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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.


Preventing gender-based violence in mental health inpatient units
Key findings and future directions

This is an edited summary of key findings from ANROWS research Preventing gender-based violence in mental health inpatient units.

The project investigates and documents experiences of gender-based violence occurring in adult mental health inpatient units, in order to inform how policy and practice can be improved to make these environments safe for women.

Key findings
  • Women in mental health inpatient units experience gender-based violence in many forms.
  • Women are not safe in mixed gender spaces, and even gender-specific areas are not always safe.
  • Trauma-informed care is not consistently embedded in service provision.
  • Institutional violence and coercion (including restraint and seclusion) can be experienced as gender-based violence.
Implications for practitioners and service providers
  • Ensure that care is trauma-informed.
  • Recognise that the practice of restraint can be experienced as gender-based violence.
  • Keep clinical responses to incidents of gender-based violence separate from investigative responses.
Implications for policy-makers
  • Women-only treatment settings are required.
  • Consent and information-sharing should be informed by an understanding of domestic and family violence.
  • Data collection and monitoring are required.



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). Preventing gender-based violence in mental health inpatient units (Research to Policy and Practice, 01/2020). Sydney, NSW: ANROWS.

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