Sexual Abuse and Family Violence: SAFE

Research Overview

Sexual Abuse and Family ViolencE (SAFE)

Our multidisciplinary program aims to improve the safety, health and wellbeing of women, families and communities by addressing problems of family violence and sexual abuse through early intervention. Using mixed methods, our focus has been on understanding the dynamics of violence; the links between violence and health; development and testing of interventions for screening, early identification and responses for women, children, young people and men, including the use of technologies. The program is affiliated with the Melbourne Research Alliance to End Violence Against Women and their Children (MAEVe) and the Centre for Family Violence Prevention at the Royal Women’s Hospital.

The Program’s objectives are to:

  • explore the definition, prevalence, risk factors and natural history of abuse and violence across the lifecycle;
  • understand the physical and psychological consequences of abuse and violence for families;
  • explore experiences of abuse and violence among the health workforce;
  • develop and evaluate
    • educational interventions at undergraduate and postgraduate levels;
    • screening, early intervention and therapeutic responses to assist families where abuse and violence is occurring;
    • innovative responses using new technologies for women and men to access
  • work collaboratively with community groups, survivors, local, state and national governments and professional bodies;
  • promote knowledge exchange and provide research evidence to inform policy and practice.


Professor Kelsey Hegarty - Program Leader
A/Prof Laura Tarzia - Deputy Lead
Dr Mohajer Hameed - Research Fellow - Safer Families Centre
Dr Katie Lamb - Research Fellow - Experts by Experience
Ms Simone Gleeson - Research Coordinator 
Ms Kitty Novy - Recruitment Coordinator
Dr Rhian Parker - Academic Convenor, MAEVe
Ms Renee Fiolet - Research Officer / PhD Candidate
Dr Minerva Kyei-Onanjiri - Research Fellow


Ms Cynthia Brown - PhD Candidate
Ms Jacqueline Kuruppu - PhD Candidate
Ms Sally Marsden - PhD Candidate
Ms Mandy Mckenzie - PhD Candidate
Ms Elizabeth McLindon - PhD Candidate
Ms Carol O'Dwyer - PhD Candidate
Ms Molly Wellington - PhD Candidate


  • WEAVERS lived experience panel of survivors of family and sexual violence
  • Social Work, The University of Melbourne
  • Melbourne Alliance to End Violence Against Women and their Children (MAEVe)
  • The Royal Women’s Hospital
  • Murdoch Children’s Research Institute
  • Berry Street Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria
  • Drummond Street
  • Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre
  • No to Violence
  • Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
  • World Health Organisation
  • Nexus Primary Health Care
  • Women’s Health in the North
  • La Trobe University
  • Deakin University
  • Bristol University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • University College London