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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.


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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.


Violence against women and mental health

This paper provides a synthesis of ANROWS’s research on violence against women and mental health, examining the way that mental health intersects with trauma, complex trauma, disability, coercive control, access to justice and parenting.

To effectively meet the needs of women at the intersection of gender-based violence and mental health impacts, improved collaboration and coordination is required across mental health, sexual violence, domestic and family violence, justice and child protection sectors.

This synthesis is designed for policymakers and practitioners engaging with women affected by violence, including domestic violence and sexual violence, who are also experiencing mental health impacts; and/ or who are developing policy and practice frameworks responsive to violence against women and mental health.

Key issues

  • For women experiencing violence, mental health problems can overlap with trauma, complex trauma and disability, making simple diagnoses and treatment difficult.
  • Mental ill health can be a compounding factor, a barrier, an outcome and a tool used by perpetrators of violence against women.
  • Access to justice can be impacted at the intersection of mental health and violence against women, because the criminal justice system is not designed to accommodate trauma.
  • Women with mental health concerns who have been subjected to gender-based violence can be harmed by institutions tasked with helping them.
  • The co-occurrence of violence against women and mental health concerns can have parenting impacts, damaging the mother–child relationship and impacting the child’s mental health.
  • The complexity of the intersection of violence against women and mental health often requires collaboration between mental health, sexual violence, domestic and family violence and other sectors to provide effective care.



Suggested citation

Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety. (2020). Violence against women and mental health (ANROWS Insights, 04/2020). Sydney: ANROWS.

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