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4906.0.55.003 - Personal Safety Survey, Australia: User Guide, 2012  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/05/2014   
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GLOSSARY


Ability to raise emergency money

Refers to whether the respondent considered they would be able to raise $2000 for something important in an emergency. The phrase 'something important' was left for the respondent to interpret. Examples include being able to access money to pay for an emergency operation or unexpected bills.


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.


Advice or support sought

Sources from which the respondent sought advice or support from due to their experiences of violence. Includes both formal sources such as health professionals, support services, police as well as advice or support from informal sources such as a friend or family member.

‘Advice or support’ means listening to the respondent, being understanding, making suggestions, giving information, referring respondent to appropriate services, or offering further help of any kind. It includes contacting or visiting any source of help from a friend to a professional organisation, so long as the respondent perceived that they were seeking advice or support. It excludes anyone who was told or found out about the violence, but from whom the respondent did not actively seek advice or support, and help sought for any injuries, which did not involve the respondent seeking advice or support.

If a person had experienced violence they were asked if they had sought advice or support about their most recent incident of sexual assault, sexual threat, physical assault, and physical threat.

If a person had experienced violence by a current and/or previous partner they were asked if they had ever sought advice or support about the violence by their current/previous partner.

Sources of advice or support includes:
  • General Practitioner (GP) - GP’s who are qualified medical practitioners, and who respondents visited for advice or support and GP’s in private practice, health centres, hospitals, emergency services, etc.
  • Other health professional - Includes nurses, psychologists, therapists, psychiatrists. Any health professional other than GP or counsellor/support worker (which are listed as separate response categories)
  • Counsellor or support worker - Includes formal support mechanisms that provide counselling services, through Sexual Assault or Domestic Violence Support services etc.
  • Telephone helpline - Includes Kids Helpline, Lifeline, Mensline, Relationships Australia, National Domestic Violence Hotline etc.
  • Refuge or shelter - where advice or support was sought from a refuge or shelter e.g. Domestic violence refuge
  • Police - where advice or support was sought from Police
  • Legal service - Includes Legal aid, community legal centres, Clerks of Court or private solicitors
  • Financial service - Includes Government departments e.g. Centrelink and church or community groups that offer financial help, or financial counselling such as that provided by the Smith family
  • Government Housing and Community Services - Includes those where advice or support was sought regarding housing
  • Friend or family member - where advice or support sought from a family member or friend
  • Work colleague or boss - where advice or support sought from a work colleague or boss
  • Priest/Minister/Rabbi etc - Any member of the clergy, ministers, imams, rabbis, priests, Christian brothers, monks, elders, deacons, community elders, etc, as long as the respondent sought advice or support from them
  • Other - includes any other sources from whom the respondent sought advice or support from
  • Have never sought advice or support

If a person sought advice or support from more than one service or individual, a response for each relevant category was recorded.
Also refer to First person told.


Age

Age of the respondent at the time of the survey.
Age a person experienced abuse (before the age of 15) for the first time.


Amount of time taken 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.


Anxiety or fear

Anxiety or fear for personal safety was collected in relation to a person's most recent incident of violence and most recent episode of stalking (in the 12 months after the incident and during the last 12 months) and is defined as:
  • 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

Anxiety or fear due to partner violence was collected in relation to partner violence and emotional abuse by a partner. This is a broader concept than anxiety or fear for personal safety in relation to an incident, incorporating the generalised fear which a person may have experienced as a result of living with the perpetrator of the violence/emotional abuse. Includes fear of leaving the house, fear of men and/or women in general and fear for their children's safety.


Assault

An incident of sexual or physical assault. See Physical assault and Sexual assault.


Boyfriend/Girlfriend or Date

See Relationship to perpetrator


Changes to usual routine

Changes in day-to-day activities as a result of the most recent incident of sexual assault, sexual threat, physical assault, physical threat and/or stalking during the 12 months after the incident. Includes a change in the usual way of carrying out tasks such as shopping, household tasks, etc because of the injuries received and also changes as a result of experiencing anxiety or fear for their personal safety. For example, a person may have been unable to complete normal household duties because of a broken arm, or they were unable to attend their regular leisure activities because the perpetrator would be there.

