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The issue: Fatal and non-fatal drowning is an issue of global public health concern. It is also underserved.


Project summary: The DEEP team conducts applied research and evaluation to support the reduction in, and impact of, fatal and non-fatal drowning in Western Australia and beyond. Over the past decade, we have conducted our work collaboratively with the Royal Life Saving Society of Western Australia.

Our research and evaluation supports the work of three drowning prevention programs:

  • Keep Watch Program (0 - 4 year olds);

  • Adult Water Safety Program (45 years and older

  • Youth Water Safety Program (15 - 24 year olds).


Additionally, we conduct a range of knowledge translation activities and discrete research projects e.g. migrant health, use of theory in drowning prevention alcohol and use of ambassadors.

Project funding: Royal Life Saving Society of Western Australia.

Relevance for practice/policy: The working relationship with RLSSWA has been in place since 2012. The purpose of our mixed-method realist evaluation is to determine if programs have an impact on proximal, intermediate and distal outcomes project outcomes specifically knowledge, awareness, attitudes, intention and behaviour change of the target groups through the specific campaign strategies. Since that time a number of technical reports, conference presentations, evidence summaries, research projects and peer-reviewed journal articles have been produced to inform program development of the RLSSWA programs and the research agenda for drowning prevention and water safety more broadly.

Who's involved: Dr Justine Leavy, Dr Gemma Crawford, Malena Della Bona, Nicola D'Orazio, Tess Dalton.


Project website:

Twitter: @DEEP_curtin

Linked projects: WADER-N (

Example project outputs (2020 - 2021 outputs only)


  • Abercromby M., Crawford, G., Nimmo, L., Leavy J. E. (2021) I never had a thought about drowning. Exploring water safety attitudes and practices among older adults in Western Australia: a qualitative study. Health Promotion Journal of Australia Early online. DOI: 10.1002/hpja.522

  • Szpilman, D., Aguilar, J. P., Queiroga, A. C., Barcala-Furelos, R., Baker, S., Dunne, C., ... & Leavy, JE, Venema, A. M. (2021). Drowning and aquatic injuries dictionary. Resuscitation Plus, 5, 100072. DOI:10.1016/j.resplu.2020.100072. International Collaboration with IDRA



Technical Reports

  • Adult Water Safety Program: Formative Evaluation Report, (2020) CERIPH

  • Youth Water Safety Program: Impact Evaluation Report, (2020) CERIPH



  • Kimberley Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Forum, Thursday 13 May, 2021

  • Leavy, J. E. (2021). ‘Implementation’, specifically implementation challenges from a research/academic perspective. Industry Launch Australian Water Safety Strategy 2030. 27 May (Invited panel member).

  • Leavy, J. E., Nimmo, L., & Abercromby, A. (2020). Knowledge Translation Workshop. Curtin University Honours Students MEDS4002 Epidemiology and Biostatistics Practice. Monday 19 October.



  • Injury Matters, March 2021 ‘Outstanding Contribution to Practice or Policy for Injury Prevention in Western Australia’

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