Improving understandings of and responses to alcohol-related family violence for Aboriginal people

Project Details

Family violence (FV) and alcohol misuse have extremely detrimental effects on the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, contributing to a broad suite of acute and chronic physical and mental health disparities. Using mixed-methods, this research will provide substantive evidence on the associations between FV and alcohol misuse for Aboriginal populations at three field sites across Australia: 1. Kununurra (East Kimberley, Western Australia); 2. Brisbane (South East Queensland); and 3. Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands (APY Lands).

Multi-sited ethnographic methods including participant observation, semi-structured ethnographic interviews and focus groups, will be combined with data-linkage and novel social network analytical techniques, to provide evidence to co-design precision public health (PPH) interventions and enhance in-place interventions at each site with our Aboriginal community partners. By incorporating cultural and social determinants of health and local priorities into the research design in collaboration with Aboriginal partner organisations with first-hand knowledge of alcohol-related family violence (ARFV) victims and their families, and linking data on family networks and local populations, the partner organisations in the three study sites will have enhanced capability to codesign robust interventions to reduce violence and overcome health inequities in vulnerable, at-risk groups.

The Indigenous public health model of emotional and social well-being will inform the project while the highly localised collaboration will address the contributing factors in their social context rather than problematising individuals caught in the spiral of violence.

Aims and hypothesis

  1. To gain insights to Aboriginal understandings of, and perspectives on, how Aboriginal people in the research settings understand and describe the relationship between FV and alcohol (alongside related risk factors and determinants of social and emotional well-being).
  2. To develop more efficient, culturally appropriate and effective interventions that reduce rates of ARFV in Indigenous communities.
  3. To determine relational patterns of service use and perpetration of ARFV at the fieldsite regions over time and space (e.g. serial perpetrators, kinship clusters, victim pathways service provision and access).


Professor Marcia Langton

Dr Kristen Smith

Dr Sharon Huebner

Professor Glenn Bowes

Associate Professor Helen Jordan


Professor Sandra Eades, Curtin University

Professor Margarent Kelaher, University of Melbourne

Professor James Ward, The University of Queensland

Liza Balmer, Community-based partner – APY Lands

Professor Alan Lopez, University of Melbourne

Ian Trust, Community-based partner, Kununurra

Jody Currie, Community-based partner, Brisbane

Darren Clinch, Data Governance, Modelling and Analytics

Dr Fadwa Al-Yaman, National Data Resources and Data Linkage


NHMRC Ideas Grant