Changes to the following activities are established:
  • 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
  • School or studies
  • Household tasks
  • Shopping
  • 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
  • Voluntary or community work
  • Building or maintaining relationships
  • Eating habits
  • Sleeping habits
  • 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. Only collected for changes to home security due to anxiety or fear.



Children witnessed violence

People who had children in their care reported whether or not these children saw or heard the violence by a current and/or previous partner. The children may or may not have been the respondent's children.


Country of birth


Classified according to the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC), Second Edition (cat. no. 1269.0). Main English speaking countries include Canada, Republic of Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, United Kingdom and United States of America.


Current Partner

See Relationship to perpetrator


Disability status

A person was defined as having a disability or long-term health condition if they had one or more limitations, restrictions, impairments, disease or disorder which had lasted, or were likely to last, for six months or more, and that restricted every day activities. People were identified as having a profound or severe core activity limitation if they required help or supervision for one or more core activities, such as self-care, mobility or communication.

It is classified by whether or not a person has a specific limitation or restriction. Specific limitation or restriction is further classified by whether the limitation or restriction is a limitation in core activities or a schooling/employment restriction only.

There are four levels of core activity limitation (profound, severe, moderate and mild) which are based on whether a person needs help, has difficulty, or uses aids or equipment with any of the core activities (self care, mobility or communication). A person's overall level of core activity limitation is determined by their highest level of limitation in these activities.

Refers to the respondent's disability status at the time of interview.


Doctor consulted about injuries

Includes qualified medical practitioners working in private practice, health centres, hospitals, emergency services who the person visited to treat the injuries sustained in their most recent incident of violence (i.e. for physical assault and/or sexual assault) . Excludes ambulance officers and nurses.


During their lifetime

For those who were ever stalked refers to whether they had ever experienced an episode of stalking during their lifetime, (and what happened to them in the most recent episode of stalking), NOT what has happened to them for every episode of stalking.


Emotional abuse

Emotional abuse occurs when a person is subjected to certain behaviours or actions that are aimed at preventing or controlling their behaviour with the intent to cause them emotional harm or fear. These behaviours are characterised in nature by their intent to manipulate, control, isolate or intimidate the person they are aimed at. They are generally repeated behaviours and include psychological, social, economic and verbal abuse.

For the PSS, a person was considered to have experienced emotional abuse where they reported they had been subjected to or experienced one or more of the following behaviours (that were repeated with the intent to prevent or control their behaviour and were intended to cause them emotional harm or fear):
  • Stopped or tried to stop them from contacting family, friends or community - Where a partner tries to or limits or prevents the respondent's social access to any person that they want to see, and where a partner restricts or tries to restrict the respondent’s access to environments in which they may make friends (e.g. community or interest groups)
  • Stopped or tried to stop them from using the telephone, Internet or family car - Where a partner hides the phone/removes the phone cord, puts password protection on the computer/removes the power cord, or hides the car keys from a respondent. Also includes where a respondent felt that they needed a car, but were restricted from purchasing one by their partner
  • Monitored their whereabouts (e.g.. constant phone calls) - Where a partner monitors a respondent's activity. Includes actions such as checking all telephone call lists/logs on the phone or on a phone bill, monitoring website history to see what sites that the respondent has visited, or checking mileage on the car odometer
  • Controlled or tried to control where they went or who they saw
  • Stopped or tried to stop them knowing about or having access to household money - Includes situations where a partner intentionally does not disclose their income to the respondent, or does not give authority for the respondent to operate one or more bank accounts. Includes situations where the respondent receives only an ‘allowance’ from their partner and demands justification of spending (e.g. receipts)
  • Stopped or tried to stop them from working or earning money - Includes situations where a partner prevents a respondent from working, or is forced to only work at limited times/days or hours. Also includes situations where a respondent has expressed interest in gaining employment, and their partner has either restricted them from this, or has forcibly ‘talked them out of’ it (e.g. “you should prioritise your family over yourself”, or “who would want to employ you?”). Includes situations were a partner has stopped the respondent from doing volunteer work, or ‘helping out’ a friend/organisation (e.g. reading stories at the children’s school)
  • Stopped or tried to stop them from studying - Includes situations where the respondent is not allowed by their partner to study or is forced to only study at limited times/days or hours, and situations where the respondent has expressed interest in study, and their partner has either restricted them from this, or forcibly ‘talked them out of’ this (e.g. “you should prioritise your family over yourself”, or “you aren’t smart enough for that”). Also includes situations where a partner has stopped the respondent from undertaking formal, as well as informal education (e.g. adult learning courses held at local community centres or high schools)
  • Deprived them of basic needs such as food, shelter, sleep or assistive aids - Includes situations where a partner deprives the respondent of any assistive aids’ such as a walking frame, wheelchair or hearing aids etc. Includes situations where a respondent is deprived of medical or psychological care, or is intentionally locked out of the home by a partner. Also includes situations where a respondent is forced to sleep elsewhere (e.g. on the floor, couch etc.), other than a bed and where the respondent is forced to eat differently to their partner (e.g. only rice)
  • Damaged, destroyed or stole any of their property
  • Constantly insulted them to make them feel ashamed, belittled or humiliated - Constant put downs, name calling, bullying or making fun of the respondent (either in company, when the couple are alone, in front of children, etc). Also includes situations where a partner constantly insults a respondent’s standard of hygiene, appearance, cooking or cleaning etc., or makes them feel 'dumb' or 'useless'
  • Lied to their child/ren with the intent of turning them against them - Telling the respondent’s children that the respondent doesn’t love them, want them, or have time for them. (e.g. “Daddy has a new girlfriend, he loves her more than he loves you”). Any lies or “tall tales” told to the children that were intended to cause the respondent emotional harm or fear
  • Lied to other family members or friends with the intent of turning them against them
  • Threatened to take their child/ren away from them
  • Threatened to harm their child/ren
  • Threatened to harm other family members or friends
  • Threatened to harm any of their pets
  • Harmed any of their pets
  • Threatened or tried to commit suicide

