South Eastern Centre Against Sexual Assault & Family Violence

General statistics

For Students

Tags: Statistics & Research

Author: South Eastern CASA

These statistics are taken from:
Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety. (2018). Violence against women: Accurate use of key statistics (ANROWS Insights 05/2018). Sydney, NSW:ANROWS.

Definitions

The following definitions are those used by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS, 2017):
Violence: “any incident involving the occurrence, attempt or threat of either physical or sexual assault experienced by a person since the age of 15.”
Sexual violence: includes two key components: sexual assault (acts of a sexual nature carried out against a person’s will, and which would be considered an offence under state and territory criminal law), and sexual threat (the threat of acts of a sexual nature that are made face-to-face where the person believes it was able to and likely to be carried out).

Intimate partner: “a current partner (living with), previous partner (has lived with), boyfriend/girlfriend/date and ex-boyfriend/ex-girlfriend (never lived with).”
Partner: a subset of ‘intimate partner’ that refers to “a person the respondent lives with, or lived with at some point, in a married or de facto relationship”. In this context, the term ‘partner’ may also be described as a ‘co-habiting partner’. The key distinction is that the term ‘intimate partner’ includes dates and current and ex-boyfriends and girlfriends with whom the respondent has not lived.

Violence against women is a widespread problem in Australia

Source: 2016 Personal Safety Survey (ABS, 2017)

Since the age of 15:

  • Approximately one in four women (23% or 2.2 million) has experienced at least one incident of violence by an intimate partner (intimate partner = a current or previous partner with whom the respondent lives or has lived, or a current or former boyfriend, girlfriend or date with whom the respondent has not lived with).
  • One in six women (17% or 1.6 million) has experienced at least one incident of violence by a partner (partner = a person whom the respondent lives with, or lived with at some point, in a married or de facto relationship).
  • Three in ten women (30.5% or 2.85 million) have experienced physical violence (perpetrated by another person, irrespective of the type of relationship).
  • Approximately one in five women (18% or 1.7 million) has experienced sexual violence (the occurrence, attempt or threat of sexual assault).
  • One in six women (17% or 1.6 million) has experienced an episode of stalking (any unwanted contact or attention on more than one occasion, or multiple types of unwanted contact or behaviour experienced on one occasion, that could have caused fear or distress).
  • Approximately one in four women (23% or 2.2 million) has experienced emotional abuse by a partner.

Across their lifetime:

  • One in two women (53% or 5 million) has experienced sexual harassment (experienced or has been subjected to one or more selected behaviours which they found improper or unwanted, which made them feel uncomfortable, and/or were offensive due to their sexual nature).

Compared to men, women are at greater risk of physical and sexual violence by a partner

Source: 2016 Personal Safety Survey (ABS, 2017)

Since the age of 15:

  • Approximately one in four women (23% or 2.2 million) compared to one in thirteen men (7.8% or 703,700) has experienced at least one incident of violence by an intimate partner.
  • One in six women (17% or 1.6 million) compared to one in sixteen men (6.1% or 547,600) has experienced at least one incident of violence by a partner.
  • Women accounted for three-quarters of the people (17.3% or 1,625,000) who experienced intimate partner violence since the age of 15, compared to men who accounted for one-quarter (6.1% or 547,600) of those people.
  • Approximately one in five women (18% or 1.7 million) compared to one in twenty men (4.7% or 428,800) has experienced sexual violence.

On average one woman a week in Australia is killed by an intimate partner

In the 10 years from mid-2002 to mid-2012:

Source: Australian Institute of Criminology National Homicide Monitoring Program (Cussen & Bryant, 2015).

  • 488 women in Australia were killed by an intimate partner.
  • 75 percent (488) of total victims (654) killed by an intimate partner were women.

In the two years from 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2014:

Source: Australian Institute of Criminology National Homicide Monitoring Program (Bryant & Bricknell, 2017).

  • 99 women in Australia were killed by an intimate partner.
  • Approximately four in five (79% or 99) of total victims (126) killed by an intimate partner were women.

Women are much more likely to experience violence by someone they know than by a stranger

Source: 2016 Personal Safety Survey (ABS, 2017)

  • When asked about their most recent incident of physical assault by a male, just over nine out of ten women (92% or 977,600) reported they were physically assaulted by a man they know.
    –– For those women, the most common known perpetrator (42%) was a former partner.
  • Since the age of 15, one in six women (16% or 1.5 million) has experienced sexual violence by a male they know.
  • When asked about their most recent incident of sexual assault, just under 9 out of ten women (87% or 553,700) reported they were sexually assaulted by a man they know.
    –– For these women, the most common known perpetrator was a former partner (26% or 163,100).

Women often experience multiple incidents of violence across their lifetime

Source: 2016 Personal Safety Survey (ABS, 2017)

Since the age of 15:

  • 68 percent (931,800) of women who have experienced violence by a previous partner have experienced more than one incident of violence by that partner.
  • 54 percent (149,600) of women who experience violence from a current partner have experienced more than one incident of violence by that partner.

Partner violence often occurs when women are pregnant

Source: 2016 Personal Safety Survey (ABS, 2017)

  • An estimated 187,800 women who have experienced violence by a current partner were pregnant at some stage during the relationship. Of these women, nearly one in five (18% or 34,500) experienced violence during their pregnancy.
  • Nearly half (48% or 325,900) of women who have experienced violence by a previous partner and who were pregnant at some point in that relationship, experienced violence during their pregnancy.

Intimate partner violence is the greatest health risk factor (greater than smoking, alcohol and obesity) for women in their reproductive years

Source: 2011 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Burden of Disease Study (Ayre et al. 2016; Webster, 2016)

  • Intimate partner violence contributes more to the burden of disease (the impact of illness, disability and premature death) of adult women in their reproductive age (18-44 years) than any other risk factor. It contributes an estimated 5.1 percent of the burden for women aged 18-44 years.
  • In 2010-12, approximately 41 percent of hospitalised assaults on women were perpetrated by an intimate partner.

Violence against women and their children results in major personal, government, and business costs

Source: The cost of violence against women and their children in Australia (KPMG, 2016)

  • The total annual cost of violence against women and their children in Australia was estimated to be $22 billion in 2015-16.

Source: 2015-16 Specialist homelessness services collection (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2017)

  • In 2015-16, 38 percent of all people requesting assistance from specialist homelessness agencies were escaping domestic or family violence (106,000 clients). This included 31,000 children aged under 15 and 66,000 women.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women experience high rates of violence with significant health impacts

Source: 2014-15 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (ABS, 2016)

  • In the 12 months prior to the ABS survey, one in seven Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women had experienced physical assault. Of these, approximately a quarter indicated their most recent incident was perpetrated by a partner they have lived with.

Source: 2011 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Burden of Disease Study (Webster, 2016)

  • Intimate partner violence contributes an estimated 10.9 percent to burden of disease in Indigenous women aged 18-44 years. This is more than any other risk factor.

Children often see or hear violence between their parents

Source: 2016 Personal Safety Survey (ABS, 2017)

Since the age of 15:

  • 50 percent (60,300) of women who had children in their care when they experienced violence by a current co-habiting partner reported that the children had seen or heard the violence.
  • 68 percent (418,200) of women who had children in their care when they experienced violence by a previous co-habiting partner reported that the children had seen or heard the violence.
  • Therefore, 65 percent of women who had children in their care when they experienced violence by a current or former partner, reported that the children had seen or heard the violence.

Domestic and family violence is a factor in many child protection cases

Source: PATRICIA project (Humphreys & Healey, 2017; Slinky, Katz et al. 2017)

  • In the four years from July 2010 to June 2014, child protection services in New South Wales, Victoria, and Western Australia received more than 335,000 reports of child maltreatment concerns, 16 percent of which included a concern about domestic violence.

Many women do not seek help about their experience of violence

Source: 2016 Personal Safety Survey (ABS, 2017)

Of women who have experienced violence by a current partner since the age of 15:

  • Just over half (54% or 149,700) had sought advice or support about the violence they experienced.
  • 82 percent (225,700) had never contacted the police.

Of women who have experienced violence by a former partner since the age of 15:

  • 63 percent (864,100) had sought advice or support about the violence they experienced.
  • 65 percent (888,100) had never contacted the police.
  • Nine out of ten women who experienced sexual assault by a male (87% or 553,900) did not contact the police about the most recent incident.
  • Of the 85,700 women who did contact the police, one quarter (27% or 23,500) reported that the perpetrator was charged.

References

Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2016). National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social survey, 2014-15. Canberra, ACT: Author. Retrieved from http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4714.0

Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2017). Personal safety, Australia, 2016. Canberra, ACT: Author. Retrieved from: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4906.0

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2016a). Australian burden of disease study: Impact and causes of illness and death in Australia 2011. Canberra, ACT: Author.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2016b). Burden of disease. Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-statistics/health-conditions-disability-deaths/burden-of-disease/overview

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2016c). National hospital morbidity database (NHMD). Retrieved from http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/394352

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2017). Specialist Homelessness Services 2015-16. Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/homelessness-services/specialist-homelessness-services/data

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2018). Family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia (Cat. no. FDV 2). Canberra, ACT: Author.

Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety. (2017). Personal Safety Survey 2016 fact sheet. Retrieved from https://d2c0ikyv46o3b1.cloudfront.net/anrows.org.au/ANROWS%20PSS2016%20Fact%20Sheet%20HR.pdf

Ayre, J., Lum On, M., Webster, K., Gourley, M., & Moon, L. (2016). Examination of the burden of disease of intimate partner violence against women in 2011: Final report (ANROWS Horizons, 06/2016). Sydney, NSW: ANROWS.

Bryant, W., & Bricknell, S. (2017). Homicide in Australia 2012-13 and 2013-14: National Homicide Monitoring Program report. Canberra, ACT: Australian Institute of Criminology.

Council of Australian Governments. (2011). The national plan to reduce violence against women and their children: Including the first three-year action plan. Canberra: FAHCSIA.

Cox, P. (2016). Violence against women in Australia: Additional analysis of the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Personal Safety Survey, 2012 (ANROWS Horizons, 01.01/2016 Rev. Ed.). Sydney, NSW: ANROWS.

Cussen, T., & Bryant, W. (2015). Domestic/family homicide in Australia (Research in practice, no. 38). Canberra, ACT: Australian Institute of Criminology.

Humphreys, C., & Healey, L. (2017) PAThways and Research In Collaborative Inter-Agency practice: Collaborative work across the child protection and specialist domestic and family violence interface: Final Report. (ANROWS Horizons, 03/2017). Sydney: ANROWS.

KPMG. (2016). The cost of violence against women and their children in Australia: Final detailed report. Sydney, NSW: Author.

Mouzos, J., & Makkai, T. (2004). Women’s experiences of male violence. Australian Institute of Criminology, Research and Public Policy Series (56), 28.

Slinky, A., Ma, J., Katz, I., Humphreys, C., & Healey, L. (2017). The PATRICIA Project: Summary of the Pathways component. Sydney, NSW: ANROWS.

Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision. (2016). Overcoming Indigenous disadvantage: Key indicators 2016. Canberra, ACT: Productivity Commission.

Sutherland, G., McCormack, A., Pirkis, J., Vaughan, C., Dunne-Breen, M., Easteal, P., & Holland, K. (2016). Media representations of violence against women and their children: Final Report (ANROWS Horizons, 03/2016). Sydney: ANROWS.

UN Women. (2011). Violence against women prevalence data: Surveys by country. Retrieved from http://www.endvawnow.org/uploads/browser/files/vaw_prevalence_matrix_15april_2011.pdf

Webster, K. (2016). A preventable burden: Measuring and addressing the prevalence and health impacts of intimate partner violence in Australian women: Key findings and future directions (ANROWS Compass, 07/2016). Sydney: ANROWS.

Webster, K., Pennay, P., Bricknall, R., Diemer, K., Flood, M., Powell, A., & Ward, A. (2014). Australians’ attitudes to violence against women: Findings from the 2013 National Community Attitudes towards Violence Against Women Survey (NCAS). Retrieved from https://www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/media-and-resources/publications/2013-national- community-attitudes-towards-violence-against-women-survey

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