Non-ANROWS Funded Research Projects

The projects listed on this page are current non-ANROWS funded projects. Combined with ANROWS’s Research Program, they provide a more comprehensive picture of recent research in Australia related to violence against women and their children.

These projects address key areas of concern outlined in the National Research Agenda to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children. The National Research Agenda is a strategic framework that supports the development of a cohesive and wide-ranging evidence base that is relevant to policy and practice and actively contributes to the outcomes of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010–2022 (National Plan).

Current non-ANROWS funded projects are listed below as they relate to one of the six National Plan outcomes. Please note that this information has been provided by the corresponding project’s main contact and any further information should be requested via the project's weblink, where available.

If you are interested in your current non-ANROWS funded research project being listed on this page, please complete and submit your information using this online form.

Click "+" to view project details.

Project Title & Contact Funding Body Project Description Project Start & End Dates Keywords
Exploring how economic abuse manifests in young adult relationships

Jozica Kurin

RMIT University
Australian Postgraduate Award (PhD Scholarship)
Economic abuse between intimate partners is about financial control, financial exploitation and sabotage of employment or study. It creates financial dependence which traps people in abusive relationships. It has a significant impact on financial, emotional and physical wellbeing. Economic abuse in young adult relationships is understudied and yet this knowledge is essential for developing prevention strategies. The aim of this research is to explore how economic abuse manifests in young adult relationships. A national survey (N = 17,050) was analysed to determine the prevalence of economic abuse. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 24 experts and narrative and semi-structured interviews were conducted with 24 young adults aged 18 to 29 (18 women and six men). Analysis of the population data revealed that 4.6% of young men and 9.7% of young women have experienced economic abuse. The most commonly occurring form of abuse for both genders was having their property damaged, destroyed or stolen by their partner. Expert interviews highlighted that young adults were more vulnerable to financial control and exploitation, and acquiring debts from the relationship. The majority of young adults interviewed experienced financial exploitation. Young women with children were more vulnerable to financial control. Men’s narratives of economic abuse were ambiguous. Most young adults sought assistance from family. Experts and young adults had excellent ideas for prevention strategies. These findings have significant implications for the prevention of economic abuse among young adults at all levels of society. Social marketing can have a significant role in the prevention of economic abuse.
March 2015 - December 2018 Economic abuse, Financial abuse, Young adults, Emerging adults, Prevention, Social marketing
GIVE RESPECT: Training to identify and prevent peer-to-peer and partner violence

Prof Jan Coles

Department of General Practice, Monash University
Inter-faculty transformation Grant, Monash University
There is increasing recognition within Australian universities of the harm caused to students who experience sexual violence, partner violence, and/or are targeted by discriminatory interactions. Openly violent acts through to minor micro-aggressions all have potential to harm student wellbeing, with some cohorts being particularly vulnerable (e.g., international, LGTBQI, Indigenous students). There are increasing calls within Australia for the fostering of respectful attitudes and behaviours within all forms of relationships. By nurturing the health and wellbeing of the Monash student community, GIVE RESPECT will nudge students towards building positive social norms and behaviours around respectful relationships.

The GIVE RESPECT goals are to increase student:
  1. awareness of the signs of peer/partner violence
  2. understanding that sexist, demeaning, and disrespectful attitudes and behaviours cause harm
  3. willingness to speak out against disrespectful language/behaviour
  4. competency in finding resources to help support friends/peers, and if violence has already occurred where to seek help
The GIVE RESPECT team understand that achieving these goals requires engaging with students and bringing them on board the learning process. As such, students will be central “co-creators” of the training materials. In achieving these goals, GIVE RESPECT will take a lead role in tackling the issue of family/partner/peer violence through fostering awareness, fostering positive behaviours, and developing pro-active skills.
January 2017 - September 2018 Respectful relationships, Partner violence, Behaviour, Bystander engagement, Resource
Women's experiences of the family violence intervention order process across rural, regional and metropolitan Victoria from three different perspectives

Vanessa Burke

James Cook University
James Cook University This Ph.D research is focusing upon women's experiences of the family violence intervention order process in Victoria. The research is seeking to explore the differences between women's experiences across rural, regional and metropolitan Victoria in order to explore what the differences between women's experiences are and what can be done to improve the process for women.

The research is gathering experiences using an online anonymous survey and via interviews. The surveys consist of one survey for women who have gone through the intervention order process that takes approximately 30 minutes to complete and a 15 minute survey for community services workers regarding their experiences of supporting women.

