Gendered violence and gender 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 gender inequality sets the foundation for multiple forms of gender, gender-identity, and sex based discrimination in Australia and globally.

We also recognise that gendered violence in particular 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-

  • 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.
  • 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”.
  • Experiences of marginalised women and 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 the effects of inequalities, discrimination and violent victimisation. Members of our research program strive to give voice to the lived experiences of marginalised women and the professionals who work with them, and to provide policy advice and advocacy that is inclusive of these populations.
  • Gender, inequality and social transformation: Members of our research stream seek to understand how gender, culture and education affect social change and economic development – with a particular expertise in the East Asia and Pacific regions.
  • Gender, vulnerability and conflict: gender-inequality, sexual exploitation and sexual violence are some of the factors that contribute to the heightened vulnerability of women and girls during conflict, disasters and in some developing contexts. Members of our research program examine the linkages between gender, vulnerability conflict and violence.

Recent Publications

2018

Books

Watson, J. Young Women, Youth Homelessness and Survival Sex: Intimate Relationships and Gendered Subjectivities (2018), Routledge: London and New York.

Commissioned Reports

Henry, N, Powell, A & Flynn, A (forthcoming) Responding to Revenge Pornography: The Scope, Nature and Impact of Australian Criminal Laws, Criminology Research Council

Report.

Henry, N, Powell, A, Rees, T, Pfitzner, N & Flynn, A (2017) Image-based Abuse in Australia: Sites of Distribution. Report prepared for the Office of the eSafety Commissioner. Melbourne: RMIT University.

Myers, P, Powell, A, Vickers, N, Henry, N, Ward, A, Kellard, K, McNamara, T & Flynn, A (2017) National Survey on Image-Based Abuse in Australia. Report prepared for the Office of the eSafety Commissioner. Melbourne: RMIT University.

Spark, C.,Lee, J. (2018). Successful Women’s Coalitions in Papua New Guinea and Malaysia: Feminism, Friendships and Social Change In: Developmental Leadership Program (DLP)Birmingham, UK.

Journal Articles

Fletcher, G, Henry, N, Dowsett, GW, Wood, S & Parker, K. (2018) ‘Exploring Sexuality and Gender Complexity and Confusion in Two Asia-Pacific Development Organisations’, Culture, Healthy and Sexuality.

2017

Books

Casey, S. & Watson, J. (2017) The Unpalatable-Palatable: Celebrity Feminism in the Australian Mainstream Media, Outskirts, 37.

Johnson, G. & Watson, J. (2017) International Commentary: The Implications of the Family Options Study for Family Homelessness in Australia, Cityscape, 19(3), pp. 211-217.

Murray, S. (2017). Finding Lost Childhoods: Supporting Care-Leavers to Access Personal Records, Palgrave Macmillan, Switzerland.

Powell, A.,Henry, N. (2017). Sexual Violence in a Digital Age, Palgrave Macmillan, London, United Kingdom.

Theobald, J.,Murray, S.,Smart, J. (2017). From the margins to the mainstream: the domestic violence services movement in Victoria, Australia, 1974-2016, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, Australia.

Book Chapters

Henry, N.,Powell, A. (2017). Current controversies: technology-facilitated sexual violence In: Sourcebook on Violence Against Women, Sage, Los Angeles, United States.

Norma, C. (2017). Abolitionism in the history of the transnational ‘Justice for comfort women’ movement in Japan and South Korea In: Remembering the Second World War, Routledge, London and New York.

Norma, C. (2017). Globalization and prostitution In: Global Encyclopedia of Public Administration, Public Policy, and Governance, Springer, New york, United states.

Powell, A.,Henry, N. (2017). (In Press) Sexual violence and harassment in the digital era In: The Palgrave Handbook of Australian and New Zealand Criminology, Crime and Justice, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, United Kingdom.

Spark, C. (2017). ‘I won’t go hungry if he’s not around’: `Working class’ urban Melanesian women’s agency in intimate relationships In: Transformations of Gender in Melanesia, ANU Press, Acton, ACT, Australia.

Commissioned Report

Liston, R.,Mortimer, S.,Hamilton, G.,Cameron, R. (2017). A team effort: preventing violence against women through sport In: Our Watch Melbourne, Australia.

Journal Articles

Dalton, E. (2017) Sexual harassment of women politicians in Japan. Journal of Gender-Based Violence, 1,2,205-219.

Dalton, E. (2017). Womenomics, ‘Equality’ and Abe’s Neo-liberal strategy to make Japanese women shine In: Social Science Japan Journal, 20, 95 – 105.

Hamilton, G.,Brubacher, S.,Powell, M. (2017). The effects of practice narratives in interviews with Australian Aboriginal children In: Investigative Interviewing: Research and Practice, 8, 31 – 44.

Hamilton, G.,Powell, M.,Brubacher, S. (2017). Professionals’ perceptions regarding the suitability of investigative interview protocols with Aboriginal children In: Australian Psychologist, 52, 174 – 183.

