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Domestic violence in Australia

Why we talk about ‘men’ and ‘women’

Most men are not violent. Most women are not violent. But the data is clear—perpetrators of domestic and family violence are most often men, while victims are most often women (Garcia-Moreno, Guedes, & Knerr, 2012).

Recent research suggests that as many as one in three women have experienced physical violence, while one in four women have experienced violence by an intimate partner (Cox, 2015).

Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander women are 35 times more likely to be hospitalised as a result of domestic and family violence (Cox, 2015). It has been estimated that half of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in Australia experience domestic and family violence.

In Australia, a woman is murdered every week by her current or former partner. Domestic violence is the biggest contributor to ill health and premature death in women aged 15–44, and domestic violence is the single largest driver of female homelessness.

This practice kit uses the terms ‘men’ and ‘women’ because the majority of people you work with who use violence will be men. Their victims will be women and children.

It is also true that men and children can be the victims of women’s violence — though much less often. All victims of violence should be treated with belief, dignity and respect.

Be aware and acknowledge that domestic and family violence also happens in same-sex relationships with the same set of consequences for the children of those couples.

‘The evidence clearly demonstrates that domestic and family violence is overwhelmingly a gendered issue. Women are significantly overrepresented as victims of violence and coercive behaviour, Indigenous women staggeringly so. Men are statistically more likely to be the perpetrators.’

Not Now, Now Ever: Putting an end to domestic and family violence in Queensland (2015)

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