Additionally, we are seeking women and community services workers to take part in an interview via phone, Skype or face to face so that we can gather valuable in-depth information regarding women's experiences.
May 2018 - August 2018 Family violence, Intervention order, Women, Rural, Regional, Metropolitan
Intimate partner femicide in Australia: A victim-centred exploration

Prof Paul Mazerolle

Griffith University
Australian Institute of Criminology In Australia, most women who become homicide victims are killed by current or former intimate partners (such as their husband/de facto or boyfriend). This highlights the need for improved prevention efforts focussed on reducing this form of extreme violence against women. However, victim-focussed research about intimate partner femicide (IPF) is scarce, and - for sadly obvious reasons - IPF victims’ perspectives are not incorporated into existing research. This project seeks to explore the characteristics and life-course of IPF victims, across multiple domains including behavioural, psychological, and environmental/situational, as well as victims’ perceptions of risk and help-seeking. The goal of the study is to better understand how women at risk of experiencing lethal violence can be better supported, in order to reduce the occurrence of IPF in the future. May 2017 - April 2019 Homicide, femicide, intimate partner violence
The unintended consequences for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people arising from the introduction by the Queensland State Government of Alcohol Management Plans (AMPs) in 2002.

Simon Towle

James Cook University
James Cook University As Queensland Government data indicate that 70 per cent of all adults on Cape York Peninsula now have convictions under sections 168 b&c of the Liquor Act 1992, the aim of this project is to research the health, psychosocial and economic consequences of criminalisation in Indigenous communities affected by AMPs in Queensland, to maintain the benefits of AMPs, and work with communnities to identify viable community-based alternatives to criminalisation. April 2018 - April 2022 Aboriginal, Alcohol, Decriminalisation
Multi Systemic Therapy (MST): Western Australia Health Department’s inter-agencies collaboration in the delivery of an eco-systemic family intervention targeting young people with chronic complex serious mental disorders.

Dr Mark Porter

The University of Western Australia
W.A. Department of Health
Child and adolescent conduct disorders include behaviours like aggression, violence, rule-violation and anti-social behaviours. Untreated, these disorders predict substance use, various adult mental health problems, adult violence, under employment, inter-personal difficulties, criminality and incarceration. Although conduct disorders are common, families with these children are usually poor, marginalised and difficult to engage with clinic-based services; hence these high-cost disorders have low rates of effective service interventions. However effective engagement with this mental health population is important to help decrease the high levels of criminality, substance use and violence (including domestic violence) within Australian communities.

Multi-systemic Therapy (MST) is a licensed, home-based intervention typically used to help families with children (12-16 years) having severe behavioural disorders, or juvenile delinquency. This 4-5 month intensive intervention teaches parents monitoring, communication and problem-solving skills to manage their children’s behaviours, and improve communication between systems, (e.g. family, community and school systems). The program has a “family preservation model” that prioritises youth at imminent risk of out-of-home placement, and/or school expulsion. Clinicians visit each client family home about three times every week (often after normal work hours), and are available 24/7 to support the family by phone throughout the 4-5 month intervention.

This licensed intervention was implemented in the WA Mental Health service in 2005, and has since operated two small clinical teams within Perth's metropolitan area. The program was also established with a research component to determine the enduring effectiveness of this intervention in an Australian context. This longitudinal study indicates significant and enduring improvements in the mental health are obtained by all family members; and the young person typically becomes less aggressive, remains living at home, engaged in school and pro-social activities. These initial findings are robust evidence of the effectiveness of implementing evidence-based interventions for young persons at high risk of chronic unemployment, substance abuse, mental illness, violence and incarceration.
January 2006 - 2020 Conduct Disorder, Violence, Multisystemic Therapy
Using Law and Leaving Domestic Violence: Women's Stories

Prof Heather Douglas

The University of Queensland
Australian Research Council Future Fellowship FT140100796
One in three Australian women experience domestic violence. This research will increase our understanding of the role of law in assisting women of diverse backgrounds to live a life free of violence.

Domestic violence severely damages communities across the globe and law is recognised as a key mechanism for prevention and redress. This project will undertake a longitudinal study examining how women of diverse backgrounds use law to help them live a life free of violence. The project will investigate what influences women's decisions to choose particular legal interventions but not others, and will identify any unintended consequences flowing from legal engagement. The project will highlight what contributes to women’s satisfaction and sense of safety resulting from legal interventions over time, to make an important contribution to community education, policy implementation and law reform, both within Australia and internationally.
January 2015 - December 2018 Domestic Violence, Legal Responses
Risk Factors for Unplanned Pregnancy: Legal Policy Health Responses

