Abuse before the age of 15
Abuse experienced by a person before the age of 15 years from any adult (male or female), including the person's parents. Emotional abuse is excluded.
Physical abuse. Any deliberate physical injury (including bruises) inflicted upon a child (before the age of 15 years) by an adult. Discipline that accidentally resulted in an injury is excluded.
Sexual abuse. Any act by an adult involving a child (before the age of 15 years) in sexual activity beyond their understanding or contrary to currently accepted community standards.
Of the person at the time of the survey.
Of the respondent when they experienced abuse for the first time.
Anxiety or fear
If a person had experienced any incident of sexual assault, threatened sexual assault, physical assault and/or threatened or attempted physical assault they were asked if they had experienced anxiety or fear in the 12 months after the incident and during the last 12 months. If a person had experienced any incident of violence by a previous partner they were also asked if they had experienced anxiety or fear when they lived with their previous partner. Anxiety or fear for personal safety was also collected in relation to the most recent incident of stalking.
Anxiety for personal safety. Distress or uneasiness of mind resulting from apprehension of danger or misfortune. The anxiety or worry may be accompanied by restlessness or feeling 'on edge', difficulty concentrating or mind going blank, irritability, muscle tension or sleep disturbance.
Fear for personal safety. Includes fear of reprisals or the recurrence of a similar incident by either the perpetrator or another person. It excludes fear for the person's children.
Experienced anxiety or fear when living with previous partner. A broader concept than anxiety or fear for personal safety, incorporating the generalised fear which a person may have experienced as a result of living with the perpetrator of the violence. Includes fear of leaving the house, fear of men and/or women in general and fear for their children's safety.
An incident, other than a robbery, where the respondent was threatened with force or violence or physically attacked. See Physical assault and Sexual assault.
Children witnessed violence
People who had children in their long-term care reported whether or not these children saw or heard the violence by a current and/or previous partner. The children may have been the person's or their partner's, own children, step-children, adopted or foster children. Children of relatives, friends or neighbours who were visiting and saw or heard the violence were excluded.
Country of birth
Classified according to the Australian Standard Classification of Countries for Social Statistics (ASCCSS). Main English speaking countries include Canada, Republic of Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, United Kingdom and United States of America.
Includes qualified medical practitioners working in private practice, health centres, hospitals, emergency services who the person visited to treat the injuries sustained in the most recent incident of either physical assault and/or sexual assault. Excludes ambulance officers and nurses.
There is no consistent or agreed definition of being 'drunk' or 'intoxicated'. These terms are usually taken to refer to an elevated concentration of alcohol in the blood, such that a person cannot function within their normal range of physical and/or cognitive abilities. Responses were based on the person's perception of the term 'drunk'.
During the relationship
Refers to the time that a person lived with their current or previous partner.
During their lifetime
For those who were ever stalked in their lifetime, it is what happened to them in the most recent incident, NOT what has happened to them for every stalking incident.
Effects on life
The effects on a person's life as a result of the most recent incident of sexual assault, threatened sexual assault, physical assault, threatened or attempted physical assault and/or stalking during the 12 months after the incident.
Whether took time off work. Time off from paid work or work without pay in a family business. This includes time off work to:
Change in day-to-day activities. Includes a change in the usual way of carrying out unpaid work such as shopping, household tasks, child care, voluntary or community work and social activities because of the injuries they received or as a result of experiencing anxiety or fear for their personal safety. The change may have been either a reduction or an increase in the amount that the person did, or a change in the way activities were carried out because of injuries or their emotional condition. For example, they were unable to complete any of their normal household duties and arranged for a relative to do them or they were unable to attend their regular leisure activities because the perpetrator would be there.
- appear in court
- meet with the police or a lawyer
- to visit the doctor or a counsellor
- or because respondent was unable to work because of either physical injuries or emotional distress.
Social or leisure activities. Includes formal and informal social activities e.g. having friends over for dinner, or playing organised sport.
Work. Includes paid work, regardless of hours worked. Includes changing hours of work, duties performed, or taking leave. Excludes voluntary work.
Child care. Caring for children in own home or another person's home. Excludes employment as a child care worker which is recorded as work.
Home security. Includes installing and/or upgrading door or window locks, installation of a security system, improving external lighting (e.g. adding additional external lighting or installing sensor lights), removing bushes or shrubs close to the house to improve visibility, getting a dog and/or having another person move in.
Manipulation, isolation or intimidation by a current partner. Includes persistent behaviour that seeks to control the respondent's behaviour and contact with others.
Tried to prevent contact with family or friends. Long-term prevention of contact with family, relatives or friends, including those overseas.
Tried to prevent use of the telephone or family car. Excludes the occasional situation where a person has not been able to use the car because their partner needs it or not being able to use the telephone because the last bill was too large.
Tried to prevent knowledge about or access to family money. The partner controls the household income or assets and does not let the person know about them. For example, the person is only given a certain amount of money each week and does not know how much money comes into the family. Excludes money belonging to the partner's parents or their other family members.
Insulted with the intent to shame, belittle or humiliate. Intentional putting down of the person. Insults that are said in jest or fun were excluded.
Damaged or destroyed property. Includes if the person's partner stole their property and then sold it.
People who worked for one hour or more for pay, profit, commission or payment in kind in a job or business, or on a farm. Includes people who were employees, employers or self employed. People who usually worked 35 hours or more in their main job were classified as working full time.
Frequency of violence
Relates to violence by a current and/or previous partner. If the frequency of violence changed, for example, depending on the time of the year, then the person was asked to determine how often the assaults occurred overall. If a person reported violence by more than one previous partner this relates to the partner who was violent to them in the most recent incident (i.e. the most recently violent previous partner).
Relates to people's feelings of safety in selected situations when they are alone. If a person had only a young child with them they were treated as being alone.
Using and waiting for public transport alone after dark. Includes using and waiting for buses, trains, trams, taxis and ferries.
Walking alone in the local area after dark. Includes the person's neighbourhood or suburb. A person who was walking their dog was considered to be alone, unless they were accompanied by another person.
Relates to a range of disturbing situations that a person may have experienced.
Obscene phone call. Refers to a telephone call that the receiver felt was indecent or improper due to the sexual content of the message. Includes phone calls in which profanity was used or any other type of obscene message. Includes phone calls involving racial vilification. Excludes SMS or text messages which are regarded as stalking.
Indecent exposure. The act of exposing genitals, where the person believed the purpose was to distress, shock, humiliate and/or generate fear.
Inappropriate comments about body/sex life. Includes inappropriate comments in a group situation or when alone with a person. Includes comments that related to a person's race, such as implying that people of a particular cultural group have certain sexual characteristics.
Unwanted sexual touching. Any intentional touching, grabbing, kissing or fondling which is carried out without a person's consent. It is momentary or brief touching which did not lead to sexual assault. It includes groping or brushing against a person's breast or bottom.
An occurrence/reoccurrence or event of violence, abuse or assault that an individual has encountered in their life.
People were asked about the most recent incident for the various types of violence (sexual assault, threatened sexual assault, physical assault, threatened or attempted physical assault). Where a person was a victim of continuous acts of violence by the same perpetrator (e.g. in a domestic violence situation), they may have considered the continuous acts of violence to be a single incident. In these cases, the person was instructed to think about the most recent act of violence by that perpetrator when answering the questions.
Sources of income includes;
Wages or salary. From all jobs, whether full-time or part-time. Also wages, salaries or fees paid to the owner of a limited liability company.
Profit or loss. From own unincorporated business or share in a partnership.
Any Government pension, benefit or allowance. Payments made by overseas governments as well as the Australian government.
Any other regular source. 'Regular income' is defined as at least one payment a year.
Income ranges. Respondent's or partner's gross income, that is, the amount they receive before tax and other expenses are taken out.
Main source of income. The person in the household that provides the largest income.
Household income. This is a total income from all sources for all members of their household aged 15 years or over (e.g. independent children, other relatives or unrelated people living in the household).
As a result of the most recent incident of physical assault and/or sexual assault. A 'physical injury' includes any type of injury ranging from general stiffness and soreness to bruises, marks of any kind (i.e. cuts, scrapes, fractures, miscarriage, internal injuries or any other kind of injury, such as a chipped tooth, etc.).
Scratches. May have been caused by fingernails, bushes, or as a result of falling on, or being dragged on, a rough surface such as cement. Includes scrapes and abrasions.
Bruises. They are external and visible and can range in severity from mild to severe. Includes black eyes, contusions and haematomas.
Cuts. Include any kind of a cut which is more severe than a scratch, but not as severe as a penetrative injury such as a stab or gun shot wound.
Fractured or broken bones. Range from hairline fractures to a complete break. Includes cracked ribs and broken noses.
Broken teeth. Range from a chip to a complete break or loss of teeth.
Penetrative injury/stab/gun shot. Usually deeper wounds than cuts. Can be due to a bullet or any other sharp instrument (e.g. a knife or stick) which penetrated into deeper tissues.
Miscarriage. Cases in which a female respondent lost a baby, miscarried, or had a spontaneous abortion as a result of the incident.
Other injuries. Includes burns, bites, loss of fingers, toes, limbs, eyes or hearing, internal injuries, sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV and hepatitis, and loss of consciousness.
Involvement of alcohol or another substance
In the most recent incident of sexual assault, threatened sexual assault, physical assault and/or threatened or attempted physical assault. Alcohol or another substance was involved if the person or the perpetrator were under the influence of alcohol or another substance at the time of the incident or if the person believed alcohol or another substance contributed to the incident, for example, when the perpetrator was recovering from a hangover or the person believed that their drink had been spiked.
Another substance. Includes any mood altering substances, whether legal or not, e.g. marijuana, cocaine, rohypnol or amphetamines.
Left property or assets
When separating from their current or previous partner. Includes furniture, household goods, clothing, car, jewellery, pets, the house (if owned by the person), money (in the bank or cash left in the home), shares, securities, land or share in a business.
Length of relationship before (first) incident by partner
The length of time the person had been in the relationship with their current partner and/or previous partner before the (first) incident. Includes the time that a person lived with a current partner and/or previous partner in a de facto relationship, as well as the period while they were married. If the person had left the relationship and then returned, the sum of the time before and after the separation was included.
Level of highest non-school qualification
The highest level of qualification completed.
Where the most recent incident of sexual assault, threatened sexual assault, physical assault and/or threatened or attempted physical assault occurred. If the incident occurred in a number of places, where the incident initially took place was recorded.
In a home. If the incident occurred at the respondent's home and this was the same as the perpetrator's home, it was recorded as occurring at the respondent's home. Includes incidents which occurred just outside of the home (e.g. in the front or backyard).
At licensed premises. Includes hotels, bars, taverns and licensed restaurants and the areas surrounding these premises such as on the footpath, in a beer garden or carpark of a pub or hotel.
Using public transport. Includes waiting for, or using any vehicle where a fare is charged such as, buses, trains, trams, coaches, taxis, ships and aircraft.
Outside. Includes university campuses, streets, sidewalks or footpaths, parks, forests or bushland, rural areas etc.
In an institution. Includes gaols (jails), mental institutions, nursing homes, hospitals, boarding schools/colleges and orphanages.
At a sporting venue. Includes playing fields, stadiums, sporting grounds etc.
Main reason police not told
If the person did not tell police about the most recent incident of sexual assault, threatened sexual assault, physical assault, threatened or attempted physical assault and/or stalking, and neither did anyone else, they were asked why they decided not to contact the police.
Shame or embarrassment. Includes reasons such as did not want to make trouble, that the person considered it to be a family problem, that they were asked not to by someone in the family or that they did not want anybody to know about the incident.
Cultural reasons. Includes fear of police because of experiences in their country of origin; thinks that police believe violence against women or men is accepted as part of other cultures; belief that the police are racist; not being able to talk to anyone other than their husband or wife; violence is an accepted part of other cultures; and religious reasons.
Language reasons. Includes could not communicate well enough in English to make complaint known.
Main reason unable to leave current partner
Cultural reasons. Includes unacceptable in person's culture; not being able to talk to anyone other than their husband or wife; violence is an accepted part of their culture; and religious reasons.
Main reason for wanting to leave
Includes partner's abuse of, or threats to respondent or respondent's children.
As reported by the person at the time of the survey.
Married. Includes people who are married or in a de facto relationship.
Money for something important
The phrase 'something important' was left for the person to interpret. Examples might include to pay for an emergency operation or unexpected bills.
Most recent incident of violence
If the incident occurred 20 years ago or more, information was only collected about relationship to perpetrator. This was the same for stalking which began 20 years ago or more, and had stopped 20 years ago or more.
Most recent incident of violence by previous partner
The previous partner of the person who was responsible for the most recent incident of sexual assault, threatened sexual assault, physical assault and/or threatened or attempted physical assault if the person had experienced violence by different previous partners. This was based on the most recent assault by a previous partner (regardless of whether a threat by a previous partner had occurred since then), unless the person had only experienced threat by a previous partner.
Number of days off work
Refers to the amount of time the respondent needed to take off from paid work, or work without pay in a family business, which was due to the incident.
Other incidents of sexual assault, threatened sexual assault, physical assault and/or threatened or attempted physical assault if the person has experienced multiple incidents. Excludes other perpetrators involved in the most recent incident.
Any incident of sexual assault, threatened sexual assault, physical assault or threatened or attempted physical assault by a current and/or previous partner.
Perpetrator went to court
As a result of being charged over the most recent incident. Includes family and magistrates court and cases that were still pending.
Any deliberate physical injury (including bruises) inflicted upon a child (before the age of 15 years) by an adult. Discipline that accidentally resulted in an injury is excluded.
The use of physical force with the intent to harm or frighten a person. The assault may have occurred in conjunction with a robbery. It includes incidents where a person was assaulted in their line of work (e.g. assaulted while working as a Security Guard). It excludes incidents of sexual assault or threatened sexual assault which also involved physical assault, those which occurred before the age of 15 and those which occurred during the course of play on a sporting field. If a physical assault was preceded by a threat of the same type in the same incident, only the physical assault was recorded. Various types of physical assault were identified, including:
Pushed, grabbed or shoved. Includes being pushed off a balcony, down stairs, or across the room.
Slapped. Includes a hit with an open hand. Excludes slaps with a belt or bat, etc..
Kicked, bitten or hit with a fist. Excludes being hit with an open hand.
Hit you with something else that could hurt you. Includes being hit with a bat, hammer, belt, pot, ruler, etc. Excludes being punched.
Beaten. Includes punching, hitting or slapping in a repetitive manner.
Choked. Includes being choked by hands, a rope, a scarf, a tie or any other item.
Stabbed. With a knife.
Shot. With a gun.
Any other type of physical assault. Includes burns, scalds, being dragged by the hair, being deliberately hit by a vehicle.
Physical threat, threatened physical assault
Verbal and/or physical intent or suggestion of intent to inflict physical harm, which the person believed was able and likely to be carried out.
The threats must have been made face-to-face. It includes incidents where a person was assaulted in their line of work (e.g. assaulted while working as a Security Guard). It excludes any act of violence which was actually carried out, incidents of sexual assault, threatened sexual assault or physical assault which also involved threatened or attempted physical assault, those which occurred before the age of 15, and those which occurred during the course of play on a sporting field.
Various types of physical attempt or threat were identified, including:
Threaten or attempt to hit with a fist or anything else that could hurt. Includes threats or attempts to slap, punch, spank or hit in any way with a fist or weapon such as a bat, hammer or pot. It excludes where the person was threatened with a knife or gun.
Threaten or attempt to shoot with a gun. The gun may or may not have been aimed at the person. Includes situations where a gun was left in an obvious place or if the person knew that the perpetrator had access to a gun. Includes toy guns, starter pistols etc. if the person believed they were real.
Any incident of physical assault, attempt or threat (as defined above). Incidents so defined would be an offence under State and Territory criminal law.
Police action taken
The outcomes for the perpetrator as a result of an incident being reported to police, that is, whether the perpetrator was charged and went to court.
Females and males aged 18 years and over.
Pregnancy during relationship with partner
Includes only women who were assaulted whilst they were pregnant and living with her current/previous male partner, even though he was not the biological father. Also, if she was pregnant while living with her current/previous female partner.
Advice or support sought from a doctor, counsellor, minister or priest after the most recent incident of sexual assault, threatened sexual assault, physical assault and/or threatened or attempted physical assault. The support may have been in the form of listening to the problem, being understanding, making suggestions, giving information about other appropriate services, and offering further help.
Doctor. Includes qualified medical practitioners in private practice, health centres, hospitals, emergency services who the person visited for advice or support. Doctors who were visited for the sole purpose of treatment of an injury were excluded. Excludes ambulance officers and nurses.
Minister or priest. Includes any member of the clergy such as Christian brothers, monks, elders, deacons or rabbi, nuns or any other person who operates in a religious capacity who the person sought advice or support from.
Proficiency in English
This is a non-English speaking background respondent's perception of how well they speak English at home.
Reasons for returning to current partner
Other. Includes love or commitment.
Reasons services not used
People who did not use or seek help from a particular support provider (crisis, legal, financial or any other support service including a telephone help line) were asked for all the reasons why they did not use it. For example, if a person did not report using crisis help they were asked for their reasons for not using any crisis help.
Shame or embarrassment. Includes not wanting to cause any trouble, didn't want anyone to know about it, may cause family/business conflict.
Cultural reasons. Includes not being able to talk to anyone other than their husband or wife, violence is an accepted part of other cultures and religious reasons.
Language reasons. Includes the inability to communicate well enough in English to use services.
Relationship to perpetrator
The person's relationship to the perpetrator at the time of the incident. If there were multiple perpetrators involved, the person was asked to focus on the person they considered to have been mainly responsible for the incident.
Stranger. Someone the person did not know, or someone they only knew by hearsay.
Boyfriend/girlfriend or date. This relationship may have different levels of commitment and involvement. For example, one date only, regular dating with no sexual involvement, or a serious sexual or emotional relationship. Excludes de facto relationships, and those living together.
Current partner. Includes both married and de facto relationships. If the incident occurred while the person was dating a person who they later married, the perpetrator of the incident would have been described as boyfriend/girlfriend or date.
Previous partner. Includes both married and de facto relationships. Includes partners at the time of the incident from whom a person is now separated and partners a person was no longer living with at the time of the incident.
Friend. Is someone one knows, likes and trusts.
Neighbour/acquaintance. Person who lives or is located near another, and occasionally has a brief conversation.
Ex-boyfriend/ex-girlfriend. See Other known man/woman.
Prison Officer. See Other known man/woman.
Other known man/woman. Any man/woman who does not fit into any of the above categories, for example, family members, doctors or teachers. Includes 'ex-partner of partner' and carers.
Separated from partner
Whether the person stopped then started their relationship with their current or previous partner. The separation must have been for at least one night. Excludes nights spent apart due to holidays or business trips and the final separation from a previous partner.
Includes services contacted or visited after the most recent incident of sexual assault, threatened sexual assault, physical assault and/or threatened or attempted physical assault. If a person used more than one source of help offered by an individual service then each relevant category was answered. Excludes doctors, counsellors, ministers or priests.
Crisis help. Includes shelters, refuges providing accommodation, telephone crisis lines, rape crisis service, etc.
Legal help. Includes legal aid commissions, community legal centres, Clerks of Court, private solicitors or legal centres which provide specialised services for Indigenous people, women or migrants.
Financial help. Includes Centrelink and church or community groups that offer financial help, or financial counselling.
