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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.

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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

About ANROWS

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.

KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER

Resources

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.

ANROWS FINDINGS HEARD AROUND THE WORLD

ANROWS publishes new research on the link between economic insecurity and IPV in the context of COVID-19

On 31 January, ANROWS released the second report in a series focusing on women’s experiences of intimate partner violence (IPV) during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Economic insecurity and intimate partner violence in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic”, led by Anthony Morgan and Dr Hayley Boxall of the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC), investigated the relationship between risk factors related to economic insecurity – particularly those influenced or exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic – and Australian women’s experiences of IPV. Findings were drawn from a survey of 10,107 women aged 18 years and over who had been in a relationship in the 12 months prior to the survey (which took place from February to April, 2021).

The research was widely and well received, indicating how critical the findings are in terms of understanding the complexity in determining the relationship between IPV and economic insecurity. They also suggest a renewed focus on the nexus between women’s safety and women’s economic security, both in the context of COVID-19 and beyond. Our CEO, Padma Raman PSM, was interviewed about the research on ABC NewsRadio, and the findings were discussed in media both national (see “Media” section for a full run-down of articles) and international, making it as far as the New York Times.

“We need to think about how we can improve the economic security of women longer term to prevent violence, provide economic support to victim survivors so they can leave abusive relationships, and find ways to minimise the immediate effects of the economic consequences of the pandemic on women’s safety,” Dr Boxall of the AIC said. ANROWS looks forward to seeing the research findings addressed and their implications incorporated in policy and in practice, particularly in light of the WGEA’s recently released Data Snapshot 2020–21, which shows that the gender pay gap is currently at 22.8 per cent.

The snapshot illuminates key findings from Australia’s gender equality scorecard: Key results from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency’s 2020–21 employer census. The results show a mix of progress, stasis and regression: for example, while 42 per cent of employers have reduced their pay gaps since 2020, the pay gap has remained static among 21 per cent of employers, and widened among 37 per cent, suggesting there is substantial further work required to achieve gender equality in Australian workplaces.


ANROWS NATIONAL RESEARCH CONFERENCE 2022

Register now for the 2022 ANROWS National Research Conference on Violence against Women

Register now to be part of the year’s most important conversation on evidence to inform contemporary policy priorities addressing violence against women and their children.

Join ANROWS and researchers, practitioners and policy designers from Australia and around the world to connect, collaborate and share understandings of how the evidence is – and should be – used to address policy priorities.

“If there’s ever a good time to attend a conference around evidence on gender-based violence, I can’t think of a better time than now.” Safiyah Salim, Women’s Strategy and Programs Manager, Women and Newborn Health Service WA

Join us online for four days from 22 to 25 February 2022. Structured around research and policy priority topics, the conference will offer flexible attendance and provides accessible features and new ways to engage both with the content and with peers.

“There’s no better way you could use a day … because in one place at one time, you’ll get an excellent overview of the domestic violence field.” Steve Lock, Practice Leader (Domestic and Family Violence), Queensland Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women

Register now to secure your place at the table. Registrations close 21 February, 2022.

REGISTER NOW
ABS RELEASES NEW DATA ON SEXUAL ASSAULT OFFENDERS, WHICH SHOWS …

97 per cent of recorded sexual assault offenders are male

New data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has been released examining the characteristics of sexual assault offenders and their criminal justice system outcomes over the past decade. Police agencies in Australia recorded 53,570 sexual assault offenders between 2010–11 and 2019–20, most of them male (97%).

The ABS data shows 97 per cent of sexual assault offenders proceeded against by police were male, and that 94 per cent of police proceedings against sexual assault offenders led to a court action. A total of 46,131 sexual assault defendants were finalised across all criminal courts.

The ABS found that 76 per cent of sexual assault defendants with a guilty outcome in higher criminal courts were sentenced to custody in a correctional institution. They also found, for men, the sexual assault imprisonment rate steadily increased (rising from 35.7% in 2013 to 51.7% in 2019).

Data in the ABS report is drawn from police agencies and, while hopeful in terms of successful convictions and custodial sentences, has to be balanced with the data we already have on the underreporting of sexual violence.

Speaking to Wendy Tuohy at the Sydney Morning Herald, ANROWS CEO Padma Raman said, given “87 per cent of women who have experienced sexual assault don’t go to police – partly because they don’t think they will be believed,” many perpetrators are still avoiding prosecution. Ms Raman is drawing upon 2017 National Community Attitudes towards Violence against Women Survey (NCAS) data that showed as many as four in 10 Australians mistrust women’s reports of sexual violence.