Prof Heather Douglas

The University of Queensland
Busines, Economics and Law Faculty, University of Queensland
The aim of this study is to better understand the links between unplanned pregnancy and risk factors such as domestic violence and sexual assault so that legal, health and policy responses can be improved. Through the analysis of a data-set held by a Brisbane based not-for-profit organisation, Children by Choice, this project will explore the prevalence of a range of risk factors for women in Australia experiencing unplanned pregnancy. Specifically, risk factors of domestic violence, sexual assault, use of drugs/alcohol and mental health issues will be explored. The study will investigate whether there are differences between adolescent and adult mothers, whether Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women or women from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse backgrounds report different experiences to other women, as well as whether there have been any changes to trends (prevalence and risk factors) over the past nine years. Further, the study will explore the connection between the risk factors mentioned above and poverty and pregnancy terminations for a subset of women who received financial grants from Children by Choice to procure a termination in the past 2 years (2015-2017). The project will make recommendations for legal, policy and health system reform.
January 2018 - December 2018 Unplanned Pregnancy, Risk Factors, Responses, Coerced Reproduction
Safe and secure housing pathways for women and children without permanent residency status escaping family violence.

Meghan Hopper

safe steps Family Violence Response Centre
Lord Mayor's Charitable Foundation This project is underpinned by the recognition that women and children without Permanent Residency (PR) who are escaping family violence are far more likely to find themselves placed in non-specialist emergency accommodation (i.e. hotel/motel and other ad hoc forms of accommodation) with no income, support services or exit pathways, leading to a much greater risk of homelessness or feeling forced to return to unsafe accommodation. This project will establish an evidence base that clearly articulates the systemic problems and identifies potential solutions to break this endemic cycle and achieve safer long-term housing outcomes for this cohort of women and children. March 2018 - June 2018 Family Violence, Housing, Accommodation, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse
Fighting, alcohol and offending: interventions targeting Aboriginal girls (the YAWG project)

Dr Mandy Wilson

Curtin University
This three year qualitative project is a collaboration between the Wungening Aboriginal Corporation and researchers from the National Drug Research Institute at Curtin University (NDRI). It seeks to generate knowledge about Aboriginal girls’ experiences of and attitudes towards fighting, drinking and offending, and to identify intervention points and strategies for preventing the progress of behaviours that increase the potential for negative consequences among this group.

By interviewing Aboriginal girls between the ages of 10-18 years and empowering them to take a lead role in promoting health messages, the project will create a comprehensive picture of Aboriginal girls’ experiences. Findings will inform the development of a training package to improve service provider and community knowledge about issues facing the girls, and provide a framework to guide future health promotion initiatives targeting this group; the package will potentially be transferrable to other settings. It is intended that use of the training package will endure after the life of the project and result in continual improvements in the health status of Aboriginal girls.

Objectives of project:
Focusing on Aboriginal girls and young women (10-18 years) in the Perth metropolitan area, objectives include to:
  1. Collect data around girls’ experiences of and involvement in fighting, drinking and offending;
  2. Describe the contexts of fighting, consumption of alcohol and offending behaviours;
  3. Investigate girls’ motivations around and attitudes towards these behaviours;
  4. Document harms experienced as a result of involvement in fighting;
  5. Enhance the capacity of Aboriginal girls to take a lead role in developing and promoting health messages;
  6. Increase knowledge and capacity of health and other service providers to intervene early in potential negative pathways among Aboriginal girls; and,
  7. Evaluate the impact of the intervention developed as part of the project.
March 2015 - December 2018 Fighting, girls and young women, Aboriginal, alcohol, offender health, health promotion
Integrated housing support for vulnerable families: How best can housing and services support be provided and improved for families affected by domestic and family violence?

Assoc Prof kylie valentine

Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) The Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) is a national independent research network. Its mission is to deliver high quality research that influences policy development to improve the housing and urban environments of all Australians. This AHURI Inquiry will focus on the provision of integrated housing support for families, including those affected by domestic and family violence. It will provide significant new knowledge on the gendered nature of housing insecurity, housing pathways, and transition points at which culturally safe and holistic service responses are effective. 2017 - 2018 Housing, Indigenous
Investigating adolescent family violence project

Dr Kate Fitz-Gibbon

Monash University
Monash Affinity Grant
The Monash Gender and Family Violence Program is currently conducting a pilot project, funded by a Monash Affinity grant, to explore attitudes towards, patterns of, and the impact of Adolescent Family Violence (AFV). AFV describes violence perpetrated by young people against family members or carers. The project is being carried out by a multidisciplinary team of Monash University researchers. It builds on, and complements, work being conducted in the United Kingdom (UK)

Investigating adolescent violence towards parents). The findings will be of relevance to all Australian jurisdictions, and have the potential to inform and reform legal, health and social responses to AFV, and provide a greater understanding of ‘risk’. This research will also form the basis of a national project.