Emotional abuse excludes:
  • Nagging - a respondent whose spouse nagged them was not defined as being emotionally abused unless the respondent perceived this behaviour caused them emotional harm or fear.
  • A respondent who has a substance abuse, gambling or compulsive shopping issue (etc), whose spouse restricted their access to money, the car, or the internet, are not defined as being emotionally abused unless the respondent perceived that these restrictions caused them emotional harm or fear.


Employed

All people (aged 15 years and over) who, during the week prior to interview:
  • Worked for one hour or more for pay, profit, commission or payment in kind in a job or business, or on a farm (comprising employees, employers and own account workers
  • Worked for one hour or more without pay in a family business or on a farm (i.e. contributing family workers)
  • Were employees who had a job but were not at work and were:
    • Away from work for less than 4 weeks up to the end of the week prior to interview
    • Away from work for more than 4 weeks up to the end of the week prior to interview and received pay for some or all of the four week period to the end of the week prior to interview
    • Away from work as a standard work or shift arrangement
    • On strike or locked out
    • On workers' compensation and expected to return to their job
  • Were employers or own account workers, who had a job, business or farm, but were not at work


Employed full-time

Includes employed people who usually worked 35 hours or more (in all jobs) and those who, although usually working less than 35 hours a week, worked 35 hours or more during the week prior to interview.


Employed part-time

Includes employed people who usually worked less than 35 hours or more (in all jobs) and either did so during the week prior to interview, or were not at work in the week prior to interview.


First person told

Who the respondent first told about their most recent incident of sexual assault, sexual threat, physical assault, and physical threat.

Who the respondent first told about the violence by their current and/or most recently violence previous partner.

Response categories were as per those for Advice or Support. Also includes
  • Never told anyone.


Frequency of emotional abuse by a partner

Relates to emotional abuse by a current and/or previous partner. If the frequency of emotional abuse changed, for example, depending on the time of the year, then the person was asked to determine how often the abuse occurred overall. If the respondent reported emotional abuse by more than one previous partner this relates to the their most recently emotionally abusive male previous partner and their most recently emotionally abusive female previous partner.


Frequency of partner 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 the respondent 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).


