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Our research

Violence against women and 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.


What is a rural health service’s role in supporting community members impacted by family violence?


The Strengthening Hospital Responses to Family Violence (SHRFV) initiative has been operating in the Barwon region of Victoria since early 2018. The initiative aims to build the capacity of Victorian hospitals and health services to identify and respond to family violence. The Barwon region (for the SHRFV initiative) comprises the following public health services:
• Barwon Health
• Colac Area Health
• Hesse Rural Health
• Great Ocean Road Health
Capacity-building work within these health services includes policy and procedure development, education (online and face to face), information and resource development, relationship building with specialist family violence services and internal support mechanisms for staff and volunteers.

The Barwon SHRFV provides anecdotal evidence that there are differences in the lived experience of family violence for those living in metropolitan and urban areas compared to regional and remote areas. While there is a substantial body of research focused on metropolitan areas around the lived experience of family violence, research focused on smaller regional townships is limited. With this in mind the researchers wanted to focus on a specific Victorian regional community to identify how the issue of family violence is understood, and help-seeking behaviours and knowledge of supports available. Central to this was a desire to identify what the community expectations were (if any) of the local health service around providing support for family violence.

The catchment area for this study covers two Victorian postcodes (3249 and 3250), with Colac being the largest town within this area. Colac is located in the Western District of Victoria and is serviced by Colac Area Health.


The purpose of this study is to build a picture of a smaller regional community’s attitudes and expectations around accessing information and support for family violence on a general level as well as the role of the local health service in providing family violence support.


The research team (composed of a family violence practitioner and senior researcher/psychologist) designed an online survey tool fit for purpose. The survey is currently being conducted and is due to be completed in March 2021. The survey has been disseminated to a range of stakeholder groups within the Colac region for on-sending to their members, service users or supporters. This may be through their newsletters, websites or social media. After March, online survey results will be collated and key findings presented in a research paper.


Expected outcomes include better understanding of what is important for a health service to consider when identifying and responding to family violence as well as better understanding of community members' experiences and expectations of a health service in relation to identifying and responding to family violence. Colac Area Health will be able to tailor its health service responses and approaches to better meet needs and expectations of community members who experience family violence.

Funding Body

Strengthening Hospital Responses to Family Violence Initiative (Barwon region)

Project start date

October 2020

Expected completion date

June 2021
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