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  • Author or Editor: Kelsey Hegarty x
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The volume of research being conducted into domestic and family violence is increasing, yet knowledge translation in this area lags behind other fields such as healthcare. Little is known about how to effectively harness and implement research findings in the ‘real world’, and there continue to be barriers to the use of rigorous research to inform government policy. In this paper, we explore key areas where the translation of domestic and family violence research into practice could be improved in Australia, as well as highlighting the challenges. We then suggest some recommendations for how these might be overcome.

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Introduction: Research networks undertake work collaboratively on complex areas of research. Few studies examine how these networks develop their knowledge translation activity. Focusing on a domestic violence research network (DVRN), the aim of this study was to answer the question: What is the shared understanding of knowledge translation and activity in a domestic violence research network?

Methods: A sample of DVRN members undertook an anonymous online survey about their knowledge translation activity.

Results: Completed by 49 of a potential 65 DVRN members (75% completion rate), findings suggested members use multiple knowledge translation definitions, and that different stages of the research process engage people with lived-experience and policymakers undertaking lower levels of engagement than practitioners. Innovative engagement mechanisms to communicate research findings were limited, and knowledge translation barriers included budget, time, capacity, limitation of models, organisational emphasis and support. Finally, there was inadequate knowledge translation evaluation.

Conclusion: Overcoming knowledge translation barriers is essential to ensure meaningful collaboration particularly with survivors who are often the missing voice of knowledge translation. Future studies could determine what impact, if any, increasing engagement of survivors and policymakers during all stages of the research process has on knowledge translation.

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Health professionals play a critical role in responding to the health consequences of domestic and family violence (DFV). However, health professional women themselves experience high rates of DFV and there is scant evidence underpinning hospital workplace responses. The aim of this Australian research was to explore the views of survivor health professional women and their managers about the role of the hospital workplace in responding to survivor staff. A ‘combined methodological approach’ encompassed open-ended survey questions to survivor health professionals about workplace experiences and support needs. Managers participated in an interview about the employment response. Thematic analysis of survivor staff (n=93) and manager (n=18) data identified three themes: (a) Understand that DFV affects staff, (b) Support for staff is essential and (c) Challenges of establishing a safe workplace. Survivors wanted understanding about how trauma had affected them, and managers recognised that staff were exposed to potentially triggering patient narratives of abuse. Both groups believed that formal resources and support were essential, including managers trained to respond sensitively to disclosures of DFV. However, challenges to creating an environment where staff felt emotionally and physically safe were identified. A trauma and violence informed hospital response could promote recovery for survivor staff and patients.

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Many women who experience intimate partner violence are left with significant and long-lasting mental health effects resulting in survivors seeking help from psychologists. However, the voices of women who have sought such help are mostly absent in research. To address this gap, we interviewed 20 women survivors of intimate partner violence about their experiences when seeing psychologists. We analysed this data thematically and developed two main themes relating to women’s experiences of psychologists after intimate partner violence. These themes were: mirroring abuse or being supportive and it did me quite a bit of damage. Our research suggests that these women experienced suboptimal mental healthcare after intimate partner violence and that the effects of this were not neutral but were damaging. Positive experiences suggested that these women appreciated practices aligned with feminist and trauma and violence-informed approaches. This study fills in some details about women’s experiences, which can be used to further inform trauma and violence-informed approaches.

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There is limited research on how knowledge translation of a domestic violence (DV) research network is shared. This lack of research is problematic because of the complexity of establishing a research network, encompassing diverse disciplines, methods, and focus of study potentially impacting how knowledge translation functions.

Aims and objectives:

To address the limited research, we completed a deliberative dialogue with the following questions: Is there a consensus regarding a coherent knowledge translation framework for a domestic violence research network? What are the key actions that a domestic violence research network could take to enhance knowledge translation?


Deliberative dialogue is a group process that blends research and practice to identify potential actions. In total, 16 participants attended three deliberative dialogue meetings. We applied a qualitative analysis to the data to identify the key actions.


The deliberative dialogue facilitated mutual agreement regarding four key actions: (1) agreement on a knowledge translation approach; (2) active promotion of dedicated leadership within an authorising environment; (3) development of sustainable partnerships through capacity building and collaboration, particularly with DV survivors; and (4) employment of multiple strategies applying different kinds of evidence for diverse purposes and emerging populations.