General feelings of safety

Relates to a person’s perception of whether they feel safe when alone in selected situations and if the reason people don't do these things is because they felt unsafe.
  • Using and waiting for public transport alone at night - Includes using and waiting for buses, trains, trams, taxis and ferries
  • Walking alone in their local area after dark - ‘Local area’ is defined as the respondent’s neighbourhood or suburb (i.e. close to the respondent’s home). A person who was walking their dog was considered to be alone, unless they were accompanied by another person
  • When home alone at night - It is up to the respondent to decide whether they perceive they are home alone at night. For example, they may have a young child/ren with them but feel that they are alone because the children are too young to help or are asleep at night. Or they may have a dog with them therefore not feel they are not home alone. It is up to the respondent to decide if they felt they were alone.


Household cash flow problems in the last 12 months

Refers to selected situations in the last 12 months where the respondent had been short of money (at least once) and 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. Excludes being short of money because the person wasn't able, or forgot, to go to the bank.


Incident

An ‘incident’ is referred to as an event of assault or threat, an occurrence 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 eight types of violence (sexual assault, sexual threat, physical assault, physical threat by a male and by a female). Where a person experienced 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 respondent was instructed to think about the most recent act of violence by that perpetrator when answering the more detailed questions.

It is possible that people have experienced multiple incidents of violence. Where a person has experienced more than one type of violence, they are counted separately in each type of violence they experience but are only counted once in the totals. Components therefore may not add to the totals.

It is also possible that a single incident of violence may involve more than one of these different types of violence. In order to produce valid violence prevalence rates, in the PSS a single incident of violence is only counted once. Where an incident involves both a sexual and physical assault, it is counted as a sexual assault, e.g. if in an incident a person is physically assaulted during/as part of a sexual assault: this would be counted once only as a sexual assault. Where an incident involves a person being both threatened with assault and then assaulted, it is counted as an assault, e.g. if in a single incident a perpetrator threatens to sexually assault a person and then sexually assaults them this would be counted only once in the survey as an sexual assault. The same applies for incidents where a person is both physically threatened with assault and then physically assaulted.


Income
  • Sources of income include:
    • 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 amounts and 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 source from which the largest amount of income is received
  • 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)


Injuries

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.). Includes:
  • 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 gunshot 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 drugs

Involvement of alcohol or another substance in the most recent incident of sexual assault, sexual threat, physical assault and physical threat. Alcohol or another substance was involved if - the respondent, or the perpetrator, were under the influence of alcohol, or another substance, at the time of the incident, or if the respondent believed alcohol or another substance contributed to the incident. For example, when the perpetrator was recovering from a hangover or the respondent believed that their drink had been spiked.
  • Another substance - Includes any mood altering substances, whether legal or not, e.g. marijuana, cocaine, rohypnol or methamphetamines.


Known person

See Relationship to perpetrator


Language

First language spoken and Main language spoken are classified according to the Australian Standard Classification of Languages, 2005-06 (cat. no. 1267.0).


Labour force status

Classifies all people aged 15 years and over according to whether they were employed, unemployed or not in the labour force. The definitions conform closely to the international standard definitions adopted by the International Conferences of Labour Statisticians.


Left property or assets behind

When respondents separated from their current or previous partner and moved out, whether they had to leave behind any items of value that they had limited or no access to. Property or assets includes:
  • Property - Includes personal items such as furniture, household goods, clothing, car, jewellery, pets, etc. It may also include the house (if owned by the respondent)
  • Assets - Includes money (in the bank or cash left in the home), shares, securities, land, shares in a business, etc.


Length of relationship before (first) incident by partner

The total length of time the respondent had been in a relationship with their current partner and/or previous partner before the (first) incident of violence.


Level of highest educational attainment

Level of highest educational attainment identifies the highest achievement a person has attained in any area of study. It is not a measurement of the relative importance of different fields of study but a ranking of qualifications and other educational attainments regardless of the particular area of study or the type of institution in which the study was undertaken.


Level of highest non-school qualification

The highest qualification a person has attained, other than qualifications associated with primary and secondary school education.


Location

Where the most recent incident of sexual assault, sexual threat, physical assault and physical threat occurred. If the incident occurred in a number of places, where the incident initially took place was recorded. Categories collected are listed below.
  • At home - This refers to the respondent's 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 home of person responsible
  • At another person’s home
  • At work
  • Place of study
  • At a place of entertainment or recreation (pub, nightclub, sporting venue etc) - 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
  • Outside (e.g. street, laneway, park, car park) - Includes university campuses, streets, sidewalks or footpaths, parks, forests or bushland, rural areas etc.
  • At a motel, serviced apartments etc. - Includes any incident that happens in a place of temporary accommodation. For example:
    • Incidents that happened just outside motel, serviced apartment etc. (on the footpath, or in the car park)
    • Hotels, hostels
    • Excludes any incident which happened in a place of long-term residence (such as if a person lives in a motel)
  • While using or waiting for public transport Includes waiting for, or using any vehicle where a fare is charged such as, buses, trains, trams, coaches, taxis, ships and aircraft
  • In a car, truck, ute etc.
  • Other location


Main field of education


Main field of education is defined as the subject matter of an educational activity. It is categorised according to the Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED), 2001 (cat. no. 1272.0) Field of Education classification.


Main field of highest non-school qualification

The main field of study undertaken by a person in completing the person's highest educational qualification, other than attainments of primary of secondary education


Main reason unable to leave current partner

Reasons for being unable to leave current partner:
  • No money/financial support
  • Nowhere to go
  • Sake of children
  • Sake of pets
  • Shame or embarrassment
  • Fear of partner
  • Cultural reasons - includes:
    • Fear of police because of experiences in country of origin or in their community
    • 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
    • Religious reasons
  • Commitment to the relationship - includes the following types of responses:
    • Thought they were in love
    • Felt a strong emotional attachment
    • Missed their partner
    • They wanted to try and make it work
    • Felt responsible for the relationship
  • Other reason


Marital status

As reported by the respondent at the time of the survey.
  • Registered marital status - This item records an individual's current status in regard to a registered marriage, i.e. whether he/she is widowed, divorced, separated, married or has never married.
  • Social marital status - Social marital status is the relationship status of an individual in terms of whether she or he forms a couple relationship with another person living in the same usual residence, and the nature of that relationship. A marriage exists when two people live together as husband and wife, or partners, regardless of whether the marriage is formalised through registration.


Most recent incident or episode

Refers to respondent's most recent incident of violence or most recent episode of stalking.

Note: Due to difficulties associated with recall, detailed information was not collected if a person's most recent incident of violence occurred 20 years ago or more, information was only collected about relationship to perpetrator. This was the same applied for episodes of stalking which began 20 years ago or more, and episodes of stalking that had stopped 20 years ago or more.


Most recently violent previous partner

Where a person had experienced sexual assault, sexual threat, physical assault and/or physical threat by more than one previous partner, respondents were asked to focus on the previous partner who had been violent towards them most recently when answering the more detailed questions about the violence by their previous partner.


Other known person

See Relationship to perpetrator


Overall Life Satisfaction

Overall life satisfaction is a summary measure of subjective well-being against a scale ranging from delighted through to terrible. It measures a person's perceived level of life satisfaction in general and doesn't take into account specific illnesses or problems the person may have.


Partner

The term 'partner' in the PSS is used to describe a person the respondent lives with, or lived with at some point, in a married or de facto relationship.


Partner violence

Partner violence refers to any incident of sexual assault, sexual threat, physical assault or physical threat by a current and/or previous partner. See Relationship to perpetrator.

Partner violence does not include violence by a "boyfriend/girlfriend or date". For the PSS a boyfriend/girlfriend or date refers to a person the respondent dated, or was intimately involved with but did not live with. If violence occurred while the respondent was dating a person whom they later lived with, the perpetrator at the time of the incident would have been classified as a boyfriend/girlfriend or date.


Perpetrator went to court

As a result of being charged over the most recent or as a result of ever being charged for current and/or previous partner violence. ‘Court’ includes Family and Magistrates Court as well as cases still pending.


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.


Physical assault

Involves the use of physical force with the intent to harm or frighten a person. Assaults may have occurred in conjunction with a robbery and includes incidents where a person was assaulted in their line of work (e.g. assaulted while working as a security guard). 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. Does not include 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 assault excludes incidents of sexual assault or sexual threat which also involved physical assault, and excludes incidents that occurred during the course of play on a sporting field. Physical assault also excludes incidents of violence that occurred before the age of 15 - these are defined as Physical Abuse.

If a person experienced physical assault and physical threat in the same incident, this was counted once only as a physical assault. If a person experienced sexual assault and physical assault in the same incident, this was counted once only as a sexual assault.


Physical threat

Is an attempt to inflict physical harm or a threat or suggestion of intent to inflict physical harm, that was made face-to-face where the person believes it was able to and likely to be carried out. Physical threat includes incidents where a person was threatened in their line of work.

Various types of physical threats 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
  • Threaten or attempt to stab with a knife
  • Threaten or attempt to shoot with a gun - The gun may or may not have been aimed at the respondent. Includes situations where a gun was left in an obvious place or if the respondent knew that the perpetrator had access to a gun. Includes toy guns, starter pistols etc., if the respondent believed they were real
  • Threaten or attempt to physically hurt in any other way

It excludes any incident of violence in which the threat was actually carried out and incidents which occurred during the course of play on a sporting field. If a person experienced sexual threat and physical threat in the same incident, this was counted once only as a sexual threat.


Physical violence

Physical violence is defined as any incident involving the occurrence, attempt or threat of physical assault experienced by a person since the age of 15. This includes any incident of Physical assault or Physical threat (as defined above).


Places stayed during temporary of final separations

Where the respondent stayed if they had to move from their home during any temporary separations (from their current and most recently violent previous partner) and where the respondent stayed if they had to move out of their home when relationship with their most recently violent previous partner finally ended.

Places stayed includes:
  • Stayed at a friend’s or relative’s house
  • Stayed at a refuge or shelter short term crisis/ emergency accommodation - Includes night shelters, shelters for the homeless, women’s shelters, men’s shelters, youth shelters. Excludes bus shelters
  • Stayed in a motel, hotel, serviced apartment, caravan park - Includes when someone else pays for the respondent’s accommodation (e.g. motel paid for by a crisis organisation or the respondent’s family)
  • Stayed at a boarding house, hostel - A ‘boarding house’ refers to paid accommodation in a group house arrangement with people living in single rooms sharing bathroom and kitchen facilities. A ‘hostel’ generally refers to paid dormitory style accommodation (shared bedrooms as well as facilities)
  • Slept rough (e.g. on the street, in a car, in a tent, squatted in an abandoned building, etc) - Includes improvised shelters, sleeping out, sleeping in train carriages, underneath underpasses, in bus shelters etc.
  • Relocated to a new house or rental property


Population

Females and males aged 18 years and over.


Pregnancy during relationship with partner (asked of women only)

This item includes women who were assaulted while they were pregnant and living with their current/previous male partner. (Note: this can include situations where the current/previous male partner was not the biological father). Also includes situations where a woman was pregnant while living with her current/previous female partner.


Prevalence of violence

Prevalence of violence is used to express the number of persons who have experienced violence as a ratio of the total number of persons (aged 18 years and over) in the population at a specific time. For the PSS, prevalence rates are commonly calculated and included in tables to show the:
  • Prevalence of violence in last 12 months: rate for all persons aged 18 years and over who have experienced violence in the 12 months prior to the survey; and
  • Prevalence of violence since age 15: rate for all persons aged 18 years and over who have experienced violence since the age of 15.


Previous partner

See Relationship to perpetrator


Proportion of persons

Proportions refer to the number of persons within a sub population who have a particular characteristic as a ratio of the total number of persons in that sub population. For the PSS, proportions are commonly calculated and included in tables to help describe the characteristics of just those who have experienced violence, or particular types of violence such as:
  • Of all persons in a sub population group, the proportion of those persons who have a particular characteristic (e.g. for persons who experienced current partner violence, what proportion have experienced more than one incident by their current partner).

