Domestic violence line (24 hours) 1800 656 463; or the National Sexual Assault and Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service (24 hours) 1800 737 732; if you are in immediate danger call 000. To report suspected child abuse or neglect, call the 24 hour Child Protection Helpline on 132 111.
Who Experiences Domestic Violence?
People of all ages, ethnicities and social groups can be victims of domestic and family violence. Poor people, rich people and people in all sorts of relationships can also be victims. Though it is important to acknowledge that men are more likely to be victims of violence in the community and some men are victims of domestic and family violence, this type of violence is overwhelmingly committed by men against women. Similarly, a woman is far more likely than a man to experience physical and sexual violence in her home and at the hands of a current or former male partner. On average, Australian police deal with a domestic violence matter every two minutes, every day. That is about 5000 matters a week and that despite the fact that research shows that the majority of women do not report to police. More shockingly, on average one woman is murdered every week in Australia by a current or former partner.*
Though it can happen to anyone some individuals and groups may be more likely to experience domestic and family violence including:
- Aboriginal people
- women with disability
- women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
- people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex or queer (LGBTIQ)
- younger women
- older women
- pregnant women
- people living in remote or rural communities
- women with mental health and/or drug and alcohol issues, and
- children living in a family where violence occurs
Indigenous women are particularly likely to be over-represented in these statistics with research showing that they experience violence, both physical and sexual, at much higher rates, than non-Indigenous women.
What evidence there is also suggests that women living with disabilities experience violence at a higher than average rate, though the perpetrator is not always a partner or ex-partner but carer, paid or unpaid, at home or in a residential facility. The Women With Disability Association has an excellent discussion of the particular issues and experiences of domestic violence for women with disability. Victoria’s Women with Disabilities has also produced a very readable report here.
Some fast facts:
- On average, at least one woman a week is killed by a partner or former partner in Australia.
- One in three Australian women has experienced physical violence, since the age of 15.
- One in five Australian women has experienced sexual violence.
- One in four Australian women has experienced physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner.
- One in four Australian women has experienced emotional abuse by a current or former partner.
- Women are at least three times more likely than men to experience violence from an intimate partner.
- 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.
- Of those women who experience violence, more than half have children in their care.
- 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.
- Eight out of ten women aged 18 to 24 were harassed on the street in the past year.
- Young women (18 – 24 years) experience significantly higher rates of physical and sexual violence than women in older age groups.
- There is growing evidence that women with disabilities are more likely to experience violence.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women experience both far higher rates and more severe forms of violence compared to other women.
(Above: Courtesy Our Watch)
The situation in NSW largely mirrors the national picture. The map below shows the rate per 100,000 population for domestic violence related assault offences recorded by the NSW Police Force by Local Government Area (council areas) in 2015. The next NSW update will be in April 2018. For more on crime statistics and domestic violence in the NSW justice system, click here.
Domestic Violence Around the World
Violence against women remains one of the most widespread abuses of human rights across the globe, with 1 in 3 women experiencing gender-based violence. Of all women killed by homicide globally in 2012 half of those were at the hands of someone the woman knew.
Why is domestic violence so common?
There is no one answer to this question, but research shows that it is a combination of cultural, social, economic and historical factors. It is never just simply about the people involved, either victim or perpetrator. That is why domestic and family violence is everyone’s business, whether or not we have experienced it ourselves. It is our attitudes and behaviours across almost every element of our lives that overwhelmingly determines the experience and prevalence of domestic violence. What we accept, adhere to or condone at home, in our workplaces, sporting teams, political leadership and government policies, in our schools and universities – this is all a part of the story of domestic violence.
For information on how to get involved click here.
* Please note the information provided in this website is general in nature and meant for informative purposes only, we are not a service provider and are unable to provide emergency assistance. If you or someone you care about is in an unsafe situation and needs assistance, please contact the qualified professionals and services listed above.