When experiencing domestic and family violence (DFV) in Australia, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women seek help for diverse needs. In response, women's specialist DFV services provide a range of programmes. Given this diversity and programme range, evaluating impact and outcome is challenging. A deeper challenge rests on who decides what to measure and how. This article describes a multi-site research collaboration between women's specialist services and researchers. Part of the project aimed to identify the perspectives and priorities of Aboriginal women users of three specialist services: one each in an urban, regional and remote location. In a series of iterative steps, Aboriginal women, service workers and researchers explored what was valued in interactions with crisis programmes. Each collaboration then moved to identify ways to measure the items and to determine when and how other service users might be asked to respond. Aboriginal women participated primarily as service users but in overlapping capacities as victims of DFV, as community members, as local researchers and service workers. The underlying principle that guided the research was to respect and acknowledge Aboriginal women as knowledge holders, producers and translators. However, clear limits to ideas of 'co-research' are identified.