Subject area 2: Family violence as experienced by Aboriginal people and communities

Outlines why subject area 2 is a priority, what is needed, desired outcomes and the scope

Why is this a priority?

Aboriginal people and communities, particularly women and children, experience disproportionate impacts from family violence and yet Aboriginal people’s experience of family violence remains under researched. Likewise, there has been insufficient attention paid to building the evidence base on culturally appropriate approaches to assisting victim survivors recover from the impacts of family violence and to support people who use violence against Aboriginal people to change their behaviours.

We need better understanding of the prevalence, protective factors, and additional drivers of family violence for Aboriginal people and communities, and how these may differ across families, communities and different cohorts or groups. Research that builds a stronger understanding of Aboriginal people and communities’ experiences of family violence and its impacts including how these may differ across individuals, families, communities and from non-Aboriginal people would be valuable for policy and practice.

Similarities and differences in types of violence and patterns of violent behaviours used by people against Aboriginal victim survivors, including unique manifestations of violence and how this may affect service delivery, is a key under researched area.

Research topic 2.1: What does success look like for Aboriginal people who use family and/or sexual violence?


There is limited research on measures and outcome indicators to monitor success for Aboriginal people who use family and/or sexual violence. There are also few studies that consider or draw on outcomes that Aboriginal communities have defined themselves. There is a need to measure outcomes to provide an empirical link between stated intentions and actions on the one hand and their impact on the other. The research will contribute to understanding not only of what should be measured, but the factors that support improved outcomes. Further, there is a strong interest and commitment from members of the Dhelk Dja Koorie Caucus in understanding measures of success for Aboriginal Family Violence Services.

Desired outcomes

Findings will:

  • enable outcomes and measures of success (that reflect Aboriginal perspectives) to be embedded in programs and interventions that work Aboriginal people who use violence
  • assist Government to better allocate resources based on need and better evidence of what works
  • also be a critical input into the Evaluation of the Dhelk Dja 10 Year Agreement planned to commence in 2022-23.


Duration: Up to 1.5 years
Budget: Up to $150,000
This research should include:

  • a strengths-based approach to understand what promotes outcomes for Aboriginal communities, families, and individuals
  • a focus on the development of draft indicators, questions, and tools on what constitutes successful outcomes Aboriginal people who use family and/or sexual violence. These should be pilot tested within a small group of both metro and regional ACCOs.

This project must be led by an ACCO or undertaken by a consortium with an ACCO as lead agency and be strongly underpinned by the principles of Aboriginal self-determination outlined in Research Agenda. Prospective applicants will need to engage with Dhelk Dja Koorie Caucus representatives to further shape this research project.