Our research

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Our research

  • We carry out research on a range of topics linked to sexual, domestic and family violence;
  • To enquire about our research, contact the research team during business hours via: research@rape-dvservices.org.au or phone: 02 8585 0333.

Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia's research is focused on:

  1. Building evidence about best approaches to counselling and other responses to those who have experienced sexual, domestic and family violence
  2. Building evidence about best approaches to counselling and other responses to men who have used violence or who are concerned they may use violence
  3. Building evidence regarding strategies for the prevention of gendered violence

To enquire about our research, contact the research team during business hours via: research@rape-dvservices.org.au or phone: 02 8585 0333.

Current research

Best practices in counselling with survivors of sexual, domestic or family violence

Systematic review of literature over the last 5 years to update our Best Practice Manual for counselling those who have experienced sexual, domestic or family violence.

Best practices in Men's Behaviour Change Programs

Systematic literature review regarding best practice approaches to men's behaviour change. This review has informed development of a unique one on one men's behaviour change program which will undergo evaluation.

Prevention of sexual harassment and misconduct in higher degree research

Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia was engaged by a leading Australian university to develop a program specifically for supervisors overseeing research/PhD students. The aim of the program was to create (i) cultural change, and (ii) a shift in individual ethical practices specific to the Supervisor/Supervisee relationship.
Link: Ethical Pedagogical Practices: Respectful Supervisory Relationships

Past research

In recent years, Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia has completed the following research initiatives:

Counselling service modalities and the needs of Australians affected by sexual, domestic and family violence

Sexual, domestic and family violence are widespread, pervasive social problems that affect many Australians. Indeed, it is estimated that almost one in five women experience sexual violence and one in three women experience domestic and/or family violence in their lifetime (ABS, 2012).

There are a number of counselling services in Australia that support people to overcome the adverse effects of trauma resulting from sexual, domestic and family violence. These services are delivered across multiple platforms or modalities, including telephone, online, face to face, group and voice over internet protocol (VoIP). Despite the availability of these counselling service modalities within community practice, there is a paucity of research evidence regarding their application and effectiveness.

In 2015, Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia was contracted by the Australian Government Department of Social Services to start addressing the gaps in knowledge about the effectiveness and meaningful evaluation of counselling service modalities.

Assessing and treating cognitive and mood distortions in survivors of sexual assault according to DSM 5

Sexual violence has consistently been identified as the class of trauma most likely to result in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The criteria for PTSD have undergone a number of changes in the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5) (APA, 2013).

One of the most notable changes is the addition of negative alterations in cognitions and mood (new criterion D). Research has indeed demonstrated that in people impacted by a variety of traumatic experiences, the prevalence of negative beliefs about the self and the world, as well as distorted blame, is associated predominantly with interpersonal trauma, female gender and the number of reported traumatic events (Cox, Resnick, & Kilpatrick, 2014).

However, to date there has been no research investigating cognitive and mood symptoms associated specifically with surviving sexual violence. Therefore a research project was undertaken to investigate how cognitive and mood distortions manifest in survivors of sexual violence.

The results of this project have been presented at numerous mental health conferences nationally and internationally. This project was presented at the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation 2016 international conference in San Francisco poster presented at this conference is available below: