We conduct multidisciplinary research into childhood adversities including maltreatment, trauma and injury, violence and burden of disease. We use sophisticated methods to measure adversities, analyse their effects, and design and test interventions in a range of settings. These settings span families and neighbourhoods, education (e.g., schools and early childhood care and education), social organisations (e.g., sports, cultural, arts and recreational groups), workplaces (e.g., retail, hospitality and food services), and community and public spaces.

Our expertise across disciplines and methodologies, and our teamwork and collaborations, allow us to design sophisticated research and answer complex questions. Uniting our work is an aim to improve how health, social and regulatory systems can better prevent, identify and respond to childhood adversity to enhance social justice and improve children’s health over the lifespan.  Working with Australian and international partners in the public, private and non-profit sectors, our researchers have been addressing these urgent concerns through research which directly informs creative and cost-effective policy responses. The scope and impact of our new and ongoing projects has been extensive. These programs of research have resulted in substantial end-user impacts.


Measurement of the prevalence of childhood adversities and their effects

We conduct national studies of the prevalence of single and multiple forms of childhood adversity, using sophisticated methodologies. We identify the nature and extent of maltreatment, trauma and violence, and of risk and protective factors. Our studies have identified the burden of disease caused by single and multi-form adversities. We conduct studies in Australia, in countries overseas, and in multiple countries. We work with other internationally reputed collaborators and publish findings in leading journals.

Analysis of the health, economic and social consequences of adversities, and of risk and protective factors

We work in teams to conduct studies at the national and international level using to identify the diverse consequences of these adversities, including when they co-occur. In these studies, we use large datasets, meta-analyses, primary population studies, and longitudinal studies. Our work includes some of the most prominent studies done in Australia and internationally. This work helps to inform governments, policy-makers, and industry bodies about the state of evidence, and about where they can best invest in prevention.

Evaluating health, social policy, educational and legal interventions

We design and conduct complex evaluative research to explore the effects of interventions. The big questions facing societies include how best to prevent, identify and respond to childhood adversities in the contemporary social environment. Our work in this context measures the differences made by specific interventions and policy responses implemented by health, educational, legal and social systems, and we chart trends over time. We analyse and compare interventions to find out what works, and what else needs to be done. We explore gaps in systemic approaches and professional standards and training, and identify ways to solve these problems that are theoretically legitimate, economically prudent, and practically feasible.


For more information, read about our current research projects and the social impact of our research.  Also visit our research students page to see the profiles of our higher degree research students.