Research activities to date
Assoc Prof Rachel Condry, Oxford University, the lead researcher on adolescent violence research in the UK, visited and conducted a workshop with Monash researchers in February 2017.

A Context Report was published in December 2017:Investigating Adolescent Family Violence: Background, Research and Directions

Investigating Adolescent Family Violence: Background, Research and Directions.
Focus groups for those who support adolescents and families and an anonymous survey have been completed (our thanks to those who shared their experiences so generously), including: Focus groups and interviews with 52 service providers and experts (including community service organisations, health professionals, counsellors and specialist family violence services) 120 survey responses from people who had experienced AFV.

The final Research Report: Investigating Adolescent Family Violence in Victoria: Understanding experiences and practitioner perspectives, will be launched in 2018.

The project grant has also been the basis for the development *of* International Network Addressing Filial Violence, which will hold its first network event in Prato, Italy in September 2018.

For more information please refer to our website, or contact the project contacts:
Dr Kate Fitz-Gibbon
Prof Jane Maree Maher
or Dr Karla Elliott.
January 2017. Completed July 2018 Adolescent family violence
The experiences of Australian women fleeing domestic violence in foreign jurisdictions to Australia as respondents in Hague child abduction cases heard by the family court.

Assoc Prof Kieran Tranter.

Griffith University
Griffith University My PhD research project will investigate the experiences of Australian women, who have been living overseas for a period of time, and had children there, who claim to have had to flee back to Australia from domestic violence. Specifically, the research focuses on their experiences with the Australian legal system, as respondents (kidnappers of their own children) in Hague child abduction cases. Qualitative confidential information will be collected from willing participants via face-to-face interviews. August 2015 - August 2019 Hague Child Abduction Convention, Domestic Violence, Australian Family Court, Australian Legal System
Qualitative research on culturally and linguistically diverse women’s experiences of technology-facilitated abuse

Karen Kellard

Australian National University
Office of the eSafety Commissioner
Technology-facilitated abuse (TFA) includes abusive behaviours through mobile phones and other devices, social media and online accounts (like email and banking). There are four main areas of TFA:
  • Harassment – for example, sending menacing images such as a coffin; bombarding with calls, emails and texts.
  • Monitoring/stalking – for example, hacking into a person’s email or bank accounts, or covert GPS tracking.
  • Impersonation – for example, creating a false account resulting in the woman being harassed or stalked by others or to send abusive messages to her family and friends.
  • Threats/punishment – for example, posting embarrassing comments or intimate images.

  • TFA is often a form of domestic violence. Almost all (98%) of domestic violence sector practitioners in Australia surveyed in a recent study stated they had clients who had experienced technology-facilitated stalking and abuse1. According to this study, the group most commonly identified as facing particular risks in relation to TFA was women from non-English speaking countries. Practitioners have noted that there are specific risks for women from CALD backgrounds, with people sometimes using technology to further isolate women from family and friends.

    This commissioned qualitative research seeks to better understand CALD women’s experiences of TFA.

    The qualitative research has the following objectives:
  • To hear the stories of CALD women who have experienced TFA
  • To gain insight into specific situations and issues CALD women face in relation to TFA
  • To understand the impact of TFA on CALD women
  • To understand preferred pathways to seek assistance/take action and trusted sources of help/support
  • To understand cultural sensitivities that need to be considered in relation to the type of support and information provided

  • Reference
    Women’s Legal Service NSW, Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria and WESNET (2015), ReCharge: women’s technology safety – National study findings
    March 2018 - June 2018 Technology Facilitated Abuse, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse, Women, eSafety
    Engaging Men and Boys in Violence Prevention: Effective directions for practice

    Assoc Prof Michael Flood

    Queensland University of Technology
    Australia Research Council In the past decade, there has been an increasing emphasis on the need to engage men and boys in preventing and reducing men’s violence against women, both nationally and internationally. However, little is known about what works and does not work. Using robust evaluations of key strategies and interventions, this project will produce a systematic framework for effective practice in engaging men and boys in preventing violence against women. The project will produce both significant scholarly insights regarding gender and violence prevention and practical directions for policy and programming. January 2015 - February 2019 Primary prevention, Men, Masculinities
    Faith-based communities’ responses to family and domestic violence

    Dr Mandy Truong

    The Australian National University
    Department of Social Services The aim of this project is to consult with different faith-based communities in Australia to gain a better understanding of their capacity for prevention, early intervention and response to family and domestic violence. This will inform the development of community-driven initiatives to build the capacity of community and faith leaders to address FDV. The project will conduct and report on interviews/focus groups with i) staff/managers of key service providers/agencies working in this area; ii) faith leaders; and iii) community members from a range of different faiths/religions. April 2018 - December 2018 Faith, Religion, Family violence, Family safety