Hamilton, G.,Whiting, E.,Brubacher, S.,Powell, M. (2017). (In Press) The effects of face-to-face versus live video-feed interviewing on children’s event reports In: Legal and Criminological Psychology, 1 – 14.

Henry, N.,Powell, A. (2017). (In Press) Technology-facilitated sexual violence: a literature review of empirical research In: Trauma, Violence and Abuse, 1 – 14.

Heydon, G.,Powell, A. (2017). Written-response interview protocols: an innovative approach to confidential reporting and victim interviewing in sexual assault investigations In: Policing and Society: An International Journal of Research and Policy, , 1 – 16

Powell, A.,Henry, N. (2017). (In Press) Policing technology-facilitated sexual violence against adult victims: police and service sector perspectives In: Policing and Society, , 1 – 17.

Powell, A.,Henry, N. (2017). (In Press) Technology-facilitated sexual violence victimization results from an online survey of Australian adults In: Journal of Interpersonal Violence, , 1 – 29.

Powell, A.,Webster, K. (2017). (In Press) Cultures of gendered violence: An integrative review of measures of attitudinal support for violence against women In: Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 1 – 18.

Pruitt, L.,Hamilton, G.,Heydon, G.,Spark, C. (2017). (In Press) Abbott’s ‘budget crisis’, CALD women’s loss? Service providers explore the impact of funding cuts In: Australian Journal of Political Science, 1 – 16.

Spark, C.,Corbett, J. (2017). Emerging women leaders’ views on political participation in Melanesia In: International Feminist Journal of Politics, 1 – 15.

Spark, C. (2017). Capital cultures: gender, place and belonging in Port Moresby and NoumeaIn: Development Bulletin, 78, 49 – 53.

Stratton, G.,Powell, A.,Cameron, R. (2017). Crime and justice in digital society: towards a ‘digital criminology’? In: International Journal of Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 6, 17 – 33.

2016

Books

Norma, C. (2016). The Japanese comfort women and sexual slavery during the China and Pacific Wars, Bloomsbury Publishing, United Kingdom.

Book Chapters

Norma, C.,Tankard Reist, M. (2016). Introduction: Prostitution survivors speak out In: Prostitution narratives: Stories of survival in the sex trade, Spinifex Press, Melbourne, Australia.

Norma, C. (2016). Child prostitution In: The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Gender and Sexuality Studies, Wiley Blackwell, New Jersey, United States.

Commissioned Reports

Rowe, J.,Harris, L. (2016). ‘Get up, stand up!’ – giving people the means to respond to opioid overdose In: The Salvation Army Melbourne Australia.

Journal Articles

Dalton, E.,Dales, L. (2016). Online Konkatsu and the gendered ideals of marriage in contemporary Japan In: Japanese Studies, 36, 1 – 19.

Hamilton, G.,Brubacher, S.,Powell, M. (2016). Expressions of shame in investigative interviews with Australian Aboriginal children In: Child Abuse and Neglect, 51, 64 – 71.

Hamilton, G.,Brubacher, S.,Powell, M. (2016). Investigative interviewing of Aboriginal children in cases of suspected sexual abuse In: Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 25, 363 – 381.

Fletcher, G.,Dowsett, G.,Wood, S.,Henry, N. (2016). Gender, sexuality and disadvantage: intimately entwined, but perpetually divorced within international development? In: Development Bulletin, 77, 85 – 89.

Henry, N. (2016). Theorizing wartime rape: deconstructing gender, sexuality, and violence In: Gender and Society, 30, 44 – 56.

Henry, N. (2016). Civil society and gender-based violence: expanding the horizons of transitional justice In: The Australian Feminist Law Journal, 42, 119 – 136.

Henry, N (2016) ‘Henry Responds to Dickson: “Revenge Porn: A Victim Focused Response”’, The University of South Australia Student Law Review, 2: 70-76.

Henry, N & Powell, A (2016) ‘Sexual Violence in the Digital Age: The Scope and Limits of Criminal Law’, Social & Legal Studies, 25(4): 397-418.

Hanley, N, Fileborn, B, Larcombe, W, Henry, N & Powell, A (2016) ‘Improving the Law Reform Process: Opportunities for Empirical Qualitative Research’, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 49(4): 546-563.

Larcombe, W.,Fileborn, B.,Powell, A.,Hanley, N.,Henry, N. (2016). ‘I think it’s rape and I think he would be found not guilty’ Focus group perceptions of (un) reasonable belief in consent in rape law In: Social and Legal Studies, 25, 611 – 629.

Nagy, V.,Powell, A. (2016). Legalising sex work: The regulation of ‘risk’ in Australian prostitution law reform In: Current Issues in Criminal Justice, 28, 1 – 16.