Ms Raman also mentioned the need for work to “remove systemic barriers to women achieving justice, especially women from marginalised groups,” drawing upon the disproportionate number of women who report experiencing sexual violence when compared to the number of offenders. For example, utilising data from 2016 ABS Personal Safety Survey results, this Australian Institute of Health and Welfare resource indicates around 639,000 Australian women experienced their most recent incident of sexual assault perpetrated by a male in the last 10 years. This disparity between the number of victims and survivors and the number of offenders was also picked up by PedestrianTV.

You can access the full ABS report on sexual offenders through their website.


ANROWS RESEARCH MAKES PREDICTING RE-VICTIMISATION OF INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE EASIER AND MORE ACCURATE

BOCSAR finds National Risk Assessment Principles could improve the way NSW Police identify victims at risk of future violence

New research from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) has found the National Risk Assessment Principles (NRAP) developed by ANROWS to be the best way for NSW Police to improve the way they identify victims and survivors most at risk of future intimate partner violence (IPV).

In 2018 NSW Police recorded nearly 80,000 incidents of IPV in various forms. Among the victims and survivors who came to police attention, more than a quarter experienced a new IPV incident within 12 months.

Past research found the 30-question domestic violence risk assessment tool, the DVSAT, currently used by NSW Police is a poor predictor of re-victimisation. The recently released study compared four models to identify an alternative that performs well in the NSW context.

Two of the four evaluated models were based on the NRAP, and these models outperformed the DVSAT and another tool developed by New Zealand Police, the Static Assessment of Family Violence Recidivism (SAFVR).

The study found that the best performing model could be further simplified to just five factors without impacting accuracy:

  1. victim history of domestic violence reports
  2. perpetrator history of domestic violence convictions
  3. pregnancy and new birth
  4. victim’s self-perception of risk
  5. perpetrator’s misuse of alcohol and other drugs.

The five factors reinforce existing ANROWS research which has previously found that the most consistent risk factor for death or re-assault is a previous history of violence, and throws further light on the critical importance of hearing victims’ and survivors’ voices and their self-assessments of risk. The significance of pregnancy and new parenthood to the likelihood of re-victimisation also stresses the need for consistent and integrated domestic violence screening in antenatal care as concluded by ANROWS research led by Professor Kelsey Hegarty.

BOCSAR executive director, Jackie Fitzgerald, said that accurate assessment is essential to prioritising services for those victims most at risk. “Our study proposes a brief risk assessment instrument which is both easy to implement and which significantly outperforms the current tool. Adopting such a tool could help to reduce domestic violence by connecting more high-risk victims with appropriate services.”

ANROWS CEO Padma Raman said that the research highlighted the real-world implications of the extensive evidence base continually being developed by ANROWS. “This research shows just how the ANROWS evidence base can create meaningful and implementable changes that increase the safety of victims and survivors and ease the pressure on responders and the service system,” she said. “I hope to see more policymakers and practitioners using ANROWS evidence as they work to address the issue of violence and deliver a more effective, coordinated response.”

FAMILY LAW PARENTING ORDERS: NEW RESEARCH PUBLISHED

Children and young people must have a say in parenting orders

New ANROWS research finds the contravention regime for breaches of family law parenting orders is seen by professionals who work with separated parents as slow, costly, technical, potentially traumatic, and potentially open to misuse. Compliance with and enforcement of family law parenting orders: Views of professionals and judicial officers is the first stage of a four-part study designed to examine the drivers of non-compliance with parenting orders and the operation of the parenting order enforcement regime in Australia.

“This is a significant study, as there is no current empirical evidence on the operation of the contravention regime in Australia,” ANROWS CEO Padma Raman. “It comes at an opportune moment, illuminating the way the compliance regime was perceived right before the Australian Government began making changes. These changes arose in response to a series of inquiries that indicated the need for an overhaul of the family law system, including parenting matters and contravention matters.” This first stage of the study was funded by the Australian Government and will help inform targeted approaches to addressing family law issues. Attorney-General Michaelia Cash said the Government continued to invest in the family courts and family law system through a range of initiatives. “The Government recognises the frustration that parents and others can experience when parenting orders are contravened,” the Attorney-General said. “This research will guide work to better ensure compliance with court orders.”

For this study, a team led by Dr Rae Kaspiew and Dr Rachel Carson from the Australian Institute of Family Studies interviewed judicial officers and surveyed 343 professionals working with separated parents, including lawyers (46%), family dispute resolution practitioners (23%) and professionals who work in family and domestic violence services (9%). They found that the drivers of non-compliance with parenting orders are complex. Systemic issues contribute, including shortcomings in the responses to family violence and safety concerns and limitations in the way the system supports the participation of children and young people. A key recommendation stemming from the study is that the process of developing parenting orders needs to be attentive to the needs and views of children and young people in order to reduce non-compliance driven by children and young people themselves.


