Developing and Evaluating a Dometic Violence Prevention Program for Dental Professionals in Australia


  • Dr. Kelly Lewer
  • Cecilia Correy 
  • A/Prof. Shilipi Ajwani 
  • A/Prof. Rebecca O'Reilly
  • Prof. Ajesh George


  • Lynne Brisset
  • Dr. Angie Nilsson
  • Dr. Angela Masoe
  • Robin Jacob Mayo


SLHD: Sydney Local Health District
UOW: University of Wollongong 
UNE: University of New England
WSU: Western Sydney University 


ISHLHD: Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District 
NLHD: Northern Local Health District
MOH: Ministry of Health 

Project Overview

Domestic violence (DV), also referred to as intimate partner violence and domestic abuse, is a global
public health issue. Domestic violence (DV) is the most commonly used term to label this health
issue, and refers to any type of violence perpetrated against an intimate partner to their current or
previous intimate partner. For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities it is referred to as
‘family violence’ as this is closer to their understanding that this form of violence can be inclusive of
other family members. While DV does not discriminate across socioeconomic or demographic
groups there are significant gender differences with DV being significantly higher for women than it
is for men.

For the last 3 decades, DV against women has been recognised internationally as a violation of
women’s rights and a serious and pervasive problem. Across the globe, 1 in 3 women have
experienced DV. In the Australian context, 1 in 4 women have reported experiencing DV since the
age of 15 years (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2019). The types of DV women are
exposed to can include physical, emotional, sexual, and financial. The significant health impacts of
DV for women and their children include serious physical injuries, short- and long-term mental health
issues, sexual and reproductive health problems and unplanned pregnancies.

All health professionals, have a responsibility and important role to play in identifying DV and
providing appropriate interventions, including referral to specialist services. In recent years the unique
role of dental professionals in domestic violence prevention (DVP) have been highlighted due to their
ongoing and close relationships with patients. As a result few oral health services across
metropolitan NSW and Victoria have implemented DVP strategies with success. However, the
transferability of these strategies for socio economically disadvantaged communities as well as
regional and rural areas of Australia have not been explored. To date there has not been a national
approach in Australia to develop an evidence based DVP program for dental professionals

Aims & Objectives

The broad aim of this study is to collaborate with key stakeholders develop, and evaluate a domestic
violence prevention program for dental professionals in Australia.

  • Synthesising current recommendations and strategies implemented in Australia around DVP
    in dental settings (This will capture existing work being undertaken by SLHD/DHSV and will
    complement the two international reviews already undertaken in this space
  • Exploring the barriers and facilitators for dental professionals (metropolitan and regional) to
    engage in DVP
  • Exploring the acceptability and feasibility dental patients with lived experience of DV
    engaging in DVP in dental settings
  • Developing and Pilot testing a DVP program (inclusive of training, screening and referrals)
    for public dental professionals (this will involve the work being undertaken by Cecelia as part
    of her MPhil)
  • Undertaking a multicentre evaluation of the DVP program across metropolitan and regional

Proposed Plan

Phase 1: Scoping Review
Phase 2: Qualitative study- public dental professionals
Phase 3: Qualitative study- dental patients with lived experience of DV
Phase 4: Pilot test of DVP program
Phase 5: Multi-centre Tria

Research Output

To see the various outputs from the program, please navigate to the pages below:

Publications Presentations Awards Training Resources Oral health promotion resources

Alignment with ACIOH’s themes


Workforce reoriented:



People-centred strategies: