Dr Karen Struthers - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Dr Karen Struthers

Adjunct Fellow in Social Work

Dr Karen Struthers was a Member of Parliament from 1998 to 2012, and served as the Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Parliamentary Secretary for Education, Employment and Training. In 2009, Karen was appointed the Queensland Government Minister for Community Services, Housing and Women. In 2016, Karen completed her PhD with Griffith University, with her thesis ‘Pathways into male-dominated trades for women: Overcoming gender segregation in trades’ and expanded her research and teaching focus at Griffith University. Currently, Karen is the Campaign Director of the 'Every Child' national campaign of the Benevolent Society, and continues to explore her research interests as a Research Fellow at Griffith University.


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Griff; Master of Public Sector Management, Griff; Graduate Certificate in Business, Griff; Bachelor of Social Work (Hons) Qld.

Research areas
  • Prevention of violence against women
  • Youth participation in social change
  • Innovation in human services
  • Community services
  • Board Member, Menzies Health Institute Queensland (MHIQ) (Current)
  • Board Member Residential Tenancies Authority (Previous)
  • Griffith University Council (Previous)
  • Queensland Women's Consultative Council (Previous)
  • Gambling Community Benefit Fund (Previous)
  • Australian Association of Social Workers – National Research Committee (Previous)
  • Chair, Legal, Constitutional and Administrative Reform Committee, Qld Parliament (Previous)
  • Griffith Health’s Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Alumnus of the Year (2016)
Key Research Publications

Parmenter, N, Struthers, K & Khokar, B 2018, 'Being the Change: Young people as peer-to-peer educators to build respect in relationships', Family Relationships Services Australia (FRSA) e-journal. https://frsa.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/FRSA-conference-ejournal-2018.pdf

Struthers, K, Watson, A & Green, G 2018, 'Changing Cultures and Building Bridges: Domestic violence practitioners and police collaborate and co-locate in Project Hera', Family Relationships Services Australia (FRSA) e-journal. https://frsa.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/FRSA-conference-ejournal-2018.pdf

Struthers, K & Williams, G 2017, 'Principled action by young people: R4Respect', Queensland Review, vol. 24(1), 100–115.

Struthers, K, Tilbury, C & Williams, G 2017, 'Young People Leading Change in Domestic Violence Prevention: R4Respect', Children Australia, 1–12.

Struthers, K & Tilbury, C 2017, 'Young people as agents of change on domestic violence', Child Family Community Australia (CFCA) AIFS. https://aifs.gov.au/cfca/2017/09/27/young-people-agents-change-domestic-violence

Struthers, K 2016, Pathways into male-dominated trades for girls. Overcoming gender segregation in the trades. PhD Thesis. Griffith University.

McAuliffe, D, Tilbury, C, Chenoweth, L, Stehlik, D, Struthers, K, Aitchison, R 2015, '(Re)Valuing Relationships in Child Protection Practice', Journal of Social Work Practice [On-line 30 December 2015].

Wynne, R, Macklin, J, Plibersek,T, Borger, D, Struthers, K, Buswell, T, Rankine, J, Thorp, L, Burch, J & Knight, R 2009, 'Implementing National Housing Reforms', A progress report to COAG. http://www.dhs.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/564381/Implementing-national-housing-reforms.pdf

Struthers, K 2003, 'Hands on Parliament. A Parliamentary Committee Inquiry into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ Participation in Queensland’s Democratic process'. Legal Constitutional and Administrative Committee.

Struthers, K 2002, Public Private Partnerships: Proceed With Caution in Funding Public Schools. Masters Thesis Griffith University, Brisbane.

Nancarrow, H & Struthers, K 1995, 'The Growth of Domestic Violence Responses in Australia: A Flash in the Pan or a Sustainable Program for Change?', Social Alternatives, Vol. 14:1.

Contact Dr Karen Struthers via email kstruthe@usc.edu.au.