Gendered violence and inequality are among the big social justice and policy issues of our time. Our researchers strive for social change through applied and interdisciplinary research, as well as evidence-based advocacy for policy and practice reform.

We recognise that gendered violence occurs in the context of gender inequality, colonisation, racism, heterosexism and ableism, and that the impacts of gendered violence differ for those with multiple vulnerabilities.

We collaborate with researchers across disciplines such as social policy, social work, justice and criminology, international development, education and law via our affiliation with GeVARA: the Gendered Violence and Abuse Research Alliance at RMIT University.

Key research areas

  • Family Violence Policy & Practice Reform: Victoria is currently undergoing an unprecedented state of rapid change and reform in response to family violence. The State Government’s 10-year Plan for Change, follows on from 227 recommendations made by the Royal Commission into Family Violence Report. Members of our research program have long been engaged in applied policy and program-based research seeking to address family violence, and improve safety for women and children.
  • Sexual Violence, Stalking & Harassment: Justice for victim-survivors of sexual violence as well as the familiar and newly emerging harms of street harassment, online harassment and image-based abuse are all pressing issues for policy and legal reform. Members of our research program examine a range of recurring and emerging sexual harms from rape and sexual assault, to stalking, to gender-based trolling and online abuse to so-called “revenge pornography”.
  • Primary Prevention of Violence Against Women: The prevalence and impacts of gendered violence in our society cannot be fully understood without examining the cultures, practices, and structures that make such violence possible – sometimes without consequence for perpetrators, while victim-survivors experience shame, blame and a minimisation of the harms against them. Members of our research pillar seek to address the cultural, social and structural drivers of violence against women; namely gender inequality and intersecting inequalities such as across race, class, sexuality and ability.
  • Gendered Violence among Vulnerable Populations: Young women, indigenous women, migrant women, homeless women, queer women, transwomen, and women with a disability, are among those in our community who are the most vulnerable to violent victimisation and its effects.Members of our research program strive to give voice to the lived experiences of marginalised women and to provide policy advice and advocacy that is inclusive of these populations.

Projects

Workplace and Organisational Approaches to the Primary Prevention of Violence Against Women

Promoting gender equality and respect in workplaces is an important catalyst for preventing violence against women in broader society.

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National Community Attitudes towards Violence Against Women Survey (NCAS)

The NCAS is a national survey which collects vital information about Australians’ knowledge of, and attitudes and responses towards, violence against women, and their attitudes towards gender equality.

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Evaluation of Taskforce Alexis – An integrated Police and Key Worker Response to Family Violence

The Family Violence component of Taskforce Alexis creates a multi-disciplinary unit including Victoria Police, an embedding specialist key worker, with family violence expert knowledge, situated within a targeted Victoria Police Family Violence Unit

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Responding to revenge pornography: The scope, nature and impacts of Australian laws

This project investigates this rapidly emerging social harm from the perspectives of key stakeholders (such as legal services, police and support agencies) as well as the experiences of victims of image-based sexual violence.

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Technology-facilitated sexual violence and harassment: violence against women in cyberspace and the implications for legislative and policy reform

The project will document the lived experiences of victims to different forms of technology-facilitated sexual violence and harassment, and investigate the effectiveness of law and policy in responding to these new and emerging crimes.

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Key People

Lead researchers

Dr Anastasia Powell

Dr Anastasia Powell

Senior Research Fellow

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Dr Marg Liddell

Dr Marg Liddell

Senior Lecturer

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Dr Juliet Watson

Dr Juliet Watson

Lecturer

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Dr Caroline Norma

Dr Caroline Norma

Research Fellow

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Dr Susie Costello

Dr Susie Costello

Senior Lecturer

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Associate Professor Suellen Murray

Associate Professor Suellen Murray

Deputy Dean (Research) in RMIT's School of Global, Urban and Social Studies

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Dr Lisa Harris

Dr Lisa Harris

Lecturer in the Master of Public Policy

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Dr Sharon Andrews

Dr Sharon Andrews

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Dr Kathy Edwards

Dr Kathy Edwards

Senior Lecturer in the Youth Work Program

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Program Researchers

Related Content

News & Blog

Dr Anastasia Powell presents on a new framework for crime and justice in digital society

Dr Anastasia Powell who is one of the Lead Researcher’s in the Gendered Violence & Inequality Research Program and also works across the Law, Justice and Social Policy Research Program, recently participated in a meeting of the International Interdisciplinary Research Consortium on Cybercrime (IIRCC). The consortium was held at the International Institute for the Sociology […]

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Change the story: how the world’s first national framework can help prevent violence against women

In Australia, one woman is killed almost every week by a current or former partner. By now, these horrifying murders are all too familiar. But they are just a small part of the bigger story. Hundreds of thousands more women are physically and psychologically harmed by men’s violence, threats and controlling behaviour. Many suffer long-term […]

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FactCheck Q&A: are there laws to protect against ‘revenge porn’ in Australia?

