Beyond Disasters is a program of research within the Child and Community Wellbeing Unit in the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health.
Beginning with the Beyond Bushfires study of long-term community recovery after the 2009 Victorian Black Saturday bushfires, this body of work has since expanded to include many projects across various streams of disaster resilience and recovery research.
Areas of focus include: children and schools, program evaluations, democracy and community engagement, social networks, First Nations community recovery, COVID-19 research, recovery capitals, and the impacts of multiple disasters.
Beyond Disasters is led by Professor Lisa Gibbs, with expert input from researchers, practitioners and policy makers through the Beyond Disasters Research Advisory Committee and Children and Disasters Advisory Committee. The Beyond Disasters research team is affiliated with the University of Melbourne Centre for Disaster Management and Public Safety.
We live and work on the unceded lands of the Wurundjeri People of the Kulin nation, and we pay respects to their Elders past and present. We acknowledge that for First Nations communities, disasters such as bushfires occur in contexts of historical and ongoing trauma stemming from colonisation, racism and dispossession. We wholeheartedly support current efforts to address the severe and harmful neglect of these matters in the disasters sector in Australia. We also recognise the formidable strengths of First Nations peoples and cultures, including the rich knowledges and practices of healing and caring for Country which are so powerful in reducing disaster risk and supporting recovery. We strive to participate in genuine and respectful collaborations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people for a more just, healthy and sustainable future together.
This artwork was commissioned from Yaegl artist by Frances Belle Parker, who explains:
"The healing process is vastly different for everyone. It is a pivotal part of our own recovery. This icon features five figures depicting a sense of community connectedness. They come together to help each other heal. The central figure is a symbol of calm, knowledge and healing. The remaining figures represent children as well as adults coming together to collaborate and learn from the Indigenous knowledge of healing. The ray of light represents the hope we experience following a disaster. The flowing pattern below the figures captures a sense of momentum as well as the movement within the journey of healing."
The Beyond Disasters Research Advisory Group
The Beyond Disasters Research Advisory Group is a collective of researchers, practitioners and policy makers focusing on the human impacts of disasters in terms of recovery and resilience. It is a cross-sectoral forum to exchange ideas and advice, identify evidence needs for policy makers and practitioners, and contribute to development, conduct and dissemination of research being conducted by the academic members.
The Children & Disasters Advisory Committee
The Children & Disasters Advisory Committee gradually developed after the Victorian Black Saturday Bushfires of 2009, with the goal of creating and maintaining solid partnerships with practitioners and communities involved in disaster preparedness, response and recovery. Over the last 10 years, these collaborations have been crucial for our research team to carry out high quality disaster recovery research that has a meaningful impact and is sustainable over time.
Currently, the Children & Disasters Advisory Committee meets quarterly and gathers practitioners and decision-makers from the following agencies and organizations: Aboriginal Cultural Consultancy, Australian Red Cross, Australian Childhood Foundation, Bushfire Recovery Victoria, Catholic Care NSW, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Emergency Management Victoria, Independent Education Union of Australia, NSW Department of Education and Communities, Save the Children, and the Teacher’s Health Foundation. Additionally, the Advisory Committee includes members of our Unit and academic partners from Curtin University, Phoenix Australia, Swinburne University, and the Department of Social Work, University of Melbourne. The Committee also involves community partners from the Kinglake Ranges area including Smouldering Stump, a charity organization that promotes child and youth wellbeing in the areas affected by Black Saturday, and other representatives of the community. Finally, during 2020, the Advisory Committee welcomed its first Youth Representative, with the goal of increasingly promoting the active participation of children and young people in decision-making processes related to our research and knowledge translations activities on disasters and climate change.
The Beyond Disasters Team can be contacted via Professor Lisa Gibbs to discuss current research, other associated projects and future work.
You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
The contact details for leaders of specific projects can be found on each individual project page.
- Contact Name
- Professor Lisa Gibbs
Please note: some of the following links direct you to the accepted version of the research article which may vary slightly from the final published version. We have made these versions free and easily available to you (otherwise you would need a journal subscription to access the final version).
- Quinn P, Williamson B, Gibbs L. Indigenous-informed disaster recovery: addressing collective trauma using a healing framework. Progress in Disaster Science, 100257.
