Violence against women is a serious and widespread problem in Australia.
But violence against women is also preventable. To prevent violence against women we need to understand it.
Get informed with these key facts on the problem.
What is “violence against women”?
Violence against women is any act of gender-based violence that causes or could cause physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of harm or coercion, in public or in private life.
— UN Declaration
In Australia, violence against women is called many different things, including domestic violence, family violence, intimate partner violence, sexual harassment and sexual assault.
Key statistics on violence against women in Australia
On average, one woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner.1
1 in 3 Australian women (30.5%) has experienced physical violence since the age of 15.2
1 in 5 Australian women (18.4%) has experienced sexual violence since the age of 15.3
1 in 3 Australian women (34.2%) has experienced physical and/or sexual violence perpetrated by a man since the age of 15.4
1 in 4 Australian women (23.0%) has experienced physical or sexual violence by current or former intimate partner since age 15.5
1 in 4 Australian women (23.0%) has experienced emotional abuse by a current or former partner.6
Australian women are nearly three times more likely than men to experience violence from an intimate partner.7
Almost 10 women a day are hospitalised for assault injuries perpetrated by a spouse or domestic partner.8
Women are more than twice as likely as men to have experienced fear or anxiety due to violence from a former partner.9
Almost one in 10 women (9.4%) have experienced violence by a stranger since the age of 15.10
Young women (18–24 years) experience significantly higher rates of physical and sexual violence than women in older age groups.11
There is evidence that women with disability are more likely to experience violence.12
1 in 5 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women aged 15 and over has experienced physical violence in a 12-month period. Over one-third of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who have experienced physical violence in the year preceding 2014-15 identified an intimate partner as the perpetrator of their most recent experience of physical violence.13
There is a lack of comprehensive, population-wide data on violence experienced by LGBTIQ people; however, existing data and research suggests that rates of violence experienced by LGBTIQ people are at least comparable to that experienced by wider female population. For example, one study has found that lesbian, bisexual and heteroflexible women are at least twice as likely to experience physical violence by a partner than heterosexual, cisgender women.14
In 2017-18, the number of women making calls to elder abuse helplines across Australia exceeded men, with emotional and financial abuse most commonly reported.15
There is a lack of comprehensive, population-wide data on prevalence and impacts of violence against women from migrant and refugee backgrounds. Specific studies suggest high prevalence rates and specific issues of complexity, such as partner using a woman’s temporary migrant status as a means of violence.16
The impact and cost of violence against women
Violence against women takes a profound and long-term toll on women’s health and wellbeing, on families and communities, and on society as a whole.
Intimate partner violence is the third greatest health risk factor for women aged 25-44, with the first being childhood abuse and neglect.17
In 2014–15, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women were 32 times as likely to be hospitalised due to family violence assaults as non-Indigenous women.18
Based on 2015 analysis, violence against women in Australia is costing Australia $21.7 billion each year.19
Women who experience partner violence during pregnancy are 3 times as likely to experience depression.20
Domestic or family violence is a leading driver of homelessness for women.21
Key stats on gender inequality and other forms of discrimination and disadvantage
Australia’s full-time gender pay gap is 14.0%, with women earning on average $241.50 per week less than men.22
On average, women spend nearly 32 hours a week on household labour and caring for children, compared with nearly 19 hours by men.23
While women comprise almost half (47.0%) of all employed persons in the labour force, women continue to be under-represented in traditionally male-dominated industries, and in managerial positions across industries.24
In 2018, only 35% of Australians who have witnessed workplace sexual harassment in the previous 5 years took some form of action.25
In 2018, 19% of the Australian population reported have experienced racist or xenophobic discrimination in the previous 12 months.26