Women who use force – Evaluation of Positive Shift

While the dominant pattern of domestic and family violence (DFV) is male violence perpetrated against women, there are some women who use force against adult members of their families. The majority of these women are themselves victims/survivors of DFV. At times women are wrongly identified as the perpetrator or seen as having responsibility in mutual violence.

This project is developing the Australian knowledge base about women who use force and appropriate service responses. The research program comprises a number of components.

  1. Piloting of the +Shift program for women who use violence in intimate relationships
    (+Shift is adapted from the VISTA program curriculum developed by Lisa Young Larance, Allison Hoffman, and Jane Baldwin Shivas in the USA)
  2. Evaluation of +Shift
  3. Literature reviews – conceptualising the topic and programs and service responses for women who use force
  4. Workforce questionnaire to identify issues for the workforce in responding to this complex aspect DFV work.

Researchers: Professor Cathy Humphreys, UoM,
Dr Margaret Kertesz, UoM,
Anneliese Spiteri-Staines, UoM,
Dr Georgia Ovenden, UoM
Lisa Young Larance, University of Michigan

Funders: Department of Social Services

Partner: Curtin University, Baptcare, Berry Street

Project Dates: 2018-2020

Contact: Margaret Kertesz


Working with women who use force: a feasibility study protocol of the Positive (+) SHIFT group work programme in Australia.

Kertesz, M., Ovenden, G., & Humphreys, C. (2019). Independent Evaluation of +SHIFT at Tarrengower Prison. Melbourne: University of Melbourne.