In the lead-up to International Women’s Day, an all-female panel of guests on ABC TV’s Q&A program discussed issues ranging from sexual assault and domestic violence to “revenge porn”, where a nude or explicit image is shared without consent. Let’s check the facts.

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Alliance formed to address gendered violence and abuse

A new alliance has been formed to apply research to policy, prevention and practice in the area of domestic violence and sexual assault.

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The conversation we need to have: Victoria has made progress on tackling domestic violence, but there is still much to be done

The Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence has sparked an important national debate, but that needs to be backed up by work that responds to violence in the community, and a strategy to stop it before it starts.

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‘Be careful posting images online’ is just another form of modern-day victim-blaming

The revelations this week of yet another vile website where men and boys trade in the non-consensual images of women and girls has police and many in the broader Australian public concerned about these harassing behaviours. Yet some of the media and public discussions of these image-sharing websites and forums also show a disturbing similarity […]

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It takes a village: law reform can’t be the only response to online child abuse material

The Victorian government introduced legislation this week to deliver on key changes recommended by an in-depth review of the state’s sexual offences. Among the changes is the replacement of the term “child pornography” with “child abuse material”. This shift in terminology is particularly welcome. What’s in a name? It might appear a small change to […]

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Cyber justice: how technology is supporting victim-survivors of rape

We tend to think of “justice” as meaning having one’s day in court – and that justice is done when the perpetrator is convicted and punished. But for many victim-survivors of sexual violence, that day may never come. While one in five Australian women and one in 22 men will experience sexual violence in their […]

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Gender equality in the workplace can prevent violence against women

The biggest barriers for workplace programs which are aimed at preventing violence against women are sexism and discrimination.

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Ending ‘revenge porn’: how can we stop sexual images being used to abuse?

A Senate inquiry into “revenge porn” is due to report next week. This will put this important social and legal issue back on the news and policy reform agenda. The Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee defines “revenge porn” as involving: … sharing private sexual images and recordings of a person without their consent, with […]

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Violence against women: does technology do more harm than good?

Federal MP Tim Watts spoke in parliament on Monday about the ways in which new technologies are being used to stalk, intimidate, threaten and harass women. This abuse, he suggests, often happens in domestic violence situations. It is also happening in new ways, such as via “revenge pornography”, to which our current laws are unable […]

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FactCheck Q&A: is domestic violence in Australia on the decline?

Are domestic violence figures actually on the decline? FactCheck investigate.

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Online abuse affects 3 in 5 Australians: study

Three in five Australians have been the target of online harassment and abuse, landmark RMIT University research has revealed.

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My partner used child pornography

When Natasha’s husband arrived home flanked by two police officers, her life was thrown into turmoil. That was the moment she learned that her partner possessed child pornography. Natalie Walker is the founder of PartnerSPEAK, a support group for the family members of those who use child exploitation material. Despite having no funding, it has […]

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Young Australians’ views on domestic violence are cause for concern – but also hope

A report on young Australians' attitudes towards violence against women highlights some worrying trends. But it's not all bad news.

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What’s in a name? Online child abuse material is not ‘pornography’

The continued use by politicians and the media of the term “child pornography” minimises the offence's seriousness. They are online child abuse material.

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Spotlight on gender and trauma

RMIT’s Dr Kathryn Daley shares her research on the role of gender in how people respond to trauma at a Corrections Victoria panel today.

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Report reveals poor attitudes to violence against women

Australian attitudes to violence against women remain a serious issue and are indicative of institutionalised sexism, a report has found.

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Gender, culture and class collude in violence against women

Anastasia Powell considers the role of class as a contributing factor in violence against women.

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Justice denied: the neglect of sexual assault victims with a disability

People with disabilities suffer higher rates of sexual assault than are seen in the broader community.

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Not just ‘safe sext’: Victorian parliamentary Law Reform Committee calls for change

I was absolutely mortified, horrified. Everyone had seen them … people would stop me in the street and recognise me.

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