ABS Personal Safety Survey: Women are still not safe and some are at higher risk of experiencing violence than others

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Author: Our Watch media team
Posted: 23 Aug, 2023
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    Today the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released additional data from the Personal Safety Survey, revealing that Australian women continue to face violence and harassment at alarming rates – where they live, work, study and socialise as well as in online spaces.

    Since the age of 15, 22 per cent of women have experienced sexual violence and 31 per cent have experienced physical violence.

    The latest data also shows that violence against women is strongly gendered. For example, 97% of women who experienced sexual harassment in the previous 12 months were harassed by a male perpetrator.

    Men were most likely to experience physical violence from another man.

    National violence prevention organisation Our Watch CEO Patty Kinnersly said the latest data reconfirmed that violence against women continued to be a national emergency.

    “Violence against women is an epidemic and national shame. These statistics are population-wide and behind these numbers are real women who have experienced anxiety, fear and physical injuries.

    “This violence is not inevitable, it is preventable but in order to stop it, we must all understand that this harassment and abuse is highly gendered and driven by disrespect and inequality towards women that exists in all aspects of our society,” she said.

    Ms Kinnersly said the data showed that specific groups of women were more at risk of experiencing sexual violence, harassment and physical violence.

    “Violence against all women is unacceptable, but we are extremely concerned that in this data shows women from who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual, pansexual or queer and women with a disability have experienced alarmingly high rates of violence,” she said.

    The latest ABS data also shows that LGBTQA+ people are five times more likely to have experienced sexual violence in the previous two years (13% compared to 2.4%) and over three times more likely to have experienced sexual harassment in the previous year (37% compared to 11%), compared to heterosexual women.* Women with disabilities were also more likely to have experienced sexual violence (4% ) compared to women without disabilities (2.5%) in the last two years.

    “Too often these women are silenced and ignored, but this survey makes clear that we must do more,” Ms Kinnersly said

    “The evidence shows that women from certain groups experience higher rates of violence due to the impacts of gender inequality combined with other forms of discrimination such as ablesim, homophobia or transphobia.

    Ms Kinnersly said that the ABS Personal Safety Survey results should reinforce our commitment to preventing violence.

    “Although changing individual attitudes is important, we also need to change the society and culture that forms these unequal and harmful beliefs in the first place.

    “We need schools teaching the importance of healthy and respectful relationships – including consent, workplaces that champion diversity and equality through policies that treat everyone equally, and governments at all levels committing to prevention initiatives,” Ms Kinnersly said.

    *The data includes women who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or who used a different term such as asexual, pansexual or queer.

    Media contact

    Please contact media@ourwatch.org.au or call 0448 844 930.

    If you cover this story, or any story regarding violence against women and children, please include the following tagline:

    1800RESPECT is the national domestic, family, and sexual violence counselling, information and support service. If you or someone you know is experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, domestic, family or sexual violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732, chat online via www.1800RESPECT.org.au, or text 0458 737 732.

    To access guides for reporting about violence against women and their children, visit www.ourwatch.org.au/media-and-reporting

    Our Watch

    Our Watch is a national leader in Australia’s work to stop violence against women and their children before it starts. The organisation was created to drive nation-wide change in the practices, norms, and structures that lead to violence against women and children.