Sexual Violence Research

Current project

The Sexual Violence Research team at AIFS explores issues relating to sexual violence.


Sexual violence is highly prevalent in our society, yet forms of sexual violence such as child sexual abuse, sexual assault and sexual exploitation remain some of the most under-reported of serious offences. Research has found that many people in the community hold attitudes and beliefs that justify, conceal, excuse, or minimise sexual victimisation. Victim/survivors often do not speak out about these experiences because of fear, shame and the lack of community understanding about the range of circumstances in which sexual violence occurs, and its impact on victim/survivors.

Sexual violence often intersects with other forms of harm such as family and domestic violence, bullying, and interpersonal violence more broadly. Sexual victimisation also has complex relationships with mental health, relationships, parenting, alcohol and other drugs, and social disadvantage.

These intersections can present challenges for prevention efforts, policy development and service responses.

About Sexual Violence Research  

The Sexual Violence Research team (SVR) at AIFS focuses on exploring issues related to sexual violence, such as:

  •    child sexual abuse
  •    child and adolescent problem sexual behaviours
  •    adult sexual assault
  •    prevention of sexual violence
  •    perpetration and sexual offending.

A key focus of our work is on understanding how these issues connect to other domains of child and family well being  (see AIFS Violence and Families page).

Recent publications

Family relationships and the disclosure of institutional child sexual abuse
A research report conducted for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse by AIFS has examined the long-term effects of disclosures of institutional child sexual abuse on survivors and their families.

Implementing trauma-informed systems of care in health settings: The WITH study. State of knowledge paper
This paper examines the available literature on trauma-informed frameworks, models and guidelines that guide organisations to improve service provision to survivors of sexual violence with mental health problems.

Establishing the connection [between alcohol and other drug use and sexual victimisation]: ANROWS State of Knowledge paper
This report explores the association between alcohol and other drug use and severity of, or vulnerability to, sexual violence and re-victimisation.