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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.


Understanding the rape acknowledgement process: A follow-up study


This study aims to understand the processes involved in rape acknowledgement. Meta-analysis finds that almost two thirds of rape survivors do not use the term "rape" to refer to personal experiences that may objectively match some definition of rape (usually a legal definition). This non-acknowledgement is associated with reduced rates of reporting to police and seeking support (compared with acknowledged rape survivors). While decades of insightful research have been conducted on rape acknowledgment, there is a lack of longitudinal inquiry aimed at understanding how the process of labelling sexual violence unfolds over time.


This project aims to further illuminate how the process of rape acknowledgement unfolds over time. This study uses two waves of data collection with the same sample of participants, designed to identify commonalities in the process of labelling sexual violence and the meaning survivors ascribe to the label/s they use.


This study uses two phases of data collection, spaced six months apart, to capture how the acknowledgement process might unfold over time among the same sample of participants.
Quantitative data are collected using an online survey (approx. n=250) measuring experiences of sexual violence, acknowledgement status, and related factors such as support-seeking behaviours.
Qualitative data are collected using semi-structed in-depth interviews (approx. n=10) with women in Queensland who reported an experience categorised as rape on the survey. Interviews covered contextual factors around the assault and the survivor’s journey of acknowledgement.


Around 60 per cent of rape survivors are not acknowledged; that is, they do not refer to their experience as "rape". Non-acknowledgement is associated with lower rates of accessing support services and reporting to authorities. This is problematic as all rape survivors – regardless of acknowledgement status – are at increased risk of physical and mental illness compared with the general population. As such, understanding the process of rape acknowledgement may be crucial for designing policy to improve education, support provision and access, and justice pathways for rape survivors.

Project start date

February 2020

Expected completion date

August 2023
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