Norma, C.,Garcia-Caro, O. (2016). Gender problems in the practice of professional interpreters assisting migrant women in Australia: A theoretical case for feminist education In: Violence Against Women, 22, 1305 – 1325.

Spark, C. (2016). Changing lives: promoting sustainable development through women’s education and networks in Papua New Guinea In: Development Bulletin, 77, 64 – 68.

Street, T.,Norma, C. (2016). Sex tourists in their own country: Digital media advertising of Asian women by the Australian sex industry In: Gender, Technology and Development, 20, 1 – 27.

 

 

Projects

Gender-based Violence in Inpatient Mental Health Units

Have you or someone you know experienced gender violence in a mental health unit as a female patient?

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Women and the Japanese state

Exploring the contemporary relationship between women and the Japanese state

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Preventing Gender-based Violence in Inpatient Mental Health Units

This project documents the experiences of gendered violence occurring in inpatient mental health units to inform service delivery policy and practice.

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Sport and Recreation as a Setting for Prevention

A team effort: preventing violence against women through sport focuses on the work being undertaken in structured sport settings and by sporting organisations.

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Revenge pornography: The implications for law reform

This project aims to investigate prevalence, nature and effects of revenge pornography in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

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Image-based Abuse: National Survey and Consultation Project

The research examines stakeholder and victim experiences of image-based abuse: the non-consensual distribution of nude or sexual imagery.

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Evidence Review of Respectful Relationships Resources

To undertake a rapid review of the social marketing, social enterprise and digital innovation sectors.

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Ending Violence Against Women (EVAW) program, Dili, Timor-Leste (Phase 1)

This project provides research advice and supports the consolidation of existing knowledge on violence against women and children in Timor-Leste.

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Culture and Change: a comparative study of women’s’ activism through coalitions in Papua New Guinea and Malaysia

This project was designed to consolidate the Developmental Leadership Program (DLP)'s existing research on coalitions and to extend DLP's reach in the Pacific.

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Bougainville Women’s Federation Public Service Research Report

This research project looking at women’s employment experiences, equity issues and opportunities to pursue leadership positions in the Bougainville public service.

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The wartime comfort women of Japanese-occupied New Guinea, 1942-1945 (DECRA)

The Japanese military occupied New Guinea between 1942 and 1945 and established military brothels there, but whether or not New Guinean women were sexually enslaved is unknown.

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Stori Bilong ples: documenting PNG experiences of WWII

This project is commissioned by Deakin University as part of a larger project that they are running with funding from Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

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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

Researchers

Dr Ceridwen Spark

Dr Ceridwen Spark

Senior Research Fellow

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Associate Professor Georgina Heydon

Associate Professor Georgina Heydon

Senior Lecturer

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Associate Professor Nicola Henry

Associate Professor Nicola Henry

Principal Research Fellow

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Associate Professor Anastasia Powell

Associate Professor Anastasia Powell

Associate Professor

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Dr Caroline Norma

Dr Caroline Norma

Research Fellow

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Associate Professor Damian Grenfell

Associate Professor Damian Grenfell

Associate Professor

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Dr Larissa Sandy

Dr Larissa Sandy

Lecturer

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Dr Marg Liddell

Dr Marg Liddell

Senior Lecturer

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Dr Lisa Harris

Dr Lisa Harris

Lecturer

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Dr Sharon Andrews

Dr Sharon Andrews

Lecturer

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Dr Peta Mallins

Dr Peta Mallins

Lecturer

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Dr Juliet Watson

Dr Juliet Watson

Lecturer

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Dr Chris Maylea

Dr Chris Maylea

Lecturer

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Dr Kathryn Daley

Dr Kathryn Daley

Lecturer

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Dr Gemma Hamilton

Dr Gemma Hamilton

Research Officer (GeVARA)

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Dr Naomi Pfitzner

Dr Naomi Pfitzner

Post-Doctorate GeVARA Research Officer

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Associate Professor Suellen Murray

Associate Professor Suellen Murray

Deputy Dean

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Dr Emma Dalton

Dr Emma Dalton

Lecturer

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Higher Degree Research Students

Related Content

Events

Space, Power, Technology: Towards a Global Digital Criminology

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Global Frictions Presents: What Works in Preventing Image-Based Abuse?

Image-based abuse, also known as “revenge porn” or “non-consensual sexting”, affects a significant proportion of the Australian population. According to a RMIT study of Australians aged between 16-49, 1 in 5 participants reported that someone took a nude or sexual image of them without their consent, 1 in 10 reported that someone distributed a nude […]

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News & Blog

Introducing Doctoral Candidate: Leul Tadesse Sidelil

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Introducing Gender, Violence and Inequality Lead Researcher: Dr. Ceridwen Spark

Playing Sport, Occupying Space and Exploring Gender Equity

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Rules of thumb for women leaders in the Pacific, and beyond

In January, when New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced her pregnancy, she was careful to note that she would be “fully contactable” during her six weeks of maternity leave.

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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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