Violence Against Women

The goal of the Violence Against Women (VAW) research priority is to understand multiple adverse impacts of VAW across the life course and to identify those factors that assist or deter recovery from these experiences.

This strategic priority generates new knowledge about the health impact of Violence Against Women (VAW) across the life course. Prevention of VAW is a key priority of UNFPA, WHO, and of the UN Sustainable Development Goal number 5. Yet even if goals to eliminate VAW were met today, there would remain a significant proportion of women who had already experienced abuse and violence.

This has been recognised in the new Australian National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children (2022-2033), which included CWHR research as part of its evidence base.

Critical to the work of the CWHR in VAW is the translation of research findings into policy and practice. To date, CWHR VAW research has found that sexual violence, domestic violence and violence in childhood are associated with long term physical and mental health problems.

Program Lead

ANROWS Sexual Violence Report

Our most recent research, funded by Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety Limited (ANROWS), showed a much higher national prevalence of sexual violence than had previously been reported.

Results also indicated that women who experienced sexual violence were more likely to experience other forms of violence, and to have poorer physical and mental health than other women. 

The findings were similar to those we have obtained in our previous research, which demonstrated the long term deficit in health associated with domestic violence. Across all our research into violence, we find that the availability of social support acts to mitigate some of the adverse health impacts of VAW.

More recently, CWHR researchers are turning their attention to the experiences of different populations in relation to VAW. In conjunction with the Centre’s Consumer and Community Involvement Committee, NSW Regional Health Partners, WHRTN and HMRI, the CWHR is conducting a series of forums across different communities to determine priorities in VAW research. These priorities will be included here – so watch this space!


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