Reasons for returning to current partner

Reasons for returning are categorised into the following categories:
  • Partner promised to stop assaults, threats or abuse
  • No money/financial support
  • Nowhere to go
  • Sake of children
  • Shame or embarrassment
  • Fear of partner
  • Commitment to the relationship - Includes the following types of responses:
    • thought they were in love
    • felt a strong emotional attachment
    • missed their partner
    • they wanted to try and make it work
    • felt responsible for the relationship
  • Other reasons


Reasons police not contacted

If the respondent did not contact the police, and no-one else contacted the police about the most recent incident of sexual assault, sexual threat, physical assault or physical threat and/or stalking, or about violence by their current and/or previous partner, respondent's were asked what their reasons were for not contacting the police and the main reason why they decided not to contact the police.
Reasons include:
  • Shame or embarrassment - Includes reasons such as did not want to make trouble, that the respondent 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
  • Did not want person responsible arrested
  • Did not regard it as a serious offence
  • Did not know or think it was a crime
  • Did not think there was anything police could do
  • Did not trust police
  • Did not think police would do anything - Includes:
    • Where the respondent felt the police would not take them seriously, or would dismiss the crime
    • Where the respondent felt the police would blame them
    • Where the respondent felt that the police would not pursue the issue due to the situation being too difficult/personal
    • Where the respondent felt that the police would tell them that there was no point in pursuing the issue
  • Would not be believed
  • Fear of the person responsible
  • Fear of legal processes
  • Cultural reasons - Includes:
    • Fear of police because of experiences in country of origin or in their community
    • 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
    • Religious reasons
  • Language reasons - Includes situations where the respondent could not communicate well enough in English to make complaint known
  • Did not want to ask for help
  • Felt they could deal with it themselves
  • Other reasons


Relationship to perpetrator

If multiple perpetrators were involved, the respondent was asked to focus on the person they considered to have been mainly responsible for the incident.
  • Stranger - Someone the respondent did not know, or someone they only knew by hearsay
  • Boyfriend/Girlfriend or date - This relationship may have different levels of commitment and involvement that does not involve living together. For example, this will include persons who have had one date only, regular dating with no sexual involvement, or a serious sexual or emotional relationship. It excludes de facto relationships
  • Current partner - The person the respondent currently lives with in a married or de facto relationship.
  • Previous partner - A person the respondent lived with at some point in a married or de facto relationship from whom the respondent is now separated. Includes a partner the respondent was living with at the time of experiencing violence; or a partner the respondent was no longer living with at the time of experiencing violence.
  • Other known person - Includes violence by any other known man or woman who does not fit into any of the above categories:
    • Father/Mother - Includes step-parents
    • Son/Daughter - Includes step-children
    • Brother/Sister - Includes step-siblings
    • Other male/female relative or in-law
    • Friend - is someone one knows, likes and trusts
    • Acquaintance/Neighbour - An acquaintance is anybody that the respondent recognises or knows in some way and is not perceived to be a 'stranger'. A neighbour is a person who lives or is located close to the respondent's place of residence
    • Employer/boss/supervisor
    • Co-worker/co-volunteer
    • Counsellor/psychologist/psychiatrist
    • Doctor
    • Teacher
    • Priest/Minister/Rabbi etc.
    • Prison officer
    • Ex-boyfriend/Ex-girlfriend
    • Any other known person/s


Restraining order
See Violence or restraining order


Self assessed health status

A person's general assessment of their own health against a five point scale from excellent through to poor.


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.


Sexual assault

An act of a sexual nature carried out against a person's will through the use of physical force, intimidation or coercion, and includes any attempts to do this. This includes rape, attempted rape, aggravated sexual assault (assault with a weapon), indecent assault, penetration by objects, forced sexual activity that did not end in penetration and attempts to force a person into sexual activity. Incidents so defined would be an offence under State and Territory criminal law.

Sexual assault excludes unwanted sexual touching - this is defined as Sexual harassment.

Sexual assault also excludes incidents of violence that occurred before the age of 15 - these are defined as Sexual Abuse.

If a person experienced sexual assault and sexual threat in the same incident, this was counted once only as a sexual assault. If an incident of sexual assault also involved physical assault or threats, this was counted once only as a sexual assault.


Sexual harassment

Is considered to have occurred when a person has experienced or been subjected to behaviours which made them feel uncomfortable, and were offensive due to their sexual nature. Sexual harassment includes the following behaviours:
    • Indecent phone calls - Includes someone leaving a sexually explicit message on voicemail or an answering machine. Does not include messages in which profanity was used, unless this was offensive due to its sexual content.
    • Indecent text, email or post - Includes electronic messages (such as text messages, SMS, MMS, posts on Facebook, emails, or other Internet messages), and written messages (such as letters delivered by mail or notes left where a person could find them). Does not include messages in which profanity was used, unless this was offensive due to its sexual content.
    • Indecent exposure - Is the act of exposing genitals for the purpose of distressing, shocking, humiliating and/or generating fear in a person.
    • Inappropriate comments - Includes inappropriate comments in a group situation as well as when the respondent is alone with the person who is harassing them, and sexual comments that are related to the respondent’s race, such as implying that people of a particular cultural group have certain sexual characteristics.
    • Unwanted touching - Is momentary or brief touching or contact and includes groping or brushing against a breast or bottom.


Sexual threat

Involves the threat of acts of a sexual nature, that were made face-to-face where the person believes it is able to and likely to be carried out.

If a person experienced sexual assault and sexual threat in the same incident, this was counted once only as a sexual assault.


Sexual violence

Sexual violence is defined as any incident involving the occurrence, attempt or threat of sexual assault experienced by a person since the age of 15. This includes any incident of Sexual assault or Sexual threat (as defined above).

Household
Refers to selected situations in the last 12 months where the respondent had been short of money (at least once) and 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. Excludes being short of money because the person wasn't able, or forgot, to go to the bank.


Since the age of 15

Refers to any Violence experienced by a person since the age of 15 years.


Stalking

Stalking involves various behaviours, such as loitering and following, which the person believed were being undertaken with the intent to harm or frighten. To be classified as stalking more than one type of behaviour had to occur, or the same type of behaviour had to occur on more than one occasion.

The definition of stalking is based on State and Territory legislation. It is defined by a range of behaviours which the person believed were undertaken with the intent to harm or frighten. Behaviours include:
  • Loitered or hung around outside person's home
  • Loitered or hung around outside person's workplace
  • Loitered or hung around outside person's place of leisure or social activities
  • Followed them - Note: if a person was watched and followed in the same incident and this only happened once, this is not defined as stalking
  • Watched them - Note: if a persons was watched and followed in the same incident and this only happened once, this is not defined as stalking
  • Interfered with or damaged any of the person's property
  • Gave them, or left material where they could find it, that they found offensive or disturbing - Includes anything that was intended to harm or frighten the respondent, for example, pornographic material, destroyed photographs, articles about murders, dead animals
  • Telephoned them, sent them mail or contacted them electronically with the intent to harm or frighten - ‘Contacted electronically’ includes contacting the respondent by SMS messages, emails, or placing information about them on a website, with the intent to harm or frighten them


Stranger

See Relationship to perpetrator


Temporarily separated from partner

Whether the person stopped then started their relationship with their current or most recently violent 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 their most recently violent previous partner.


Took time off work

Time take off work as a result of the most recent incident of sexual assault, sexual threat, physical assault, physical threat and/or stalking during the 12 months after the incident. Can be time off from paid work or work without pay in a family business.
This includes time off work to:
  • Appear in court.
  • Meet with the police or a lawyer.
  • Visit the doctor or a counsellor.
Also includes situations where the respondent was unable to work because of either physical injuries or emotional distress.


Unemployed

Persons who were not employed during the week prior to interview and:
  • had actively looked for full-time or part-time work at any time in the previous 4 weeks and were available to start work in the week prior to interview; or
  • were waiting to start a new job within the next four weeks and could have started work in the week prior to interview if the job had been available.


Unwanted sexual touching

See Sexual harassment.


Violence

Is defined as any incident involving the occurrence, attempt or threat of either physical or sexual assault experienced by a person since the age of 15. Includes Physical violence 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. This item includes orders which have been issued by the court and interim orders.


Violence increased

This is defined as 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 moved out of home during any temporary separations or when relationship ended

Whether it was necessary for the respondent to leave their usual place of residence. This is regardless of who the technical owner/lease holder of the home was (e.g. they could have been living in what they thought of as the perpetrators home).


Whether police told

Whether the police were contacted about the most recent incident of sexual assault, sexual threat, physical assault, physical threat and/or stalking, or whether the police were told about violence by a current and/or most recently violent previous partner. The contact with police may have been by the respondent or another person. It includes contacting the police by phone or in person.


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