Indexing family violence

An expert research team from the University of Melbourne will deliver a world first family violence index for Australia's National Research Organisation for Women's Safety (ANROWS).

ANROWS was commissioned by the Victorian Government to advise on a family violence index that will measure how well family violence is being addressed in Victoria.

The research team, led by University of Melbourne Professor Kelsey Hegarty, Co-Director of the Melbourne Research Alliance to End Violence Against Women and their Children (MAEVe), will define what measures, statistics and data should be included in the index.

The first part of this project – a review of international literature – has confirmed the index is a world first undertaking. Consultations with policy-makers, service providers and other stakeholders will be held this week.

ANROWS CEO Heather Nancarrow commended the Victorian Government on taking the initiative to develop the Family Violence Index. The Index will assist the Government to measure its effectiveness to address family violence, and provide guidance for future policy development and resource allocation.

“ANROWS is pleased to be a part of this project and we are excited to have Professor Hegarty on board,” Ms Nancarrow said.

"Professor Hegarty developed the Composite Abuse Scale, a new, multidimensional way of measuring intimate partner violence that has been used around the world. Her knowledge and insights will contribute to the successful development of the Index."

Professor Hegarty is an academic general practitioner whose research has contributed to the intimate partner violence field over the last decade at a national and international level.

“Family violence damages the health and wellbeing of women and children, affects the social fabric of our community, and impacts on our economy. When we introduce a program, we need to know whether it will actually make a difference to the safety and wellbeing of families,” Prof Hegarty said.

“I will be working closely with University of Melbourne Doctor Stuart Ross from Criminology and Professor Cathy Humphreys from Social Work, as well as community stakeholders to generate a useful Index for the Victorian sector.”

About ANROWS

ANROWS is a national research organisation that aims to build evidence that will guide policy and practice aimed at addressing the high rates of domestic, family and sexual violence against women and their children. More information about ANROWS’s research program and the National Research Agenda to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children is available at www.anrows.org.au

About MAEVe

MAEVe is an interdisciplinary research alliance at the University of Melbourne that draws together research and evaluation capacity from across the University, in partnership with community, industry and government agencies. Our aims are: to reduce harm and improve the safety and wellbeing of women, families and communities; increase account­ability and improve responses to men; and prevent violence before it starts.

The University of Melbourne has a history of delivering important research projects to address and prevent violence against women. It has recently been involved in the National Community Attitudes Survey into Violence Against Women and was instrumental in developing the highly successful iDecide web-based tool for victims of violence. Academics also regularly appear on Royal Commissions.