Addressing family violence in Indigenous communities: Principles, practice and evaluation

Project Summary - PI.17.11

Perpetrator interventions strategic research priority 4.1: Determine best practice principles for program delivery for Indigenous perpetrators

This project will utilise the best practice principles for Indigenous family violence (FV) interventions identified in the ANROWS State of Knowledge paper (Lovett & Olsen, 2016) and a mixed method approach.  The best practice principles for FV interventions identified in the SOK and highlighted in the application included:  rebuilding of community, family and kinship ties as central; the need for Indigenous people and communities significant involvement in shaping service system and program responses; local community and cultural based leadership and governance of programs; use of holistic, multi-faceted approaches; and lastly, use of evaluation design appropriate to setting. 

The evaluation of the  Family Wellbeing program (FWB) will employ a stepped wedge evaluation at three new intervention sites (Mildura/Griffith/ Lake Cargelligo) to assess the impact of the FWB utilising: quantitative outcome measures of participants and family members; semi structured interviews in three sites (n=40); and a descriptive case study will include in-depth interviews with elders, community leaders and FWB facilitators and participants (total n= 10-15) in a community with a long history of implementing the FWB.

The Indigenous led FWB is operating at approximately 56 sites across Australia and is designed to build the capacity of individuals and communities to improve wellbeing in a manner that is culturally appropriate and sustainable.  In line with the principles of the FWB this project will be participatory in its engagement Indigenous community partners and research participants to support and build the capacity of participants and community organisations.

The project aims to develop a best practice evaluative model for Indigenous led interventions that include individual, family and community outcomes contributing to the ongoing development and evaluation of holistic Indigenous led family violence interventions. The project will include delivery and evaluation of the new FWB interventions in communities and the development of new evidence and evaluation tools for other Indigenous family violence programs.


Project Lead:

Dr Raymond Lovett, Australian National University

Research expertise

  1. Dr Anna Olsen, ANU
  2. Dr Marisa Fogarty, ANU
  3. Dr Bianca Calabria, ANU
  4. Professor Komla Tsey, James Cook University
  5. Professor Yvonne Cadet-James, James Cook University
  6. Dr Mary Whiteside, LaTrobe University
  7. Dr Sarah MacLean, LaTrobe University
  8. Professor Anthony Shakeshaft, UNSW

Practitioner expertise

  1. Ms Raelene Stephens, Mallee District Aboriginal Services, VIC
  2. Mr Sid Barone, Griffith Aboriginal Medical Service, NSW
  3. Ms Jamie O'Neill, Lower Lachlan Community Services, NSW

Project length

1.5 - 2 years