (2021). Understanding and addressing gender-based violence as part of the climate emergency. IUCN. https://www.unwomen.org/sites/default/files/Headquarters/Attachments/Sections/CSW/66/EGM/Expert%20Papers/Cate%20OWREN_CSW66%20Expert%20Paper.pdf  

Seymour, K., Hirsch, R., Wendt, S., & Natalier, K. (2021). Analysis of the workplace agreements database for the family and domestic violence leave review. FairWork Commission. https://www.fwc.gov.au/documents/sites/family-domestic-violence-leave/correspondence/am202155-report-literature-review-031121.pdf  

Seymour, K., Wendt, S., Natalier, K., & Hirsch, R. (2021). Family and domestic violence leave entitlement in Australia: A systemic review. FairWork Commission. https://www.fwc.gov.au/documents/sites/family-domestic-violence-leave/correspondence/am202155-report-wad-data-031121.pdf  

SNAICC National Voice for our Children. (2021). National framework for protecting Australia’s children 2021-2031: Successor plan consultation report. SNAICC – National Voice for our Children. https://apo.org.au/node/31516

Victorian Law Reform Commission. (2021). Improving the justice system response to sexual offences: Report. Victorian Law Reform Commission. https://www.lawreform.vic.gov.au/publication/improving-the-justice-system-response-to-sexual-offences/




Journal articles

Butcher, L., Day, A., Miles, D., Kidd, G., & Stanton, S. (2021). Developing youth justice policy and programme design in Australia. Australian Journal of Public Administration. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8500.12524

Buxton-Namisnyk, E. (2021). Domestic violence policing of First Nations women in Australia: ‘Settler’ frameworks, consequential harms and the promise of meaningful self-determination. The British Journal of Criminology. https://doi.org/10.1093/bjc/azab103

Ibrahim, N. (2021). Perpetration and victimization prevalence for intimate partner violence in the Australian-Muslim community. Partner Abuse(4), 432-460. https://doi.org/10.1891/PA-2020-0009

Martino, E., & Bentley, R. (2021). Mapping the riskscape of using privately-owned short-term lets for specialist family violence crisis accommodation. International Journal of Housing Policy, 1-24. https://doi.org/10.1080/19491247.2021.2002658

Sabri, B., Glass, N., Murray, S., Perrin, N., Case, J. R., & Campbell, J. C. (2021). A technology-based intervention to improve safety, mental health and empowerment outcomes for immigrant women with intimate partner violence experiences: it’s weWomen plus sequential multiple assignment randomized trial (SMART) protocol. BMC Public Health, 21(1), 1956. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-021-11930-2


In the media


Advocates call for dramatic change to Indigenous domestic violence approach—News.com.au

Emma says a team leader gave her bad advice when she disclosed domestic violence. How should employers respond?—ABC News

Championing social justice—ANU 75 Features

First Nations kids make up about 20% of missing children, but get a fraction of the media coverage—The Conversation

Kate’s abusive ex-husband racked up almost $86k of debt in her name. This is how she got help—ABC News

Kate has faced years of abuse on social media. She says it’s time platforms did something about it—ABC Radio National

Tangentyere Council’s ‘Boys Can Girls Can’ campaign aims to save women’s lives—ABC News

Victoria Police launches Australian-first policy for dealing with family violence perpetrators in its ranks—ABC News

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