Family and domestic violence in Australia

Prevalence, impacts and responses
PublishedDecember 2021
PublisherBankwest Curtin Economics Centre

This BCEC Briefing Note assesses the prevalence, impact of and responses to family and domestic violence (FDV) in Australia.

FDV is pervasive; it occurs among family members, and especially in intimate partner relationships. Around 1 in 6 women (17.3%) and 1 in 16 men (6.1%) men in Australia report having experienced physical or sexual violence from a partner since the age of 15. At these prevalence rates, more than 1.7 million women and 580,000 men in Australia will have experienced partner violence in 2020.

This BCEC Briefing Note on family and domestic violence in Australia:

  • compiles the latest data on its prevalence and the impact of COVID-19 on rates of FDV;
  • assesses the impact of FDV on survivors and children;
  • examines what businesses and governments in Australia are doing to support people exeriencing FDV; and
  • brings to light new evidence about heightened risk periods for FDV throughout the year.

This note finds there is compelling evidence that family and domestic violence has a significant economic and social cost for our community – in terms of health and justice system costs, lost productivity, missed opportunities and lost lives. The greatest costs by far are borne by its victims, and the children who grow up in its shadow. Prevalence rates remain unacceptably high, particularly in Western Australia.

The vast majority of intimate partner violence remains unreported and untreated. More needs to be done to address barriers to reporting, to secure better outcomes from reported cases, and to assist women and children fleeing abusive and controlling relationships.