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4529.0 - Defining the Data Challenge for Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence, 2013  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/02/2013  First Issue
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PSYCHO-SOCIAL FACTORS

Personal experience, history and biological factors have an influence on how individuals behave. These psycho-social factors can affect the behaviour of potential victims and potential perpetrators by influencing the experience of victimisation and offending, victims' experiences of recovery and resilience, and the overall perceptions of rights and responsibilities. These factors can influence the prevalence of family, domestic and sexual violence, for both victims and perpetrators.

Psycho-social factors also align with general criminal risk factors and protective factors and may influence perpetrators motivation and their propensity to either rehabilitate or re-offend. They may also influence the recovery prospects of a victim. The psycho-social factors that may influence individual experiences include the following.

  • Perceptions of risk / safety
  • Networks
  • Mental health
  • Coping skills / support
  • Expectations
  • Childhood exposure
  • Demand / strain
  • Self-esteem
  • Isolation
  • Attachment
  • Control
  • Anger/hostility
Examples of psycho-social factors
Perceptions of Risk/Safety:
Perceived threats of family, domestic and sexual violence generate fear of violence which can have a deleterious effect on individual and community wellbeing. Research shows that perceptions of risk or safety can cause individuals to change their routine activities and lifestyle, restrict participation in society, the political system and the economy (AusAID Office of Development Effectiveness 2008). The effects of abuse can also have a cumulative impact on the mental health of the victim. Victims of family, domestic and sexual violence can experience various forms of mental trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety.

Childhood exposure:
Experience of sexual abuse as a child can affect later adult offending or victimisation. For example, a study that examined the relationship between child sexual abuse and subsequent criminal offending and victimisation found that both male and female child sexual abuse victims were significantly more likely than non-abused people to be charged for all types of offences, in particular violence and sexual offences. It also found that experiencing sexual abuse as a child impacts negatively on mental health outcomes, increases the risk of suicide and increases rates of re-victimisation (Ogloff, Cutajar, Mann & Mullen 2012). Witnessing family and domestic violence as a child is also an experience that can be linked to more negative later life outcomes The Personal Safety Survey, 2005 (ABS cat. no. 4906.0), reported that 49 per cent of men and women who reported experiencing violence by a current partner had children in their care at some time during the relationship and approximately 27 per cent reported that these children had witnessed the violence (footnote 3).

Footnote
3. The Personal Safety Survey, 2005 (ABS cat. no. 4906.0), reported that 49 per cent of men and women who reported experiencing violence by a current partner had children in their care at some time during the relationship and approximately 27 per cent reported that these children had witnessed the violence.

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