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A systemic approach to advancing cross-sector collaboration between family violence and substance use service

This PhD project is an action research study that investigates systemic ways to improve cross-sector collaboration between substance use and family violence services. This project is nested within the KODY research.

Researchers: Van Callaly, Cathy Humphreys, Margaret Kertesz, Jennifer Davidson, Anne-Marie Laslett

Project Dates: 2021-2024

Contact: Van Callaly

Publications: Callaly, V., Kertesz, M., Davidson, J., Humphreys, C., & Laslett, A.-M. (2023). Programme responses for men who perpetrate intimate partner violence in the context of alcohol or other drugs: a scoping review. Advances in Dual Diagnosis. doi:10.1108/add-07-2022-0021

DICE: Disrupting child sexual exploitation


The DICE project builds upon the work of Power to Kids as well as other multiagency initiatives such as the work of the Victorian Office of Professional Practice (Enhanced Response Model and Sexual Exploitation Protocol), to address the need for further development of a collaborative prevention and disruption approach to child sexual exploitation.

The project aims to explore implementation of three primary elements of an enhanced CSE response – trauma-informed disruptive policing; multiagency working; and attention to children and young people going missing from residential and home-based statutory care as a consequence of CSE – across sites in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland and with support from Department of Social Services (DSS), the Australian Federal Police, and the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE).

DICE includes the following PhD projects:


Prof Cathy Humphreys, Dr Gemma McKibbin, Prof Stuart Ross, Julie Green (all University of Melbourne), Prof Ben Mathews, (QUT) Assoc. Prof Susan Heward-Belle (University of Sydney), Assoc. Prof Lisa Gold (Deakin University)

Funders/Partner organisation:

Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage grant with 11 partners:

Project Dates: Feb 2022 – Feb 2025

Contact: Dr Gemma McKibbin
T: 0437 281 543
E: gemma.mckibbin@unimelb.edu.au

Cloaked in Strength – An exploration of Aboriginal mothers’ experiences of family violence and the role of cultural practice as a tool of engagement, resilience and resistance.

The Cloaked in Strength study aims to explore Aboriginal mothers’ experiences of family violence using possum skin cloak making as a tool of engagement, resilience and resistance.  It is built upon the core premises of Indigenous research: relationality and accountability, place, reciprocity and reflexivity. The project uses Aboriginal women’s standpoint as its interpretive lens and a fusion of hermeneutic principles and Indigenous methodologies. The research focuses upon the experiences of family violence of fifteen Aboriginal mothers living in Melbourne.  The women were engaged through the local network of Aboriginal community-controlled organisations and invited to participate in individual interviews, a series of possum skin cloak making workshops and a yarning circle.  

Researchers: Shawana Andrews

Supervisors: Cathy Humphreys, Bridget Hamilton

Funders: This work was supported by the Indigenous Research Initiative of the Melbourne Hallmark Research Initiatives Program, the University of Melbourne, Australia.

Partners: This research is being conducted with the support of and within the Victorian Aboriginal Community-controlled sector.

Project Dates: 2016 –

Investigating a model of reparation among university students and domestic violence perpetrators: understanding the psychological underpinnings

Understanding the psychological process of reparation and self-forgiveness has been an area of increased research interest over the last decade. Theoretical and empirical models have linked guilt, shame, self-oriented and other-oriented empathy, conciliatory behaviour and self-forgiveness together but there is a lack of clarity around the direction of their relationships. Most past research on this topic has focused on university student participants with little attention on other groups. The aim of this project is to investigate both an earlier proposed model and alternative new models and offer more information on what relationships appear to fit the data best among university students, to enable best comparison to existing findings. Moreover, we are extending the model to domestic violence perpetrators to better understand their psychological processes with the hope to offer guidance to intervention programs.


Anna Bornemisza, Professor Lisa Phillips, Professor Cathy Humphreys, Dr Kristin Diemer

Funders: University of Melbourne Scholarship Fund

Partners: The research data was obtained and used in collaboration with the Fathering Challenges project

Project Dates: The PhD is due for completion in 2019

Contact: Anna Bornemisza

Implementing a Novel Approach to Knowledge Translation with a Research Network – The Share Project

Despite ten years of growth in knowledge translation research there is still a gap between research findings and applying this knowledge in practice.  Recently, there has also been a rapid expansion of domestic violence research, however there remains a lack of evaluation of their knowledge translation activities.  The proposed study aims to implement an innovative realist approach to knowledge translation with an interdisciplinary research network (including lived experience participants) researching domestic violence.

Researchers: Jacqui Cameron, Cathy Humphreys, Kelsey Hegarty
Funders: Australian Government Research Training

  • Safer Families Centre of Research Excellence
  • MAEVe

Project Dates: April 2017-April 2020

“It happens to clinicians too”: An Australian prevalence and impacts study of domestic and family violence against health professionals

This PhD project is investigating the prevalence of domestic and family violence (DFV) in the lives of health professionals, and the impact of DFV on clinical work with survivor women patients.

Researchers: Ms Elizabeth McLindon, Professor Cathy Humphrey and Professor Kelsey Hegarty
Funders: The Sidney Myer Health Scholarship
Partners: N/A
Project Dates: PhD Completion date: June 2019

Co-designing a decision-making tool to assist GPs and practice nurses in the decision to report child abuse

General practitioners (GPs) and practice nurses (PNs) are mandated to report suspicion of child maltreatment in Australia. However, the decision to report child maltreatment is emotionally difficult for GPs and practice nurses.  My project aims to co-design a decision-making tool to improve decision-making involving mandatory reporting of child abuse and reduce decisional conflict. I’ll be using ‘co-design’ and ‘action research’ methodology to guide my project. It is hoped that the tool will allay the emotional burden that mandatory reporting of child abuse causes and encourage more accurate referral of children experiencing child maltreatment.

Researchers: Jacqueline Kuruppu, Professor Kelsey Hegarty, Professor Cathy Humphreys and Dr Gemma McKibbin
Funders: N/A
Partners: N/A
Project Dates: April 2018 – April 2021

The socio-cultural factors of adult family homicide

The research examines the socio-cultural factors of adult familial homicide in Victoria. The project aims to examine the role that socio-cultural factors can play for both the deceased and the offender and within intimate partner and other (non-intimate) family relationships. It is intended that the research will lead to a better understanding of the reasons and circumstances for adult familial homicide, be this intimate partner based or other types of family relationships.  The ultimate intention of the project is crime prevention, that is minimising in future the number of family homicide deaths.


Siân Harrison (PhD Candidate)

Cathy Humphreys, Stuart Ross and Lyndal Bugeja (supervisors)

Funders: Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship

Partners: The research data was obtained from the Coroners Court of Victoria

Project Dates: The PhD is due for completion in October 2019