Australia's DV data sadly lacks detail

A Griffith University academic says more funding is needed to acquire better domestic violence data.
A Griffith University academic says more funding is needed to acquire better domestic violence data.

It's an indictment on Australia's domestic violence research that the death review of a victim provides the best source of data, says a multi-award winning researcher.

Molly Dragiewicz, an associate professor at Griffith University's school of criminology, says a lack of funding means police and government statistics on domestic violence cannot be thoroughly examined.

She says most Australian research funding is one-off and lacks ongoing studies specifically designed to understand domestic violence.

This leaves fatality reviews as the most comprehensive source of data.

"Statistics on their own cannot be interpreted," Assoc Prof Dragiewicz said.

"We need interviews with survivors and their experience of trying to get help, about what's going wrong and what's not working and also with perpetrators to see if they understand their behaviour so we need to know what to address.

"That's why those death reviews are so valuable because they have interviews with people who were affected, written records of services and the number of the cases."

The Queensland's Domestic and Family Violence Death Review Unit board member has researched violence in general and violence against women and children in North America, as well as authoring books on the subject.

Assoc Prof Dragiewicz said it's not only the victims of domestic and family violence who need to complete surveys, but also the abusers to ensure the crime is covered in its entirety.

"I don't mean we should listen to the offenders and just take them at their word," she said.

"But if you go to one of the men's behaviour change groups you can listen to how men think about their behaviour and start to address some of those attitudes which are not just unique to them but prevalent in society."

Australian Associated Press