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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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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.


Building a framework to prevent and respond to young people with disability who use violence at home

Project length
18 months

Adolescent family violence (AFV), also known as adolescent violence in the home (AVITH), has emerged as a critical issue of concern in Australia.

While it is known to share features with other forms of gender-based violence, there is increasing evidence of its significant intersection with disability.

There are lifelong consequences of decisions made about young people with disability who use violence at home, yet the lack of a common understanding about what drives and contributes to AFV results in responses that can result in further harm for the young person with disability and their family. It is critical to establish an explicit, integrated and comprehensive framework to guide prevention and response.

Research aim/s

Drawing on multidisciplinary bodies of knowledge, including direct input from young people with disability and their families, the aim of this project is to develop a conceptual framework that examines and explains the intersection of AFV, gender and disability.


The project uses a multi-method design to build a new conceptual framework on how and why the problem of AFV arises for young people with disability that can be used to guide intervention development, research, policy and practice. Data collection will proceed over three stages:

  1. a scoping review to synthesise the literature with a focus on theoretical explanations and causal determinants of AFV
  2. qualitative inquiry with young people with disability and their families
  3. a Delphi study to generate evidence-based principles in prevention and response, based on the conceptual framework developed in stages 1 and 2.


AFV does not fit within prevailing models of domestic and family violence, nor within other theoretical frameworks that seek to explain how and why violence occurs. The project directly responds to gaps in the evidence base about the drivers of, and situational factors that contribute to, AFV but is deliberately focused on the disability and gender nexus. The conceptual framework will enable Australian jurisdictions to develop more effective and targeted policy and practice responses to AFV by young people with disability.



Toward a socio-ecological understanding of adolescent violence in the home by young people with disability: A conceptual review



Project lead

Dr Georgina Sutherland, Senior Research Fellow, Disability and Health Unit, The University of Melbourne

Research team

Professor Anne Kavanagh, Chair of Disability and Health; Head of the Disability and Health Unit and Academic Director of the Melbourne Disability Institute, The University of Melbourne

Professor Gwynnyth Llewellyn, Head, WHO Collaborating Centre for Strengthening Rehabilitation Capacity in Health Systems, and Stream Leader, Disability and Inequity, Centre for Disability Research and Policy, The University of Sydney

Dr Tania King, ARC DECRA Senior Research Fellow, Disability and Health, The University of Melbourne

Associate Professor Cathy Vaughan, Gender and Women’s Health Unit, The University of Melbourne



This project is funded by Australian Commonwealth, state and territory governments under ANROWS’s 2020–2022 Core Grant round.

See also


Core research

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Health, justice and systems-wide responses

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