Associate Professor Lesley Laing

BSW(Hons)(UNSW), PhD(UNSW), GradCertEducationalStudies(Sydney)

Honorary Associate Professor


Phone: +61 2 9351 4091

Fax: +61 2 9351 3783

Building.Room: A35.742

Research interests

Social work and social policy

  • Child young people: safety and well-being
  • Social policy
  • Violence against women and children

Professional biography

Prior to joining the Faculty, Lesley practised social work in the fields of community health, child and family mental health and child protection. She was Director of the Education Centre Against Violence, where she was responsible for the development of statewide training programs for health workers in responding to adult and child sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse and neglect. In 2000, she established the Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse at the University of New South Wales.


  • Faculty of Education and Social Work Teaching Excellence Award 2003

  • Faculty of Education and Social Work Teaching Excellence Award 2009

  • Edna Ryan Award for a special contribution to the education of women and girls (2008)

Professional and community roles

  • Member, NSW Domestic Violence Deaths Review Team (DVDRT)

Current projects

  • Invisible Practices: Intervention with fathers who use violence. The Invisible Practices action research project will investigate and simultaneously develop the workforce capacity of child protection and family services working with fathers who use domestic and family violence. This national research is funded by ANROWS. Susan Heward-Belle and Lesley Laing are leading the NSW component of the research

Selected publications


Book chapters

  • Laing, L., & Heward-Belle, S. (2020). Domestic violence and family law. In R. E. Fleury-Steiner, M. K. Hefner, & S. L. Miller (Ed.), Civil court responses to intimate partner violence and abuse (pp. 89–113), San Diego, USA: Cognella Academic Publishing.
  • Laing, L. (2016). Feminism and Social Policy. In S. Wendt & N. Moulding (Ed.), Contemporary Feminisms in Social Work Practice (pp. 54–69), Oxon & NY: Routledge.
  • Laing, L. and Rawsthorne, M. (2011). Research Skills for Practitioners. In O'Hara, A. & Pockett, R. (Ed.), Skills for Human Service Practice (2nd ed., pp. 326–338), South Melbourne, Victoria: Oxford.
  • Laing, L. (2009). Violence Abuse and Health. In Bywaters, P., McLeod, E. and Napier, L. (Eds.), Social Work and Global Health Inequalities (pp. 105–117), Bristol: The Policy Press.
  • Laing, L. (2008). 'Violence', criminal justice, the law, policy and practice. In Barbara Fawcett and Fran Waugh (Eds.), Addressing Violence, Abuse and Oppression: Debates and Challenges (pp. 67–79), New York London: Routledge.
  • Laing, L. (2004). Children, Young People and Domestic Violence: a discussion paper for frontline service providers and educators. In C. Ralfs, J. Cunningham, K. Jennings, J. Breckenridge & P. Carden (Ed.), Point of Contact: Responding to children living with family and domestic violence (Vol. 3, pp. 17–33), Canberra: Partnerships Against Domestic Violence, Australian Government.

Journal articles

  • Wangmann, J., Laing, L., & Stubbs, J. (2020). Exploring gender differences in domestic violence reported to the NSW Police Force. Current issues in criminal justice. DOI:10.1080/10345329.2020.1745136
  • Heward-Belle, S., Laing, L. Humphreys, C. & Toivonen, C. (2018). Intervening with Children Living with Domestic Violence: Is the System Safe?. Australian Social Work. DOI:10.1080/0312407X.2017.1422772
  • Laing, L., Heward-Belle, S. & Toivonen, C. (2018). Practitioner Perspectives on Collaboration Across Domestic Violence, Child Protection, and Family Law: Who's Minding the Gap?. Australian Social Work. DOI:10.1080/0312407X.2017.1422528
  • Laing, L. . (2017). Secondary Victimization: Domestic Violence Survivors Navigating the Family Law System. Violence Against Women, 23(11), 1314–1335. DOI:10.1177/1077801216659942
  • Laing, L., Tolliday, D., Kelk, N., Law, B. . (2014). Recidivism following community based treatment for non-adjudicated young people with sexually abusive behaviors. Sexual Abuse in Australia and New Zealand, 6(1), 38–47.
  • Rowley, J., Scanlon, L., Laing, L., Smith, L., Treleaven, L. (2014). Improving Professional Learning and Teaching through the Development of a Quality Process. Journal of Education and Training, 1(1), 84–104.
  • Laing, L., Irwin, J, & Toivonen, C . (2012). Across the Divide: Using research to enhance collaboration between mental health and domestic violence services. Australian Social Work, 65(1), 120–135. DOI:
  • Laing,L., Irwin, J., and Toivonen, C. (2010). Women’s Stories of Collaboration Between Domestic Violence and Mental Health Services. Communities, Children and Families, 5(2), 16–28.
  • Laing, L. (2008). A Perilous Journey: Seeking protection in the aftermath of domestic violence. Communities Children and Families Australia, 3(2), 19–28.