    Project Title & Contact Funding Body Project Description Project Start & End Dates Keywords
    Study on Being a Young Man in Australia Today - The Man Box

    Michael Livingstone

    Jesuit Social Services
    Privately funded
    The Men’s Project will undertake a study on the attitudes and behaviours of young Australian men aged 18 to 30. The study will allow us to better understand young men’s attitudes and behaviours towards a range of topics including gender norms, employment, physical appearance, physical and mental health, relationships, caring for children and housework, sexuality and violence.  This research is modelled on the methodology developed by Promundo in The Man Box: A Study on Being a Young Man in the US, UK, and Mexico, which was published early in 2017. Promundo is a global leader in promoting gender justice and preventing violence by engaging men and boys in partnership with women and girls. Promundo developed a tool called the Man Box, referring to “a set of beliefs, communicated by parents, families, the media, peers, and other members of society, that place pressure on men to be a certain way.” The study defines a set of rules including “to be self-sufficient, to act tough, to be physically attractive, to stick to rigid gender roles, to be heterosexual, to have sexual prowess, and to use aggression to resolve conflicts”, the adherence to which defines whether a man is inside or outside the Man Box.
    January 2018 - December 2018

    Project Title & Contact Funding Body Project Description Project Start & End Dates Keywords
    Exploring culturally suitable “Safe at Home” security options or solutions that would expressly benefit Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women experiencing domestic and family violence, specifically those living in remote areas of the state.

    Sharon Barnes

    Australian National University UNSW, Ipsos and Winangali
    Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women
    The Queensland Government commissioned Winangali Ipsos to explore culturally suitable “Safe at Home” solutions for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their children experiencing domestic and family violence (DFV), specifically those living in remote areas of Queensland.

    The research was conducted with three Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, Doomadgee, Coen and Pormpuraaw, in Far North and North Queensland and focused on the strengths of the community, perceptions of the size of the issue, how DFV is currently being managed and explored what strategies or solutions could be implemented to reduce DFV in these communities.

    The community-led research process revealed that ‘safe at home’ translates as a ‘safe community’. And being ‘safe’ included a more holistic appreciation for what seems to be fuelling family or domestic violence in these communities, what strengths, strategies and supports are available to community members at risk, what might be missing and ideally what type of interventions and strategies could assist to make communities safer.

    The “Safe at Home” research validated that the nature of DFV in remote communities is complex, and interconnected to a range of catalysts, with underlying causes being deeply rooted in disconnection from culture, trauma and the historical legacies of colonisation.

    Community participants surveyed in all locations identified a “safe community” as one that draws on the strengths of the community, including a children-centric focus for growing stronger leaders, growing strong families through fun, relaxation and cultural activities with everyone working together and where the parents are providing well for the children and they are safe and happy.

    The research project illustrated that Indigenous Australians want government to understand what it is like to live in their communities and want services that are culturally and locally appropriate, community-led and owned, strength-based, flexible and respectful of cultural gender issues with Indigenous Australians being best placed to identify the challenges they face and the solutions.

    The Queensland Government is seeking to build on the developing trust and engagement with these communities, to work together to test one or more community generated safety strategies to reduce DFV and deliver outcomes that are valued by the community.
    July 2017 - June 2019

    Project Title & Contact Funding Body Project Description Project Start & End Dates Keywords
    Access to universal child health services for new mothers experiencing intimate partner violence (Safer Home visiting)

    Jeannette Walsh

    NSW Ministry of Health under the NSW Health PhD Scholarship Program; Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship; Support received from South Eastern Sydney Local Health District (SESLHD)
    Domestic violence is Assocd with poor health outcomes for women, and second-generation consequences for children and young people. It can remain a hidden cost to the health system given that women who are abused make extensive use of health care, but their experience of domestic violence is not always identified. Screening for domestic violence is a public health intervention introduced in NSW Health to identify domestic violence early, promote awareness, ensure safety for women and children and provide appropriate referrals connecting women with services. It was implemented for key services including maternity, child and family health, drug and alcohol and mental health services.

    This research aims to:
      1. Identify if women who have disclosed domestic violence whilst pregnant are receiving universal child health services when they go home with their baby.
      2. Identify any barriers to them receiving these services.
      3. Develop a best practice model facilitating access to child health services for new mothers experiencing domestic violence.

