A numbers game: Lack of gendered data impedes prevention of disaster-related family violence.

Debra Parkinson, Catherine Sue Lancaster, Anna Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Issue addressed: The lack of a systematic approach to collecting family violence data after a disaster impedes family violence prevention and response efforts. Without evidence, there is little chance that interventions will be planned and implemented to address increased family violence after disasters. 

Methods: A literature review of international and Australian gendered disaster research was conducted, with a focus on family violence following disasters in developed countries. A case study was prepared exploring the complexity of gathering data about family violence in the aftermath of the Victorian Black Saturday bushfires. 

Results: Although increases in family violence in the aftermath of the Black Saturday bushfire were observed and anecdotally reported by funded family violence agencies, recovery authorities and community leaders, attempts by Women’s Health in the North and the researchers to quantify the increase were unsuccessful. The fragmented nature of the family violence data that was collected was a consequence of inconsistent data recording practices and the complex and multifaceted nature of the recovery effort. 

Conclusions: Health promotion theory and service planning demand a sound evidence base for interventions. In the absence of this, family violence following disasters will continue to be overlooked in the face of ‘urgent’ needs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-45
Number of pages4
JournalHealth Promotion Journal of Australia
Issue numberSpecial Issue
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • disaster
  • bushfire
  • domestic violence
  • family violence
  • gender

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