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Scholarship details

2023 RTP - Engaging Australian males in the prevention of violence against women and children

Status: Closed

Applications open: 8/07/2022
Applications close: 18/08/2022

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About this scholarship


This doctoral research project will focus on the perspective of Australian males, to determine best-practice guidelines for primary prevention initiatives that seek to address violence against women and children. Specifically, this exploratory and descriptive work will focus on effective ‘message framing’ and the ‘scope and sequence’ of educational content for a variety of male audiences. Priority settings and populations, such as male-dominated workplaces, sport settings and online spaces will be directly targeted, alongside mainstream settings.  
Violence against women and children is a significant issue within Australia, and is the focus of an increasing number of state and national strategies. Such events include physical, social, cultural, spiritual, financial and technology-facilitated violence, abuse and stalking. Sadly, women and children are susceptible to this violence across the lifespan, and such events can occur within the home, workplaces, in social settings and public spaces, in residential care, institutions and online.  This issue is known affect Australians of all backgrounds. However, there is clear evidence that marginalised sub-populations are disproportionately affected by abusive relationships or interactions. This includes Indigenous Australians, people living with a disability, and people with diverse gender identities or sexualities. 

Whilst primary prevention efforts often focus on women and children as the survivors or the victims, it is important to note that males and the queer community are also impacted by unhealthy or abusive relationships. It is therefore inherent that strategies seeking to change individual and community attitudes regarding respectful relationships acknowledge this diversity.  

Overwhelmingly, males are known to be the perpetrators of this violence. It is therefore critical that they are actively and genuinely engaged in the design, implementation and evaluation of primary prevention strategies. A recent Evidence Review by Our Watch highlighted the dearth of Australian-focused studies that engaged males. Whilst there is likely to be similarities across different geographical and cultural settings, it is critical that the Australian context is carefully considered. This review also outlined specific settings as priority areas for future research, such as male-dominated workplaces, sport settings and online spaces. 

Local and international evidence make it clear that gender inequality is a significant factor in driving this violence. Simultaneously, this inequality also acts as a barrier to efforts that seek to enact change. Our Watch identifies four gendered drivers that consistently predict or ‘drive’ this violence, and explain its gendered patterns: 

i. condoning violence against women; 
ii. men’s control of decision-making and limits to women’s independence in public and private life; 
iii. rigid gender stereotyping and dominant forms of masculinity; and  
iv. male peer relations and cultures of masculinity that emphasise aggression, dominance and control. 
It is therefore critical that primary prevention strategies actively target these known drivers, and actively engage males when devising possible solutions. 

The PhD candidate will conduct a thorough scoping review of current literature to collate contemporary peer-reviewed literature, grey literature and the perspective of key stakeholders. They will then collect and synthesise data from a variety of settings, using either a mixed-methods or a qualitative approach. Using the professional connections of the supervisory team, the candidate will engage males from any number of the following groups: secondary schools, the Aboriginal community, the queer community, culturally and linguistically diverse communities, regional and remote communities, and the mining sector. Other specific populations may also be targeted.  

At each site, the intention will be to determine the most appropriate ‘message framing’ to ensure males are actively engaged with various primary prevention strategies. Effective ‘message framing’ is a critical step to ensure that messages resonate for the target audience, can raise awareness, increase knowledge and motivate behaviour change. In framing a health message, it is important to identify what to say, how to say it, what to emphasise and if there are elements to be avoided. Secondly, participant feedback will also be used to determine the appropriate ‘scope and sequence’ of any educational content that is developed to address violence against women and children. Scope and sequence’ guidelines summarise the content to be taught, the sequence in which it will be taught and any key learning outcomes. 

At the conclusion of this doctoral research project, knowledge dissemination activities will provide best-practice principles to guide future primary prevention activities. Such activities may involve media campaigns or may be education-based. They may mobilise specific communities and settings, or may target the Australian population more broadly. 

  • Future Students
  • Faculty of Health Sciences
  • Higher Degree by Research
  • Australian Citizen
  • Australian Permanent Resident
  • New Zealand Citizen
  • Permanent Humanitarian Visa
  • Merit Based

The annual scholarship package (stipend and tuition fees) is approx. $60,000 - $70,000 p.a.


Successful HDR applicants for admission will receive a 100% fee offset for up to 4 years, stipend scholarships, valued at $28,854 p.a. for up to a maximum of 3.5 years, are determined via a competitive selection process. Applicants will be notified of the scholarship outcome in November 2022. 


For detailed information, visit: Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarships | Curtin University, Perth, Australia.

Scholarship Details


All applicable HDR courses

The PhD candidate will possess strong content knowledge in relevant fields such as health promotion, public health, sexology, and/or gender studies. They should demonstrate experience in collecting and analysing qualitative data. Additional experience in engaging with hard-to-reach populations and discussing sensitive topics is also sought. Finally, the candidate must possess strong skills in community engagement, written and verbal communication, and time management. 

Application process

If this project excites you, and your research skills and experience are a good fit for this specific project, you should contact the Project Lead (listed below in the enquires section) via the Expression of Interest (EOI) form. ahead of the closing date.

Enrolment Requirements

Eligible to enrol in a Higher Degree by Research Course at Curtin University by March 2023


To enquire about this project opportunity that includes a scholarship application, contact the Project lead, Dr Jacqui Hendriks via the EOI form above.

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