    The research initially examines how child and family health services are provided for two groups of women – those who disclosed domestic violence during pregnancy and those who did not – to see if there is equity in service provision between these groups. The research will then use an online survey and interviews with child and family health nurses to examine what facilitates and what are barriers for nurses in providing services to mothers experiencing domestic violence. The results of this research will be used to inform policy and practice.
    2015 - 2019 Universal Health Home Visiting, Child and Family health, Domestic Violence Routine Screening
    STACY - Safe and Together Addressing ComplexitY

    Prof Cathy Humphreys

    University of Melbourne
    Department of Social Services An action research project that draws upon the DFV-informed Safe and Together approach to child welfare and will build worker and organisational capacity in working with families at the intersection of DFV, AoD and mental health. The project will be conducted in NSW, Queensland and Victoria March 2018 - December 2019
    Evaluation of ‘Children and Mothers In Mind’- retrieving the mother-child relationship after DFV

    Dr Margaret Kertesz

    University of Melbourne
    OPEN Learning Systems grant Evaluation of a trauma-informed, relationship-focussed, mother-child group intervention program being implemented by the Children's Protection Society, designed to meet the parenting needs of mothers who have experienced DFV and are parenting pre-school children. The 22 week program includes a 8 session group work program (Connections) where mothers address issues of past trauma, a 10 week play-based mother and child group intervention, and a casework component. The program aims to strengthen parent-child relationships, enhance parenting skills and improve parenting self-efficacy. March 2018 - February 2019
    Breaking through using photovoice: Supporting strong families, safe children in the context of family violence

    Dr Christina Sadowski

    Federation University
    Federation University, CHCYAP, CHIFVC, Berry Street
    This research was developed to investigate how services in the Central Highlands of Victoria can meet the needs of women and children who have experienced family violence. This project is funded by the Central Highlands Integrated Family Violence Committee (CHIFVC) and Berry Street as part of the Federation University and Central Highlands Children and Youth Area Partnership (CHCYAP) research collaboration.

    The research aligns with National outcome 4 of the National Plan to reduce violence against women and their children, 2010- 2022 to ensure services meet the needs of women and their children experiencing violence. The project is informed by two key Victorian government policy documents (1) Roadmap for Reform: strong families, safe children and (2) Ending Family Violence: Victoria’s Plan for Change, both based on recommendations of the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence.

    This project uses photovoice, a form of qualitative research, to explore what strong families, safe children means to women who have experienced family violence and what women think the service system can do to support their vision of strong families, safe children. Drawing on language from the Victorian state government family violence and family services reform agenda, this research aims to contribute women’s experience-based knowledge to service changes and improvements in the Central Highlands region. It addresses identified research gaps and provides a platform for service user input into family violence system reform in the Central Highlands.
    February 2017 - February 2020
    Exploring Aboriginal women from the Northern Territory's views and perspectives of family violence support services available following a family violence incident.

    Assoc Prof Robyn Aitken

    Menzies School of Health Research
    Menzies School of Health Research
    Over 70,000 Australian women sought homelessness services in 2016-2017 due to family violence. Aboriginal women are at greater risk than non-Aboriginal women. This qualitative research explored the major public health issue of family violence from the perspective of Aboriginal women in medium-term crisis accommodation in the Northern Territory who are likely to have needed to use one or more support services following a family violence incident. From a public health perspective, the aim was to inform service providers so that improvements can be made by using stories from women to build up a picture of the support services they perceive as available to them, the perceived relevance and usefulness of these services, their reported utilisation of these services, any barriers to accessing these services, and their perceived gaps in support services. Face to face interviews were conducted with six Aboriginal women with the assistance of an Aboriginal co-researcher. Women’s support experiences was mapped and illustrated recurring needs amongst the participating women including: a need to ensure personal safety; the need for assistance with planning for their immediate future; support relating to engagement with children and/or the welfare of their children; and the need for support workers to assist meeting these needs. The women also identified and sought support to manage alcohol and other drug misuse. These key experiences formed the foundation for the thematic analysis, which described the nature of these needs and confirmed that needs were being met. Women identified that the accommodation available gave them access to somewhere safe that was free from violence. They particularly identified the value of skilled support workers who were able *to* identify their needs, assist with navigating the services available in the sector, and coordinating the support women needed to plan for securing public or private housing.

    These findings may be important for a small jurisdiction like the Northern Territory with a significant community need but high turnover of staff and limited services and resources. Having a designated coordinator as an approach to support women following a violent incident could be considered as a model for efficient use of resources and to see women better supported than other models that involve multiple support workers. The research also identified the value of working with Aboriginal women to inform service planning and design.
    October 2017 - May 2018 Aboriginal Women, Family Violence, Support Services.
    Improving the responses to children who experience family violence: when policy reform meets practice.

