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Supervision for Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault researchers

While supervision is usually a required aspect of working in DVSA practice, for researchers and scholars in these areas there is, typically, little recognition of the impact that this research can have on them (Kumar & Cavallaro, 2018). Often researchers work alone in their area of speciality, with no connection to a community of other researchers. This isolation can exacerbate the impact of DVSA research (Coles, Astbury, Dartnall & Limjerwala, 2014). There are also pressures from institutions to publish on DVSA research, to travel and present this research at conferences, and to bring in research funding, all of which can further compound the effects of research in this area (Coles et al., 2014). 


Most clinical supervisors are usually experienced in working with direct service practitioners, and do not always know the specific ways that research can impact on researchers.  Conducting interviews, transcribing, coding findings, analysing findings, writing up projects, debating findings, presenting at conferences and media interviews are examples of the different stages of research that can impact on researchers (Dunn, 1991). As the role of a researcher is different to that of a practitioner, with less opportunity to offer practical assistance to victim-survivors, there can be a potential for the experience to be more traumatising than direct service work in DVSA (Coles et al., 2014). There is also a risk to researchers’ wellbeing when their past or present experiences are similar to those that they are researching (Johnson, 2009).


Research Supervision

Deb and Delanie are both experienced researchers in DVSA and can provide the specific type of supervision that is often needed by researchers in the DVSA field. We offer:


  • Personal reflection and debriefing

We can provide you with a supportive and non-pathologising space to talk through issues that are raised by the research you are involved with.


  • Research work strategies

We can help you with strategies to assist you with your work, particularly around time management methods, work/life balance, and project management and leadership.


  • Vicarious trauma support and information

We can support you with practices to work with vicarious trauma (read more about our understanding of vicarious trauma here) including feminist responses to trauma, mindful self-compassion, and evidence-based self-care practices. 


  • Organisational strategies

We can suggest ways to work with your institution/organisation to better support you in your research. We recognise that much of the burden of care for researchers is often placed on the individual researcher. Therefore we believe that part of our supervision work is also to provide advice and training to institutions and organisations on the ways they can better support those doing DVSA research and around their responsibilities regarding DVSA research. Please contact us for more information.


  • Project-based contracts

We can also offer project-based contracts, where we support your team of researchers working on particular projects, as well as offer support to victim-survivors that may be participating in your research. We’re happy to discuss these services with you to cater specifically to your project needs, contact us here.


How is supervision provided?

Supervision for DVSA researchers is provided via telephone, Zoom or Skype. Sessions are 55 minutes. Please book here to organise a 15 minute session where you can see if our approaches are a good match for you and your needs. 

We can also provide group supervision. 


We are available to support researchers in Australia, and internationally. We are based in Melbourne, Australia (Australian Eastern Daylight Time), and our work is governed by the laws of Victoria.


Our Fees

Our fees are based on a sliding scale in proportion to income, please contact us for more information.


Coles, J., Astbury, J., Dartnall, E., & Limjerwala, S. (2014). A qualitative exploration of researcher trauma and researchers’ responses to investigating sexual violence. Violence Against Women, 20(1), 95-117.


Dunn, L. (1991). Research alert! Qualitative research may be hazardous to your health! Qualitative Health Research, 1(3), 388-392.


Johnson, N. (2009). The role of self and emotion within qualitative sensitive research: A reflective account. Enquire, 2(2), 191–214. 


Kumar, S., & Cavallaro, L. (2018). Researcher self-care in emotionally demanding research: A proposed conceptual framework. Qualitative Health Research, 28(4), 648-658.

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