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The vast majority of dangerous, abusive and violent behaviour that occurs in the privacy of people's homes is committed by men against women.  Violence against women is now recognised to be a serious and widespread problem in Australia with enormous individual and community impacts and social costs


The following basic statistics help demonstrate the prevalence and severity of violence against women: 

  • On average at least one woman a week is killed by a partner or former partner in Australia.1

  • One in three Australian women has experienced physical violence since the age of 15.2

  • One in five Australian women has experienced sexual violence.2

  • One in four Australian women has experienced physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner.2

  • One in four Australian women has experienced emotional abuse by a current or former partner.3

  • Women are at least three times more likely than men to experience violence from an intimate partner.4

  • Women are five times more likely than men to require medical attention or hospitalisation as a result of intimate partner violence, and five times more likely to report fearing for their lives.5

  • Of those women who experience violence, more than half have children in their care.6

  • Violence against women is not limited to the home or intimate relationships.  Every year in Australia over 300,000 women experience violence - often sexual violence - from someone other than a partner.7

  • Eight out of ten women aged 18 to 24 were harassed on the street in the past year.8

  • Young women (18-24 years) experience significantly higher rates of physical and sexual violence than women in older age groups.9

  • There is growing evidence that women with disabilities are more likely to experience violence.10

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women experience both far higher rates and more severe forms of violence compared to other women.11

  • Intimate partner violence contributes to more death, disability and illness in women aged 15 to 44 than any other preventable risk factor.13

  • Domestic or family violence against women is the single largest driver of homelessness for women14, a common factor in child protection notifications15 and results in a police call-out on average once every two minutes across the country.16

  • The combined health, administration and social welfare costs of violence against women have been estimated to be $21.7 billion  a year, with projections suggesting that if no further action is taken to prevent violence against women, costs will accumulate to $323.4 billion over a thirty-year period from 2014-15 to 2044-45. 17
1. Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC), 2015. 
2. Cox, P. (2015) Violence against women: Additional analysis of the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Personal Safety Survey 2012, Horizons Research Report, Issue 1, Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS), Sydney; and Woodlock, D., Healey, L., Howe, K., McGuire, M., Geddes, V. and Granek, S. (2014) Voices against violence paper one: Summary report and recommendations, Women with Disabilities Victoria, Office of the Public Advocate and Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria.
3. Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 2012.
4. In 2012, 17% of all women and 5% of men had experienced violence by a partner since the age of 15. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2013), Australian Bureau of Statistics (2013) Personal Safety, Australia 2012, Cat. No. 4906.0, Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), Canberra
5. Mouzos, J. (1999) Femicide: An overview of major findings, No. 124, Australian Institute of Criminology, Canberra, pp. 1-6; Statistics Canada (2003) Family violence in Canada: A statistical profile 2003, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Ministry of Justice, Canada.
6. National Crime Prevention (2001) Young people and domestic violence: National research on young people’s attitudes and experiences of domestic violence, Crime Prevention Branch, Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department, Canberra; and Cox (2015), see note 2.
7. ABS (2013), see note 4. Survey extrapolated to population figures on the basis of 3.8% of all women surveyed reporting having experienced physical or sexual violence from a non-partner in the past 12 months (and approximately 9 million women over the age of 18 in Australia).
8. Johnson, M. and Bennett, E. (2015) Everyday sexism: Australian women’s experiences of street harassment, The Australia Institute, Canberra.
9. ABS (2013) see note 4. In the 2012 Personal Safety Survey, 13% of women in this age group reported having experienced violence by a man in the last 12 months. This was the highest proportion of any age group. 
10. Cox, P. (2015), see note 2; and Woodlock, D., Healey, L., Howe, K., McGuire, M., Geddes, V. and Granek, S. (2014), see note 2.
11. For example, Indigenous women are 34 times more likely to be hospitalised due to family violence related assaults than non-Indigenous people. Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision (2014).
13. Based on Victorian figures from VicHealth (2004) The health costs of violence: Measuring the burden of disease caused by intimate partner violence, Victorian Health Promotion Foundation, Melbourne. A comparable national study is pending. 
14. 55% of women with children presenting to specialist homelessness services nominated escaping violence as their main reason for seeking help. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2012) Specialist homeless services data collection 2011-12, Cat. No. HOU 267, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Canberra.
15. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2015) Child Protection Australia 2013-14, Child Welfare Series No. 61, Cat. No. CWS 52, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Canberra. Children exposed to family violence are classified as experiencing ‘emotional abuse’, which, while a broader category, is the most commonly substantiated type of harm (39%) in child protection notifications across Australia.
16. Police across Australia dealt with 239,846 domestic violence incidents in 2015, an estimated 657 domestic violence matters on average every day of the year (or one every two minutes) – calculated for police data sourced across all states and territories, collated at ABC News.
17. Price Waterhouse Coopers (2015) ‘A high price to pay: the economic case for preventing violence against women’, report prepared for Our Watch and the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth).

Source:  Our WATCh - Department of Social Services

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