    Helen Forster and Lanie Stockman

    Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand – Women’s Research, Advocacy and Policy (WRAP) Centre
    Department of Health & Human Services (Vic)
    With momentous reforms underway to address family violence in Victoria and across Australia, there is an increased acknowledgement that children – once considered the “silent victims” of family violence – are impacted in their own right. Targeted responses that consider and address particular risks to children’s safety are therefore essential. This understanding is reflected in both the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Family Violence (Victoria) and the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2020.

    This study aims to form an evidence base with which to help inform these developments, through providing insights from the practitioners who work with women, families and children impacted by family violence.

    This study examined the ways in which family violence practitioners can and do respond to children during a time of policy reform. This study considered the information family violence practitioners receive on police referrals identifying nearly 2,000 children. Several information gaps were identified, along with inconsistent treatment of children identified on referrals.

    The views of 11 practitioners of three specialist family violence services in Victoria were sought. It was clear that the practitioners who participated in this project are overwhelmingly committed to providing holistic responses to children. However, they identified a number of barriers, including: the large volume of police referrals received daily, limiting practitioner capacity to respond more comprehensively; information sharing problems between and across agencies; a perceived lack of child-specific risk assessment tools; and variable levels of collaboration between the agencies responsible for children’s welfare. The report highlights how important it is that the voices of the practitioners “on the ground” continue to be heard as part of the broader sectoral reforms being undertaken. It reflects how the successful realisation of the reforms will depend on how the knowledge, capacities and resources of the practitioners are used and enhanced.
    December 2015 - March 2018 Family violence, Support and Safety Hubs, Children

    Project Title & Contact Funding Body Project Description Project Start & End Dates Keywords
    National domestic and family violence bench book.

    Prof Heather Douglas

    The University of Queensland
    Attorney-General’s Department, (Commonwealth) and Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration The purpose of this bench book is to provide a central resource for judicial officers considering legal issues relevant to domestic and family violence related cases that will contribute to harmonising the treatment of these cases across jurisdictions along broad principles and may assist them with decision-making and judgment writing. June 2015 - July 2018 Legal Responses
    The ADF response to armed conflict based sexual violence

    Dr Tamsin Phillipa Paige

    Australian Centre for the Study of Armed Conflict and Society This project seeks to understand how the Australian Defence Force prepares its personnel to address armed conflict based sexual violence in peacekeeping operations. By examining documents obtained through Freedom of Information requests this project will analyse how the UN Women, Peace, and Security responses to armed conflict sexual violence (and by extension the National Plan of Action policies) are being implemented at a practical level. This will provide insight into what actions are being taken to end impunity for perpetrators of this international crime. November 2017 - December 2018
    Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women perpetrators of violence: a trial of a prison-based intervention (Beyond Violence)

    Prof Tony Butler

    National Health and Medical Research Council
    The project is being conducted in WA and NSW, and is a collaboration between Australian and North American researchers. In Australia, as elsewhere, most violence is perpetrated by men, and addressing and eliminating male violence – especially that relating to women and children – is a national priority (COAG, 2012; DSS, 2014).

    Historically, women’s use of violence has attracted a much lower profile than male violence and our understanding of the contextual factors behind it is limited (Bartels, 2010). As a consequence, women’s violence has been relatively neglected in research, national surveys and policy initiatives, impeding evidence-based responses to this issue (Swan et al., 2008). Despite violent acts constituting a growing proportion of offence charges among women there are no focused violent offender programs available in Australian prisons designed to target women’s use of violence - as exist for men - which impacts on their ability to secure parole and return to their families/children.

    This research trials a tertiary prevention program for incarcerated women, Beyond Violence, which deals with the violence and trauma these women have experienced, as well as the violence they have committed. The program is gender-specific and ‘privileges’ women’s experiences of victimisation, their social roles as women in their communities, substance use and/or mental health issues.

    Aims of the research include:
    Primary aim: Evaluate the effectiveness of a targeted substance, mental health and violence intervention (Beyond Violence) in reducing recidivism among Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women with a current and/or historical convictions for a violent offence.
    Secondary aim: Examine the effectiveness of a targeted substance use, mental health and violence intervention (Beyond Violence) on 6, 12 and 24 month measures of (a) depression; (b) symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); (c) anger; and (d) substance use in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women with current and/or historic convictions for a violent offence.
    January 2016 - December 2020 Family Violence, Women’s use of Violence, Prisoner, Offender Health, Australia

    Project Title & Contact Funding Body Project Description Project Start & End Dates Keywords
    Start of Change: mapping engagement with male perpetrators of violence.

    Helen Forster and Jacki Holland.

    Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand - Women’s Research, Advocacy and Policy (WRAP) Centre
    Connections Uniting Care and WAYSS as the auspicing organisations of their Regional Integration Coordinators and Integrated Family Violence Partnerships, in collaboration with Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand.
    Holding perpetrators accountable for their behaviour is one of the priorities of the Third Action Plan (2016-2019) of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022. Similarly, the Victorian Family Violence Rolling Action Plan 2017-2020 prioritises perpetrator accountability.

    Currently a small suite of strategically directed interventions operate across Victoria to hold perpetrators of family violence to account. Principal amongst these interventions are Men’s Behaviour Change Programs (MBCPs). However as identified by the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence, the success or otherwise of these programs is difficult to assess.

    In the main, research into MBCPs gives limited attention to intake and assessment processes, or the engagement techniques practitioners find most effective in facilitating men’s entry into and completion of programs. This research will investigate the practices and tools used at a service level to engage men, to respond to often different and complex needs, and to foster the motivation in men to see a program through to its conclusion. The project maps and reviews current intake and assessment processes across four service providers of MBCPs in Victoria. Data was collected via consultation with practitioners and semi-structured interviews with key personnel within each of the MBCPs.

    The research findings will be shared amongst the service providers in the region and the broader Family Violence sector, and will contribute unique evidence to inform enhancement of MBCPs at the point of intake and assessment – the start of change.
    December 2016 - June 2018 Gendered violence; Family violence; Men’s Behaviour Change Programs
    "Revenge pornography": The implications for law reform

    Assoc. Prof Nicola Henry

    RMIT University
    Australian Research Council This project aims to be the first international, empirical and comparative study on image-based sexual abuse (also known as "revenge pornography"). It will investigate prevalence, nature and impacts in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, and examine different responses to these behaviours. Image-based Sexual Abuse is a serious criminal justice problem, yet to date few Australian jurisdictions have introduced legislation to address the issue. Applicable laws here and elsewhere are inconsistent and inadequate. Little is known about how widespread these behaviours are or the extent of resulting social, economic and psychological harms. The study aims to generate new knowledge, a theoretical framework and a much-needed evidence base to develop law reform and strategic interventions. July 2017 - July 2020 Image Based Sexual Abuse, Image Based Abuse, Non-Consensual Pornography, Revenge Pornography

    Project Title & Contact Funding Body Project Description Project Start & End Dates Keywords
    Rethinking the Victim: Gendered Violence in Australian Women's Writing

    Prof. Sue Kossew

    Monash University
    Australian Research Council This project, the first to examine gendered violence in Australian literature, argues that literary texts by Australian women writers offer unique ways of understanding the social problem of gendered violence, bringing this often private and suppressed issue into the public sphere. It draws on the international field of violence studies to investigate how these writers challenge the victim paradigm and figure women's agencies. By including white, Indigenous and minority women writers in its case studies, and by interviewing selected writers, it will shed new light on the role of gendered violence in the diverse and interconnected cultural histories of the nation and will significantly extend the parameters of the Australian literary canon. July 2014 - August 2018 Australian women's literature; violence in literature
    Understanding the impact of gendered biases in perceptions of sexual assault 'victim' and 'perpetrator' responsibility

    Christina Melrose

    Gippsland Centre against Sexual Assault
    Gippsland Centre against Sexual Assault
    Current political and social discourse has frequently featur/ed/ing high-profile reports of sexual harassment and assault, with the culpability of the offender, and the reliability of the victim, often called into question. This research aimed to explore unconscious biases relating to attributions of victim and perpetrator responsibility within a fictional sexual assault scenario. Participants (N = 253) were randomly allocated to one of four conditions as part of an anonymous, online survey. Each condition was presented with a different vignette, with scenarios presented being realistic and identical between conditions, apart from the gender and sexual identities of the two ‘characters’. Dyads featured were a heterosexual female assaulted by a heterosexual male, a heterosexual male assaulted by a heterosexual female, a gay male assaulted by a gay male, and a heterosexual male assaulted by a heterosexual male. Participants were then required to rate victim responsibility and offender responsibility for the incident depicted within the vignette, along with their own judgement on whether they believed the incident was a sexual assault, or not.

    Contrary to initial expectations, the female victim was identified as, on average, the most responsible victim. The female perpetrator was also, on average, the most culpable offender.

    These findings are interpreted utilising a theoretical lens; with limitations, implications for practice and community development, and recommendations for further research discussed.
    February 2017 - May 2018 Sexual Assault, Victim Blaming, Offender Responsibility, Unconscious Bias, Community Attitudes

    Download the full list of current non-ANROWS funded projects in pdf or Excel format.