Quick escape (ESC)

The evidence

The data shows that domestic abuse is a serious problem in Australia and that gender plays a critical part in the violence.

On this page
Content warning This page involves descriptions and discussion of the experiences and impacts of domestic and family violence. Some survivors might find its content troubling.

In Australia, domestic, family and sexual violence is found across all cultures, ages and socio-economic groups, however, it is not possible to measure the true extent of the problem as most incidents of domestic, family and sexual violence go unreported. 1

Deaths of women

Domestic and family violence against women is a serious issue with devastating consequences.

Australian women are most at risk of fatal violence in their own home at the hands of a male well known to them who has a history of violence.

Murder investigations and trials can take years, so it is impossible to get recent figures on confirmed murders. But the latest data available records 234 "femicides" between January 2014 and December 2016. 2 The two-year figure amounts to about one woman being violently murdered every 4.7 days in Australia, by known and unknown perpetrators. In the 59 cases where the relationship between victim and perpetrator was known, more than half of these murders of women were committed by intimate partners.

As a comparison, a total of six people have been killed in what were officially labelled as terrorist incidents in Australia over the last 20 years (and three of the six people killed were the perpetrators). 3

Current statistics are damning

"While the numbers make us momentarily despair, I must remind myself of this: if it seems worse it is partly because, finally, we are really looking."

Kathryn Heyman
  • 1 in 6 women and 1 in 20 men in Australia have experienced physical or sexual violence from a current or former partner. 4
  • 1 in 4 Australian women have experienced emotional abuse by a current or former partner. 5
  • 95% of all victims of violence in Australia report a male perpetrator. 6
  • While men are more likely to experience violence by other men in public places, women are more likely to experience violence from men they know, often in the home. 7
  • Domestic violence against https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/counting-dead-women-and-the-men-behind-their-violent-deaths-20180601-p4zivp.htmlwomen results, on average, in a police call-out once every two minutes across Australia. 8
  • Intimate partner violence contributes to more death, disability and illness in women aged 15 to 44 than any other preventable factor. 9
  • 103 women were killed in family violence–related homicides in 2015, which accounts for two-thirds of all victims. 10

When it comes to violence, the most dangerous place in Australia for a woman to be is at home with her partner on a Saturday night, while the most dangerous place for a man to be is out in public with a group of other men.

95 percent of men and 80 percent of women who have experienced violence from a current partner have never contacted the police. 11 Experts say under-reporting means we do not know the true incidence and prevalence of domestic and family violence. And despite public awareness campaigns, the rates of domestic violence have not improved. 12

  1. http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/rp1415/ViolenceAust
  2. https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/counting-dead-women-and-the-men-behind-their-violent-deaths-20180601-p4zivp.html
  3. https://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/search/Results.aspx?expanded=no&casualties_type=b&casualties_max=&dtp2=all&success=yes&country=14&ob=GTDID&od=desc&page=1&count=50#results-table
  4. http://www.abc.net.au/news/factcheck/2016-04-06/fact-file-domestic-violence-statistics/7147938
  5. http://anrows.org.au/sites/default/files/Violence-Against-Australian-Women-Key-Statistics.pdf
  6. https://www.ourwatch.org.au/Understanding-Violence/Facts-and-figures
  7. https://www.ourwatch.org.au/Understanding-Violence/Facts-and-figures
  8. https://www.ourwatch.org.au/Understanding-Violence/Facts-and-figures
  9. https://www.ourwatch.org.au/Understanding-Violence/Facts-and-figures
  10. http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/[email protected]/Lookup/by%20Subject/4510.0~2015~Main%20Features~Experimental%20Family%20and%20Domestic%20Violence%20Statistics~6
  11. http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/[email protected]/Latestproducts/25AF91125718ADF1CA257C3D000D856A?opendocument
  12. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-11-08/sexual-violence-and-harassment-going-up-abs-survey/9129342