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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.


How government and public policy messaging can be targeted to encourage disclosures and incident reporting from survivors of sexual assault


Sexual assault as a crime has significant implications for the survivor, their family and the greater community. Although there are common trauma reactions in response to an assault, survivors are unique in how they respond to the violence and the next steps they take. Many survivors face significant barriers to reporting sexual assault. These barriers include the fear of not being believed, self-blame, and lack of access to services. This project will contribute to transforming our community by identifying some of the barriers that make survivors reluctant to report sexual assault and addressing these through public messaging systems. Through these steps, survivors may be encouraged to come forward and speak more openly about their trauma experiences.


Our project aims to 1) identify the challenges faced by survivors of sexual assault with regard to reporting of incidents; and 2) use this information to suggest effective messaging strategies targeted at survivors to reduce barriers to disclosures.


Primary data will also be collected through interviews with sexual assault survivors recruited through the existing current client base at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Sexual Assault Counselling Service. Primary data will also be collected through interviews with sexual assault clinicians from the Sydney Local Health District as well as other districts within NSW Health.


The lived experiences of survivors and how they have navigated the decision to disclose or not disclose allow the researchers to better understand challenges from a survivor’s perspective. Research that includes voices of survivors also transforms their identity from a victim to a survivor by giving them agency and using their voice to enact change. Furthermore, a nuanced understanding of the barriers to disclosure is helpful for sexual assault clinicians as well as policymakers and researchers, to better provide support in responding to sexual assault survivors.

Funding Body

UTS Centre for Social Justice and Inclusion & UTS Business School

Funding Budget


Project start date

January 2022

Expected completion date

December 2022
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