- Gibbs L, Jehangir HB, Kwong EJL, Little A. 2022. Universities and multiple disaster scenarios: A transformative framework for disaster resilient universities. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijdrr.2022.103132
- Marinkovic K, Kosta L, Mergelsberg E, Newnham E, Nursey J, Gibbs L. Climate change and disasters: new challenges to supporting child mental health and wellbeing in Australia. In: Grace R, editor. Children, Families and Communities: Oxford University Press; (in press).
- Newnham E, Mergelsberg E, Marinkovic Chavez K, Kosta L, Nursey J, Bullen J, Nursey J, Gibbs L. Supporting Families Affected by Disasters. In: Heward-Belle S, Tsantefski M, editors. Working with Vulnerable Families. 3rd ed. Sydney, Australia (in press).
- Learmonth YC, Hunter A, Gibbs L, Walker D, Kermode AG, Marck CH. The impact of the Australian Black Summer Bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic on wellbeing in persons with multiple sclerosis; preparation for future and ongoing crises. Disability and Rehabilitation. 2022:1-14.
- Leppold C, Gibbs L, Block K, Reifels L, Quinn P. Public health implications of multiple disaster exposures The Lancet Public Health. 2022;7:e274-86. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2468-667(21)00255-3.
- Newnham E, Chen Y, Gibbs L, Dzidic P, Guragain B, Balsari S, Mergelsberg E, Leaning J. The Mental Health Implications of Domestic Violence during COVID-19. International Journal of Public Health, 2022; 66 https://doi.org/10.3389/ijph.2021.1604240
- Quinn P, Gibbs L, Blake D, Campbell E, Johnston D, Richardson J, et al. Recovery Capitals: A Collaborative Approach to Post-Disaster Guidance. Australian Journal of Emergency Management. 2022;37(2):52-62. www.doi.org/10.47389/37.2.52
- Brady, K., Gibbs, L., & Harms, L. (2021). Hierarchies of affectedness after disasters. Health & Place, 72, 102687. https:// doi.org/10.1016/j.healthplace.2021.102687
- Bryant, R. A., Gibbs, L., Colin Gallagher, H., Pattison, P., Lusher, D., MacDougall, C., Harms, L., Block, K., Ireton, G., Richardson, J., Forbes, D., Molyneaux, R., & O’Donnell, M. (2021). The dynamic course of psychological outcomes following the Victorian Black Saturday bushfires. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 55(7), 666–677. https://doi.org/10.1177/0004867420969815
- Cowlishaw, S., Metcalf, O., Varker, T., Stone, C., Molyneaux, R., Gibbs, L., Block, K., Harms, L., MacDougall, C., Gallagher, H. C., Bryant, R., Lawrence-Wood, E., Kellett, C., O’Donnell, M., & Forbes, D. (2021). Anger Dimensions and Mental Health Following a Disaster: Distribution and Implications After a Major Bushfire. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 34(1), 46–55. https://doi.org/10.1002/ jts.22616
- Gibbs, L., Marinkovic, K., Nursey, J., Tong, L. A., Tekin, T., Ulubasoglu, M., Callard, N., Cowlishaw, S., & Cobham, E. V. (2021). Child and Adolescent Psychosocial Support Programs Following Natural Disasters—A Scoping Review of Emerging Evidence. Current Psychiatry Reports, 23(12), 82. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11920- 021-01293-1
- Harms L, Gibbs L, Ireton G, MacDougall C, Brady K, Kosta L, Block K, Baker E, Gallagher HC, Kellett C, Forbes D. Stressors and Supports in Postdisaster Recovery: Experiences After the Black Saturday Bushfires. Australian Social Work. 2021 Mar 3:1-6.
- Kosta, L., Harms, L., Gibbs, L., & Rose, D. (2021). Being a Parent after a Disaster: The New Normal after the 2009 Victorian Black Saturday Bushfires. The British Journal of Social Work, 51(5), 1759-1778.
- Krishna, R. N., Ronan, K., Spencer, C., & Alisic, E. (2021). The lived experience of disadvantaged communities affected by the 2015 South Indian floods: Implications for disaster risk reduction dialogue. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 54, 102046. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijdrr.2021.102046
- Leppold, C., Gibbs, L., Block, K., Reifels, L., & Quinn, P. (2022). Public health implications of multiple disaster exposures. The Lancet. Public Health, 7(3), e274–e286. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2468- 2667(21)00255-3
- Marck CH, Hunter A, Heritage B, Gibbs L, Kermode AG, Walker DI, Learmonth YC. The effect of the Australian bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic on health behaviours in people with multiple sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders. 2021; 53, Article 103042. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.msard.2021.103042
- Newnham E, Reifels L, Gibbs L. Disaster Mental Health Research. In WHO guidance on research methods for health emergency and disaster risk management. (Eds) Mike Clarke, Virginia Murray, Emily Chan, Ryoma Kayano, Jonathan Abrahams, and Tracey O’Sullivan. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2021. https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/345591
- Nomura, S., Murakami, M., Ozaki, A., Sawano, T., Leppold, C., Nishikawa, Y., Saito, H., Oikawa, T., & Tsubokura, M. (2021). Comparative risk assessment of non-communicable diseases by evacuation scenario– a retrospective study in the 7 years following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident. Global Health Action, 14(1), 1918886. https://doi.org/10.1080/16549716.2021.1918886
- Shearer FM, Meagher N, Marinkovic Chavez K, Carpenter L, Pirrone A, Quinn P, Alisic E, McCaw JM, MacDougall C, Price DJ, Gibbs L: Promoting resilience while mitigating disease transmission: An Australian COVID-19 study; in Rajabifard A, Páez D, Britton I, Foliente G (eds): COVID –19 : Geospatial Information and Community Resilience (Open Access) Oxford, United Kingdom, CRC Press, 2021, pp 347-359.
- Bryant RA, Gibbs L, Colin Gallagher H, Pattison P, Lusher D, MacDougall C, Harms L, Block K, Ireton G, Richardson J, Forbes D. The dynamic course of psychological outcomes following the Victorian Black Saturday bushfires. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. 2020.
- Eriksen C, Simon GL, Roth F, Lakhina SJ, Wisner B, Adler C, Thomalla F, Scolobig A, Brady K, Bründl M, Neisser F, Grenfell M, Maduz L, Prior T. Rethinking the interplay between affluence and vulnerability to aid climate change adaptive capacity. Climatic Change. 2020. pp.1-15.
- Gibbs, L. Witness Statement in the matter of the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements. 22 May 2020. Melbourne.
- Molyneaux R, Gibbs L, Bryant R, Humphreys C, Hegarty K, Kellett C, Gallagher HC, Block K, Harms L, Richardson J, Alkemade N, Forbes D. Interpersonal violence and mental health outcomes following disaster. BJPsych Open, 2020; 6(1), E1.
- Newnham EA, Dzidic PL, Mergelsberg E, Guragain B, Chan EYY, Kim Y, Leaning J, Kayano R, Wright M, Kaththiriarachchi L, Kato H, Osawa T, Gibbs L. The Asia Pacific Disaster Mental Health Network: Setting a Health EDRM Mental Health Agenda. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17(17),6144; https://doi. org/10.3390/ijerph17176144.
- Newnham E, Reifels L, Gibbs L. Disaster Mental Health Research. In WHO guidance on research methods for health emergency and disaster risk management. (Eds) Mike Clarke, Virginia Murray, Emily Chan, Ryoma Kayano, Jonathan Abrahams, and Tracey O’Sullivan (2020).
- Block K, Molyneaux R, Gibbs L, Alkemade N, Baker E, MacDougall C, Ireton G, Forbes D. The role of the natural environment in disaster recovery: “We live here because we love the bush”. Health & Place. 2019; 57:61-69.
- Gallagher HC, Block K, Gibbs L, Forbes D, Lusher D, Molyneaux R, Richardson J, Pattison P, MacDougall C and Bryant RA. The effect of group involvement on post-disaster mental health: A longitudinal multilevel analysis. Social Science & Medicine. 2019; 220:167-175.
- Gibbs L, Nursey J, Cook J , Ireton G, Alkemade N, Roberts M, Gallagher HC, Bryant R, Block K, Molyneaux R and Forbes D. Delayed Disaster Impacts on Academic Performance of Primary School Children. Child Development. 2019.
- Gibbs L, Ireton G, Block K, Taunt E, Pirrone A, Morrice H. Children as bushfire educators - Just be calm, and stuff like that. Journal of International Social Studies. 2018.
- Gibbs L, Molyneaux R, Whiteley S, Block K, Harms L, Bryant R.A., Forbes D, Gallagher H. C., MacDougall C, Ireton G. Distress and satisfaction with research participation: impact on retention in longitudinal disaster research. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction (2018) 27: 68-74
- Gibbs L, Block K, MacDougall C, Harms L, Baker E, Richardson J, Ireton G, Gallagher HC, Bryant R, Lusher D and Pattison. Ethical use and impact of participatory approaches to research in post-disaster environments: an Australian bushfire case study. BioMed research international. 2018.
- Bryant RA, Gibbs L, Gallagher HC, Pattison P, Lusher D, MacDougall C, Harms L, Block K, Sinnott V, Ireton G, Richardson J. Longitudinal study of changing psychological outcomes following the Victorian Black Saturday bushfires. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. 2018 Jun;52(6):542-51.
- Bryant RA, Gibbs L, Gallagher H C, Pattison P, Lusher D, MacDougall C, Harms L, Block K, Snowdon E, Sinnott V, Ireton G, Richardson J, Forbes D. Longitudinal Study of Changing Psychological Outcomes Following the Victorian Black Saturday Bushfires. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 2017; DOI: 10.1177/0004867417714337
- Block K, Gibbs L, and MacDougall C. Participant-guided mobile methods. In P. Liamputtong (Ed.), Research Methods in Health Social Sciences: Springer. 2017. DOI 10.1007/978-981-10-2779-6_25-1
- Gibbs L, MacDougall C, Mutch C, O’Connor P. Child citizenship in disaster risk and affected environments. In Disaster Resilience: An integrated approach (2nd Ed). Eds Douglas Paton & David Johnston. Springfield, Illinois, USA: Charles C. Thomas Publisher . 2017: 138-157
- Van Kessel G, MacDougall C, Gibbs L. Public testimony as a source of naturally occurring data: An ethical and rigorous approach to investigating resilience in the face of a natural disaster. SAGE Research Method. 2017. http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781473959439
- Bryant RA, Gallagher HG, Waters E, Gibbs L, Pattison P, MacDougall C, Harms L, Block K, Baker E, Sinnott BA, Ireton G, Richardson J, Forbes D, and Lusher D. Mental Health and Social Networks Following Disaster. American Journal of Psychiatry. 2017: 174 (3): 277-285
- Gallagher HC, Lusher D, Gibbs L, Pattison P, Forbes D, Block K, Harms L, MacDougall C, Kellett C, Ireton G, Bryant R. Dyadic effects of attachment on mental health: Couples in a post-disaster context. Journal of Family Psychology. 2017; 31(2): 192-202
- Gibbs L, Bryant R, Harms L, Forbes D, Block K, Gallagher HC, Ireton G, Richardson J, Pattison P, MacDougall C, Lusher D, Baker E, Kellett C, Pirrone A, Molyneaux R, Kosta L, Brady K, Lok M, Van Kessell G, Waters E. Beyond Bushfires: Community Resilience and Recovery Final Report. November 2016, University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
- Gallagher HC, Richardson J, Forbes D, Harms L, Gibbs L, Alkemade N, MacDougall C, Waters E, Block K, Lusher D, Snowdon E, Bryant R. Mental health following separation in a disaster: The role of attachment style.Psychological Medicine 2016. 29: 1-9.
- Gibbs L, Gallagher HC, Block K, Snowdon E, Bryant R, Harms L, Ireton G, Kellett C, Sinnott V, Richardson J, Lusher D, Forbes D, MacDougall C, Waters E. Post-bushfire relocation decision-making and personal wellbeing: A case study from Victoria, Australia. In Adenrele Awotona (Ed). Planning for Community-based Disaster Resilience Worldwide: Learning from Case Studies in Six Continents. Ashgate Publishing Limited. 2016.
- Richardson JF, Snowdon E, Gallagher HC, Gibbs L, Block K, Lusher D, Kellett C, MacDougall C, Smith M. Separation and reunification in disasters: the importance of understanding the psycho-social consequences. In Adenrele Awotona (Ed). Planning for Community-based Disaster Resilience Worldwide: Learning from Case Studies in Six Continents. Ashgate Publishing Limited. 2016: 357-372.
- Forbes D, Alkemade N, Waters E, Gibbs L, Gallagher H C, Pattison P, Lusher D, MacDougall C, Harms L, Block K, Snowdon E, Kellett C, Sinnott V, Ireton G, Richardson J, & Bryant R. Anger and major life stressors as predictors of psychological outcomes following the Victorian Black Saturday bushfires. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. 2015; 49(8); 706-713.
