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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.


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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.


Missing, murdered and incarcerated Indigenous women in Australia: A literature review

This document presents a review of the Australian literature (“the review”) on missing, murdered and incarcerated Indigenous women in Australia.

This review was written at the invitation of, and in partnership with, Associate Professor Hannah McGlade, Member of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. In 2024, Associate Professor Hannah McGlade will be submitting a series of communiques, named Seven Sisters, to the UN Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

The Seven Sisters communiques draw on seven cases of Indigenous women who have disappeared, been murdered or wrongfully incarcerated over the past 3 decades. The literature review is supplied alongside of, and in support of, this work.

Key messages emerging from the review include:

  • Research is lacking. Only seven sources of robust research met inclusion criteria for this review. While a comprehensive dataset on actual figures does not exist, information from various sources indicates missing, murdered and wrongfully incarcerated women number in the hundreds, if not thousands, across Australia.
  • The work of credible and authoritative Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander authors is often neglected and ignored. As a result, authors often have to also invest and engage in advocacy work to be heard.
  • Services are failing First Nations women. Service system responses across all sources were described as inadequate, unjust, non-compliant and perpetuating the racist stereotypes of Indigenous women as addicts and violent.

The literature review recommends:

  • urgent investment in dedicated resourcing and institutional support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led research on missing, murdered and incarcerated Indigenous women in Australia
  • the adoption of an intersectional approach and framework of human rights violations and genocide (similar to a Canadian model) to provide new insights and strengthen the evidence base.



Publication details

This work is produced in support of, and alongside, the Seven Sisters communiques to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.



Project Officer, ANROWS

Director, Research and Evaluation, ANROWS

Member of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues,
Associate Professor, Faculty of Business and Law, Curtin University

ISBN: 978-1-922645-88-3 (PDF)
35 pp.

Suggested citation

Bevan, C., Lloyd, J., & McGlade, H. (2024). Missing, murdered and incarcerated Indigenous women in Australia: A literature review. ANROWS.

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