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4533.0 - Directory of Family and Domestic Violence Statistics, 2011  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 22/11/2011  First Issue
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Contents >> Personal Safety Survey (PSS)


Geographic CoverageFrequencyData Availability
New South Wales
Western Australia
South Australia
Northern Territory
ASGC Remoteness
More than annual
2-4 yearly
Less than 5 yearly
Once only
Ad hoc
Detailed publication / report publicly available
Data cubes / spreadsheets publicly available
Agency annual report
Customised data - free upon request1
Customised data - charged consultancy1
Not published - may be available on request1
Not publicly available
[1] May be subject to release conditions



Data custodian: Australian Bureau of Statistics

Contact: National Information and Referral Service

Address: Locked Bag 10, Belconnen, ACT, 2616

Telephone: 1300 135 070

Facsimile: 1300 135 211




Personal Safety Survey, Australia, 2005 (cat. no. 4906.0)
Microdata: Personal Safety Survey, Expanded CURF, Australia, 2005 (cat. no.4906.0.55.001)


Information was collected from persons aged 18 years and over about their safety at home and in the community. In particular, it focused on measuring men’s and women’s experiences of physical and sexual violence since the age of 15, by different types of male and female perpetrators, the nature and extent of violence against women and men (with a reference period of the last 12 months), actions taken after experiencing violence and the effect on their lives. Additional information was collected about incidents of abuse, stalking and other forms of harassment.


Funding for the women's component of the 2005 Personal Safety survey was provided through the National Initiative to Combat Sexual Assault and Partnerships Against Domestic Violence - Australian Government initiatives administered by the Office for Women (OfW). The male component was funded by the ABS.

Collection Type


Family and Domestic Violence related content (data items collected)

Data Item
Secondary victim
Indigenous Status
Country of Birth
Language spoken

Labour force status; Hours usually worked in all jobs

Highest year of educational Attainment;
Highest level;
Main field of highest educational attainment;
Highest non-school qualification

Main source

Area of usual residence

Decile of Index Advantage/Disadvantage; Marital Status (registered and social); Language first spoken;
Proficiency in spoken English;
Year of arrival in Australia
Personal data items
Services used / referrals to services


Telephone help line;
Minister or priest;
Reasons for not using help from these services
Health factors
alcohol use / substance use
mental illness

FDV-related perceptions
satisfaction with police response
seriousness/ regarded as criminal
whether problem in neighbourhood
feelings of safety / fear

Prior history of victimisation / offending

More than one incident of abuse; Frequency of violence;
How often during the relationship violence occurred
Known outcomes
application for violence order
violence order issued
offender charged
offender went to court
offender found guilty
offender sentence type
child protection involvement
time off work / economic costs
medical treatment received / type
changed routine

Reason for separation;
Reason unable to separate
Other personal data items

Sought help from friends/family;
Current partner violent towards others;
Violence first occurred/ increased during separation;
Children witnessed violence
1 Respondent may or may not have experienced FDV.

Data Item
school/place of education/institution
public place

Public transport; Sporting venue; Licensed premises; Private vehicle
Relationship between parties
married/de facto spouse
current / former partner/boyfriend/girlfriend
other member of household
other relatives
relationships of personal or financial dependency


Weapon use
type of weapon

Alcohol involved
Substance use involved
Physical injury sustained
type of injury

Reported to police
reasons for not reporting

1 Data can be split by current and previous partner.
2 Data reflects whether 'alcohol or drugs' contributed. It is not possible to distinguish which substance was specifically involved.

Definition of Family and Domestic Violence

In the Personal Safety Survey, violence is defined as any incident involving the occurrence, attempt or threat of either physical or sexual assault. Physical assault involves the use of physical force with the intent to harm or frighten. An attempt or threat to inflict physical harm is included only if a person believes it is likely to be carried out. Sexual assault includes acts of a sexual nature carried out against a person's will through the use of physical force, intimidation or coercion, or any attempts to do this. Unwanted sexual touching is excluded from sexual assault. Sexual threat involves the threat of an act of a sexual nature which the person believes is likely to be carried out.

Aspects of FDV captured by the data are:

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Psychological abuse
  • Property damage
  • Harassment and stalking
  • Experiences of physical and sexual abuse (before the age of 15)

Relationship to Conceptual Framework for Family and Domestic Violence (Cat. No. 4529.0)

Conceptual Framework Element / Sub-element
Amount of Information Available
Environmental Factors
Individual pyscho-social factors
Community prevalence
Community incidence
Understandings and acknowledgments of risk and safety
Informal responses
Formal system responses
Programs, Research & Evaluation

Collection methodology

Personal face-to-face interviews were conducted with one randomly selected person aged 18 years or over who was a usual resident of the selected household.

Special steps were taken to improve the quality of the survey results including detailed and precise questioning and the use of personal interviews. Respondents were informed that the survey was not compulsory and a specific requirement was that interviews were conducted in private, thus ensuring confidentiality and safety of any information disclosed. The use of specially trained interviewers ensured that rapport could be established with respondents and that the relevant concepts and definitions could be explained as necessary.

Dwellings were selected at random using a multistage area sample of private dwellings. The initial sample selected for the survey consisted of approximately 27,000 dwellings. This was reduced to a sample of approximately 22,000 after sample loss (e.g. households selected in the survey which had no residents in scope of the survey, vacant or derelict buildings, buildings under construction).The fully responding sample was 11,800 females and 4,500 males with 76.2% of households fully or adequately responding.

Scope / target population

Persons aged 18 years and over who were usual residents of randomly selected households.


One adult per selected household (private dwelling).

Both urban and rural areas in all states and territories were included but very remote areas of Australia were excluded. The following group were also excluded from the survey:
    • certain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments, customarily excluded from the Population Census and estimated population figures
    • overseas residents in Australia
    • residents of non-private dwellings, such as hospitals, retirement villages, refuges, etc.

The PSS was conducted in both urban and rural areas in all states and territories, but excluded approximately 120,000 persons living in very remote areas of Australia who would otherwise have been within the scope of the survey. The exclusion of these persons would have only a minor impact on any aggregates that are produced for individual states and territories, except for the Northern Territory where such persons account for around 23% of the population.

Geographic coverage and disaggregation


Data available for:
State/Territory (all)
Capital City / balance of state

Frequency / Timing

Ad hoc - last collected in 2005. The next survey is planned for 2012.

Collection history

Collection commenced: August - December 2005

Breaks in series: no

Other details: Related to Women’s Safety Survey 1996.

Data availability / Dissemination

The main publication and state/territory data cubes for selected data items can be downloaded free of charge from the ABS website.

Microdata are available in the form of a Confidentialised Unit Record File (CURF). Information about how to apply for microdata is available on the ABS website. Additional tailored tables, providing more detail, or data items not included in the publication are available on request as a 'user pays' service.

Other data sources held by this agency

Crime Victimisation
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey
Women’s Safety Survey

Has this data source changed?
Contact the ABS to report updates or corrections to the information above.

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