Any other support service including a telephone help line. Captures any other sources of help the person used and covers any non-crisis type help sought. This would, more than likely, be help sought after an incident (as opposed to help sought to cope at the time of the incident). Some examples include Victim Support Service, Victim Support Program, Domestic Violence Helpline and Lifeline.
Any act by an adult involving a child (before the age of 15 years) in sexual activity beyond their understanding or contrary to currently accepted community standards.
An act of a sexual nature carried out against a person's will, through the use of physical force, intimidation or coercion. It includes attempts to force a person into sexual activity. However, attempts are not separately identified. It includes rape, attempted rape, aggravated sexual assault (assault with a weapon), indecent assault, penetration by objects and forced sexual activity that did not end in penetration. It excludes unwanted sexual touching and incidents which occurred before the age of 15. Incidents so defined would be an offence under State and Territory criminal law.
Sexual threat, threatened sexual assault
The threat of acts of a sexual nature which are carried out against a person's will, through the use of physical force, intimidation or coercion. The person must have believed that the threats were able, and likely, to be carried out. It only includes threats that were made face-to-face and includes verbal threats, threats with a weapon and threats to harm children. It excludes if threats were made and then a sexual assault was carried out and incidents that occurred before the age of 15 .
Any incident of sexual assault or threat (as defined above).
Short of money
If in the last 12 months the respondent had been short with money (at least once) where they needed to obtain money from another source, such as, drawing money from their savings, or getting a loan from a financial institution or family/friends. Refers to situations where any of the listed things happened when the household as a whole was short of money. Excludes being short of money because the person wasn't able to get to the bank or forgot.
Since the age of 15
Threat or assault experienced by a person since the age of 15 years, by any adult (male or female).
The definition of stalking is based on State and Territory legislation. It is defined by a range of activities which the person believed were undertaken with the intent to harm or frighten. Activities include: loitering outside a person's home, workplace or place of leisure or social activities; following or watching a person; interfering with their property; giving or leaving offensive material and telephoning; and sending mail or contacting electronically. In order to be classified as stalking more than one type of stalking behaviour had to occur, or the same type of behaviour had to occur on more than one occasion. People who had been stalked by more than one person during their lifetime provided details about the most recent incident of stalking. Includes stalking by partners.
Given or left offensive material. Includes pornographic material, destroyed photographs, articles about murders, dead animals (if not person's own).
Telephoned, sent mail or contacted electronically. Includes by short message service (SMS) messages, emails, or information about the person being placed on a web site.
Talked to others
Includes family members, friends or neighbours, work colleagues or anybody else. Excludes talking to professionals (e.g. doctor, counsellor, minister or priest) or contacting services (e.g. crisis, legal, financial, any other support service including a telephone help line).
Threatened or physically assaulted anyone else outside the household
The act or threat of physical violence against other people. For example, the person's partner might have threatened or assaulted a work colleague, someone at a party or pub, or another person due to road rage. Excludes threatened or physical assault against members of the household.
Took time off work
Respondent took time off from paid work or work without pay in a family business due to physical injuries or emotional distress. This also includes time off work to appear in court, meet with police or a lawyer, visit a doctor or a counsellor.
A person who was not employed during the reference week, who had actively looked for work during the previous four weeks and who was available to start work.
Unwanted sexual touching
Includes physical and sexual violence (as defined above).
Violence or restraining order
Such orders typically prohibit an individual (the defendant) from being violent, or threatening violence, towards another individual (the protected person). Different states have different names for violence orders e.g. apprehended violence order (AVO), domestic violence order (DVO), intervention order, etc. Includes orders which have been issued by the court and interim orders.
Includes an increase in the number or severity of violent incidents by a current or previous partner during pregnancy, separation or after the relationship ended.
Whether police told
Whether the police were contacted about the most recent incident of sexual assault, threatened sexual assault, physical assault, threatened or attempted physical assault and/or stalking. The contact with police may have been by the person or another person. Includes contacting the police by phone or in person.
This page last updated 21 August 2006