Discussion and conclusions:

The use of the deliberative dialogue has uncovered specific factors required for the successful knowledge translation of domestic violence research. These factors have been added to the Integrated Knowledge Translation (IKT) capacity framework to enhance its application for domestic violence research. Future research could explore these organisational, professional and individual factors further by evaluating them in practice.

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Domestic violence poses a threat to the health, safety and wellbeing of women internationally and is associated with a range of physical injuries, chronic mental and physical health issues and death. In recognition of the serious consequences and to guide the allocation of resources, multiple countries have invested in efforts to measure domestic violence risk. This study aimed to determine whether there was an existing validated risk assessment tool with an actuarial element, or a common set of evidence-based risk factors that could be implemented in Victoria, Australia. A tool was sought which would effectively predict risk of severity, lethality and re-assault and support risk management strategies. The tool needed to be suitable for administration by a variety of professionals. Through an audit and analysis of existing tools, the study found an absence of universal standards or guidance for weighting actuarial tools and clear insight into how risk assessments currently inform risk management practice and multidisciplinary responses. However, the literature provides clarity around the key evidence-based risk factors that most commonly form a validated tool for adult victim survivors. The evidence was less definitive in terms of assessing risk of lethality and re-assault for children and young people.

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To assess trajectories of women’s experience of intimate partner violence (IPV) over time, and baseline risk factors and associated four-year outcomes for different trajectories.


A cohort study of 548 women with depressive symptoms, attending primary care appointments, were surveyed annually for four years. Secondary analysis was undertaken using growth mixture modelling to generate IPV trajectories. Analyses of associations of these generated classes of IPV with hypothesised baseline and four-year measures were undertaken.


At baseline, 42% (231) women experienced IPV in past 12 months. Five-class IPV trajectory model showed five groups over time: consistently ‘high IPV’ (5%, n=28), ‘some IPV’ (14%, n=77), ‘minimal IPV’ (9%, n=52), ‘decreasing IPV’ (11%, n=62), and ‘no IPV’ (60%, n=329). Baseline differences showed women in ‘high’ and ‘some’ group had more childhood abuse, low income and poor mental health compared to ‘minimal’ or ‘no IPV’ groups. At four years, ‘decreasing IPV’ group was aligned with ‘minimal/no IPV’ groups on mental health, quality of life and social support measures.


Women exhibited different trajectories of IPV over time with high burden of mental health problems, except for when IPV decreases. Clinical identification of IPV and tailoring of responses to decrease exposure to IPV is warranted to reduce disease burden.

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Intimate partner abuse (IPA) is a pervasive issue affecting one in three women globally. Although understanding of IPA has increased over time, it is still lacking, and new ways of highlighting the experiences of victims/survivors are essential. This article draws on reflexive thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews from two research projects to examine the experiences of women who have experienced IPA and who participated in a digital storytelling workshop. Three themes were developed describing their experiences: Taking back control; Knowing you’re not alone and A healing journey. The results suggest that while digital storytelling was not designed as a therapeutic intervention, participants nonetheless described improvements to their wellbeing. However, the findings also highlight the need for trauma-informed facilitation when running digital storytelling workshops focused on sensitive issues.

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Health and social care professionals are well placed to identify and respond to those affected by gender-based violence; yet students across a range of health disciplines describe a lack of knowledge, preparation and confidence in dealing with the issue. Our study aimed to explore health and social care students’ perceptions of their own knowledge and confidence on the subject of gender-based violence, recollections of gender-based violence learning opportunities through university and clinical placements, and opinions about the content of future e-learning curricula on the subject. We designed and implemented a multinational, cross-sectional survey across six universities from five countries: Australia, Canada, England, New Zealand and Scotland. Responses were obtained from 377 students across seven health and social care disciplines. Principally, the study found that students were underprepared in their professional programmes in terms of dealing with gender-based violence. Many students had witnessed or heard about cases of gender-based violence on clinical placement, but reported feeling generally unconfident in dealing with the issue. Regarding future e-learning, students indicated that content should be inclusive and relate directly to clinical practice. We argue that there is a universal need for health care education programmes to include the issue of gender-based violence in curricula.

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