ANROWS REGISTER OF ACTIVE RESEARCH

Supporting family reunification in child protection

Australia’s National Research Agenda to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children (ANRA) 2020–2022 outlines a need, recognised throughout the Australian DFV research community, for extensive and quality research into children’s and young people’s experiences of and exposure to domestic and family violence.

“Supporting family reunification in child protection”, a research project led by Dr Naomi Pfitzner at Monash University, seeks to keep children and young people in view while focusing on what is required for family reunification following children’s removal to out-of-home care. It responds to evidence that the child protection system in Victoria is failing vulnerable families. Recognising that a majority of child protection clients are victims and survivors of DFV, are experiencing severe social and economic disadvantage, and struggle to obtain supports required to address protective concerns and ensure their own safety, the project’s aims are twofold:

  1. Generate new insights into the barriers and enablers to reunification of mothers and children removed from parental care due to protective concerns.
  2. Build understanding of current policy and practice issues related to permanency and reunification in the Victorian child protection system.

Using qualitative methods including interviews with affected parents and focus groups with community legal centre lawyers, the project provides these stakeholders with an opportunity to share their reflections on seeking family reunification within the child protection system in Victoria. Through documenting barriers and enablers to mothers’ compliance with court-ordered conditions, it will ultimately contribute to an evidence base for policy change.

You can easily search the RAR for all projects relating to children and young people using the filter tool on the RAR webpage. If you have research on this topic underway – or, more broadly, research related to violence against women and their children that has an Australian target population and employs a robust, rigorous and ethical research design – please submit it to the RAR, and we might share it in an upcoming newsletter.

THE ANROWS “WHAT WORKS” PROJECT

How effective are interventions for perpetrators of domestic and family violence?

As part of its “What Works to reduce and respond to violence against women” project, ANROWS recently published the second in its series of overviews of reviews. “The effectiveness of interventions for perpetrators of domestic and family violence: An overview of findings from reviews” assesses the evidence provided by systematic reviews of two key types of interventions for perpetrators: behaviour change interventions and legal and policing interventions.

After synthesising findings from an extensive body of research literature, the overview found that interventions incorporating substance use treatment and motivational enhancement or readiness for change approaches showed promising results – particularly in terms of reducing domestic and family violence, intimate partner violence and general recidivism – but further research is required, as the evidence is still emerging.

The overview raises a significant point: programs and evaluations that provide simple answers to complex questions should be interpreted with caution. It calls for further evaluation research, particularly in terms of developing an understanding of why interventions work and for whom, and under what conditions they are effective.

Finally, it argues for the need for centrality of victims’ and survivors’ feelings of safety to the measurement of perpetrator change in all intervention designs, and for support services to ensure that victims’ and survivors’ safety is integrated with perpetrator intervention.

You can download the first overview of reviews, focusing on education initiatives (including respectful relationships and bystander programs), through the ANROWS website. A third overview, focusing on crisis and post-crisis responses to sexual violence, is scheduled to be released in March.


“THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME”

Future Women’s new podcast to focus on victims’ and survivors’ stories

Future Women has partnered with CommBank’s Next Chapter program to launch a new podcast, “There’s No Place Like Home”. Almost 60 experts from the domestic and family violence sector were consulted during development, and the resulting podcast – which also draws on ANROWS research – is centred around the stories of victims and survivors.

The podcast is being launched over breakfast on Thursday 24 February at a virtual streaming event, which will feature a panel including Future Women’s Jamila Rizvi, anti-violence advocate Tarang Chawla, family violence survivor and author Amani Haydar, violence prevention specialist Moo Baulch and CommBank Next Chapter’s Sian Lewis.

The event will take place at 8:00am on Thursday 24 February, and can be accessed through Future Women’s website.

DID YOU KNOW?

National burden of disease for intimate partner violence


Informed by our national burden of disease study examining the impact of violence against women, ANROWS has created a downloadable infographic summarising key statistics, risk factors and the total disease burden of intimate partner violence within Australia.

New research and resources

This month we’ve added 18 new research reports and articles to the ANROWS Library. A number of researchers who have previously collaborated with ANROWS have published new research, covering diverse topics including service responses to women experiencing DFV during the pandemic, healthcare practitioners’ barriers to responding to intimate partner abuse, and interagency collaboration. In addition, new research has been published on the topic of filial violence perpetrated by adult-aged children, with the research data suggesting the issue currently lacks research.

 

Book chapters

Flynn, A., Clough, J., & Cooke, T. (2021). Disrupting and preventing deepfake abuse: Exploring criminal law responses to AI-facilitated abuse. In A. Powell, A. Flynn, & L. Sugiura (Eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Gendered Violence and Technology (pp. 583–603). Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-83734-1_29

 

Journal articles

Bastian, C., & Wendt, S. (2022). Collaboration between child protection and domestic and family violence: A case file review. Australian Social Work, 1–17. https://doi.org/10.1080/0312407X.2021.2000627  

Cloonan-Thomas, S., Daff, E. S., & McEwan, T. E. (2022). Post-relationship stalking and intimate partner abuse in a sample of Australian adolescents. Legal and Criminological Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1111/lcrp.12206  

Easteal, P., Bartels, L., Dodd, S., & White, J. (2021). A jurisdictional collision? Responses to family violence and family law in the ACT. Alternative Law Journal. https://doi.org/10.1177/1037969X211054217  

Hamilton, G., & Harris, L. (2021). Parent abuse by dependent adult children living in the family home: A gap in the service? Journal of Family Studies, 1–17. https://doi.org/10.1080/13229400.2021.2018349

Hudspeth, N., Cameron, J., Baloch, S., Tarzia, L., & Hegarty, K. (2022). Health practitioners’ perceptions of structural barriers to the identification of intimate partner abuse: A qualitative meta-synthesis. BMC Health Services Research, 22(1), 96. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-022-07491-8  

Humphreys, C., Heward-Belle, S., Tsantefski, M., Isobe, J., & Healey, L. (2021). Beyond co-occurrence: Addressing the intersections of domestic violence, mental health and substance misuse. Child & Family Social Work. https://doi.org/10.1111/cfs.12885  

Jahirul Islam, M., & Mazerolle, P. (2022). Nexus between police attitudes and responses to domestic and family violence in Australia: Does training matter? Policing and Society, 1–16. https://doi.org/10.1080/10439463.2022.2029436  

Lindeman, M. A., & Togni, S. J. (2022). Improving services for Aboriginal women experiencing sexual violence: Working at the knowledge interface. Australian Social Work, 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1080/0312407X.2021.2010780  

Pfitzner, N., Fitz-Gibbon, K., & Meyer, S. (2022). Responding to women experiencing domestic and family violence during the COVID-19 pandemic: Exploring experiences and impacts of remote service delivery in Australia. Child & Family Social Work, 27(1), 30–40. https://doi.org/10.1111/cfs.12870  

Phylicia, L., Joseph, L., & Maeve, L. (2022). Dousing threats and the criminal law in Queensland: Do we need a new offence? Alternative Law Journal, 46(4). https://doi.org/10.3316/informit.20220104059317  

Reeves, E. (2022). The potential introduction of police-issued family violence intervention orders in Victoria, Australia: Considering the unintended consequences. Current Issues in Criminal Justice, 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1080/10345329.2021.2021721  

Spangaro, J., Vajda, J., Klineberg, E., Lin, S., Griffiths, C., McNamara, L., Saberi, E., Field, E., & Miller, A. (2021). Emergency Department staff experiences of screening and response for intimate partner violence in a multi-site feasibility study: Acceptability, enablers and barriers. Australasian Emergency Care. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.auec.2021.12.004

Willoughby, B., Jiang, H., Anderson-Luxford, D., & Laslett, A.-M. (2021). Alcohol-related family violence in Australia: Secondary data analysis of the National Drug Strategy Household Survey. International Journal of Alcohol and Drug Research, 9(2), 69–74. https://doi.org/10.7895/ijadr.343

 

You can view this list of new research in the ANROWS Library along with over 10,000 records of sector-relevant resources and research.


​In the media

 

Read

Australian women thrust into economic insecurity in Covid’s “hidden epidemic”—The Guardian
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/feb/04/australian-women-thrust-into-economic-insecurity-in-covids-hidden-epidemic  

COVID-19: Economic insecurity and domestic abuse—Broad Agenda
https://www.broadagenda.com.au/2022/covid-19-economic-insecurity-and-domestic-abuse/  

Female mine workers report sexual assault, harassment to independent Rio Tinto review—ABC News
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-02-01/women-report-sexual-assault-harassment-to-rio-tinto-review/100795848  

Study of 10,000 women finds link between job losses in COVID-19 pandemic and domestic violence—ABC News
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-01-31/study-finds-link-between-pandemic-stresses-and-domestic-violence/100791976  

 

Listen

How do we stop coercive control and elder abuse?—ABC Radio National
https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/bigideas/how-do-we-stop-coercive-control-and-elder-abuse/13739988 

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