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Research

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.

KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER

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

About ANROWS

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.

KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER

Resources

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.


RESEARCH SUMMARY

Constructions of complex trauma and implications for women’s wellbeing and safety from violence: Key findings and future directions

This is an edited summary of key findings from ANROWS research “A deep wound under my heart”: Constructions of complex trauma and implications for women’s wellbeing and safety from violence.

Women with experiences of complex trauma are a significant but overlooked group of victims and survivors of gender-based violence in Australia. This project sought to develop a comprehensive picture of how complex trauma is constructed in public policy and practice, and how it is viewed by women with experiences of complex trauma.

IN BRIEF
Background
  • Complex trauma refers to multiple, repeated forms of interpersonal victimisation, and the resulting traumatic health problems and psychosocial challenges.
  • Women who have experienced complex trauma have interlinked health and safety needs, and are often in frequent contact with crisis services and police due to domestic violence and sexual assault.
  • The development of shared frameworks of practice for addressing complex trauma has been stalled by a lack of professional consensus and understanding.
Key findings
  • Complex trauma is neither consistently nor well defined in Australian public policy.
  • Professionals favour a psychological/biomedical understanding of complex trauma, while women with experiences of complex trauma emphasise bodily and relational aspects.
  • Addressing multiple needs of women with experiences of complex trauma is fraught within a fragmented, single-issue service system.
  • Gendered stereotypes about women’s health can impact optimal service provision across many sectors.
  • Provision of services to women with experiences of complex trauma can have workforce benefits as well as risks.
Key recommendations
  • Make a whole-of-government commitment to the implementation and coordination of trauma-informed practice across sectors.
  • Improve the identification and prioritisation of women with experiences of complex trauma within public policy and service frameworks.
  • Embed trauma-informed care within a holistic wellbeing framework that integrates mental, physical and psychosocial wellbeing.
  • Invest in preventing and reducing the intergenerational impact of childhood trauma.

 

 

Publication details

ANROWS Research to policy and practice papers are concise papers that summarise key findings of research on violence against women and their children, including research produced under ANROWS’s research program, and provide advice on the implications for policy and practice.


Suggested citation

Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety. (2020). Constructions of complex trauma and implications for women’s wellbeing and safety from violence: Key findings and future directions (Research to policy and practice, 12/2020). Sydney: ANROWS.

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