- Gibbs L, Block K, Harms L, MacDougall C, Snowdon E, Ireton G, Forbes D, Richardson J, Waters E. Children and young people’s wellbeing post-disaster: Safety and stability are critical. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction. 2015; 14(2): 195-201.
- Gibbs L, Harms L, Howell-Meurs S, Block K, Lusher D, Richardson J, MacDougall C, Waters E. Measuring community wellbeing: applications for a disaster context. Australian Journal of Emergency Management. 2015. 30 (3); 20-24.
- Gibbs L, Sia K-L, Block K, Baker E, Nelsson C, Gilbert J, Cook A, MacDougall C. Cost and outcomes associated with participating in the Community Fireguard Program: experiences from Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria, Australia. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction. 2015;13; 375-380.
- Harms L, Gibbs L, Bryant R, Lusher D, Richardson J, MacDougall C, Block K, Snowdon E, Gallagher C, Sinnott V, Ireton G, Forbes D, & Waters E. Conceptualising post-disaster recovery: Incorporating experiences of grief and loss. British Journal of Social Work. 2015; 45(supl1): i170-i187.
- van Kessel G, Gibbs L & MacDougall C. Strategies to enhance resilience post natural disaster: A qualitative study of experiences with Australian floods and fires. Journal of Public Health. 2015, 37 (2), 328-336.
- van Kessel G, MacDougall C, & Gibbs L. The Process of Rebuilding Human Resilience in the Face of the Experience of a Natural Disaster: A Multisystem Model. IJEMHHR. 2015, 17(4), 678-687.
- Block K, Gibbs L, Snowdon E, and MacDougall C. Participant guided mobile methods: Investigating personal experiences of communities. SAGE Research Methods Cases. London: Sage Publications, Ltd. 2014.
- Bryant R, Waters E, Gibbs L, Gallagher C, Pattison P, Lusher D, MacDougall C, Harms L, Block K, Snowdon E, Sinnott V, Ireton G, Richardson J, Forbes D. Psychological Outcomes Following the Victorian Black Saturday Bushfires. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. 2014. 48 (7) 634-643.
- Gibbs L, Di Pietro M, Harris A, Ireton G, Mordech S, Roberts M, Sinclair J, Wraith R. Core principles for a community based approach to supporting child disaster recovery. Australian Journal of Emergency Management. 2014; 29(1): 17-24.
- Gibbs L, MacDougall C, Block K. Political reflexivity in post-bushfire research. Qualitative Research Journal. 2014; 14(3).
- Gibbs L, Snowdon E, Block K, Gallagher HC, MacDougall C, Ireton G, Pirrone-Savona A, Forbes D, Richardson J, Harms L, Waters E.Where do we start? A proposed post disaster intervention framework for children and young people. Pastoral Care in Education. 2014; 32 (1): 68-87.
- Gibbs L, Waters E, Bryant R, Pattison P, Lusher D, Harms L, Richardson J, MacDougall C, Block K, Snowdon E, Gallagher H C, Sinnott V, Ireton G, Forbes D. Beyond Bushfires: Community, Resilience and Recovery – A longitudinal mixed method study of the medium to long term impacts of bushfires on mental health and social connectedness. BMC Public Health. 2014; 14:7; 634-643
- Van Kessel G, MacDougall C, Gibbs L. Resilience - rhetoric to reality: a systematic review of intervention studies following natural disasters. Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness. 2014.
- Gibbs L, MacDougall C, Harden J. Development of an ethical methodology for post-bushfire research with children. Health Sociology Review. 2013. 22(2): 114–123.
After the disaster - ABC podcast
You've been through a disaster — what next?
After you've experienced a disaster, be it a fire, a terrorist attack, a cyclone or a flood there is so much to work through. What should you expect? How do you look after yourself and the people around you? Why are relationships, the endless paperwork, emotions and parenting so hard right now? When are things going to feel normal again?
From how to manage insurance; to supporting kids, After the Disaster offers practical tips and evidence-based advice.
After the Disaster has been produced with the support of the Australian Red Cross and the University of Melbourne. Thanks to Bushfire Recovery Victoria and the Bushfire Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre for project funding support.
Recovery Capitals (ReCap)
ReCap aims to support wellbeing after disasters by providing evidence-based guidance to those engaged in recovery. It is intended to enable strengths-based, holistic and inclusive approaches to recovery.
Key resources from the ReCap project include:
Guide to Disaster Recovery Capitals (ReCap)