Dr Marian Esler

ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences

Research interests

·        Family law and family relationships and wellbeing

·        family violence, including its impact on children and young people

·        the long-term effects on adults with lived experience of child sexual abuse and other forms of maltreatment

·        improving outcomes for children and families through identifying and supporting effective evidence-based practice

·        working to improve consistency between major Australian longitudinal and cross-sectional surveys

·        using data to inform our understanding of families and communities.



Marian joined the ANU in 2019 after working for many years in both the non-government and public sectors and has decades of experience in research, policy and practice.

After working for a number of years as a social worker in ACT Health, she moved to Centacare, Canberra and Goulburn, at first as a school counsellor, then as the coordinator of programs for young people and eventually as the Manager of Centacare’s Family, Youth and Relationships Program.  A major focus of these years was building strong collaborative relationships with other Commonwealth-funded services in the ACT and surrounding areas.

In her roles in the Australian Public Service, she was responsible for commissioning, managing and contributing to major research and evaluation projects relating to families, family law, child support and family violence.  From August 2015 to October 2018, she was responsible for all the research and data activities under the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022 (the National Plan), as well as several capacity-building projects funded under the Third Action Plan to improve service responses to adults and children experiencing family violence.

The research activities included the Personal Safety Survey undertaken every four years by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the National Community Attitudes towards Violence against Women Survey conducted every four years, a major study into the impact of violence on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their children and managing various grant agreements with Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety.

She was also responsible for the implementation of the National Data Collection and Reporting Framework, including managing a number of specific cross-jurisdictional data development projects and working closely with both the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare to bring together relevant data collections.


Projects and Grants

Grants information is drawn from ARIES. To add or update Projects or Grants information please contact your College Research Office.

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Updated:  02 June 2023 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers