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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.

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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.


EXTERNALLY FUNDED RESEARCH PROJECTS

Prevalence, risk, behavioural and demographic characteristics associated with non-fatal strangulation in family violence in Western Australia

Background

Previous research on non-fatal strangulation (NFS) has suggested specific risk and behavioural factors that increase the likelihood that a woman will be the victim of NFS from an intimate partner. These include the perpetrator having access to firearms or weapons; the perpetrator threatening to kill or harm the victim; the perpetrator physically abusing the victim; the perpetrator sexually assaulting the victim; the perpetrator threatening to attempt or attempting suicide; the victim being pregnant when the abuse occurred; the perpetrator being under the influence of alcohol and other drugs or having a history of substance use issues; and the victim having previously been a victim of NFS. These factors will be examined within a large Australian dataset, along with static factors that include criminal histories of both the victim and perpetrator.

Aim

This study aims to determine 1) the prevalence of NFS as an abuse type for victims of family violence in police family violence incident reports in Western Australia; and 2) how identified perpetrator and victim risk factors, behaviours and demographic features interact and predict intimate partner NFS.

Methods

This study will use de-identified retrospective archival data provided by the Western Australia Police Force (WAPOL). This data was recorded in family violence incident reports (FVIRs) by WAPOL or specialist family violence officers who attended the scenes of family violence incidents and spoke with the parties involved. The data take the form of 1) structured quantitative measures that inform a risk assessment to guide what further supports for both victims and suspects are required; and 2) free-text narratives where attending officers report any other pertinent information and provide an overview of the situation.

Significance

In the United States, NFS has been linked to an escalation in violence from perpetrators, particularly those with violent histories. In Australia, however, studies of homicides where asphyxiation and strangulation were the cause of death showed perpetrators’ criminal and violent histories varied significantly. The present study will examine the associations between violent and criminal histories and NFS. Any subtypes of NFS offenders identified will be examined and the implications for identification and management discussed.

Project start date

February 2021

Expected completion date

February 2023
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