4906.0 - Personal Safety, Australia, 2016  
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GLOSSARY

Advice or Support

‘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 incident/experiences, but from whom the respondent did not actively seek advice or support (e.g. help sought for injuries, which did not involve the respondent seeking advice or support).

Adult

A person aged 18 years or over.

Anxiety or fear

Experiences of anxiety or fear can include constant worry, feeling nervous or jumpy, feeling scared or afraid, unable to calm down, feeling on edge, being panicked or distressed, and not being able to eat or sleep.

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.

Co-habiting partner

See Partner.

Current partner

A partner the person currently (at the time of the survey) lives with in a married or de facto relationship.

Disability

A disability or restrictive long-term health condition exists if a limitation, restriction, impairment, disease or disorder has lasted, or is expected to last for six months or more, which restricts everyday activities.

A disability or restrictive long-term health condition is classified by whether or not a person has a specific limitation or restriction. The 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, mild). These are based on whether a person needs help, has difficulty, or uses aids or equipment with any 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 any of these activities.

Refers to the respondent's disability status at the time of the interview. Due to specific interview requirements for PSS, respondents who identified as having a profound or severe disability may be under represented.

For further information refer to the Disability page in the Personal Safety Survey, Australia: User Guide, 2016 (cat. no. 4906.0.55.003).

Emotional abuse

Emotional abuse occurs when a person is subjected to certain behaviours or actions that are aimed at preventing or controlling their behaviour, causing 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):

  • Controlled or tried to control them from contacting family, friends or community - Where a partner prevents the respondents social access to any person that they want to see, and where a partner restricts the persons access to environments in which they may make friends (e.g. community or interest groups).
  • Controlled or tried to control 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. Also includes where a respondent felt that they needed a car, but were restricted from purchasing one by their partner.
  • Controlled or tried to control where they went or who they saw (e.g. Constant phone calls, GPS tracking, monitoring through social media websites) - 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 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).
  • Controlled or tried to control them from working or earning money - Includes situations where a partner prevents a respondent from working or restricts the number of hours they can work. 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 where 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).
  • Controlled or tried to control 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. 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 their other family members or friends.
  • Threatened to harm any of their pets.
  • Harmed any of their pets.
  • Threatened or tried to commit suicide.

The definition of emotional abuse excludes:
  • Cases of nagging (e.g. about spending too much money on fishing gear, or going out with friends) unless this nagging causes them emotional harm or fear.
  • Cases where a spouse has restricted the respondent’s access to money, the car, or the internet as a result of the respondent’s substance abuse, gambling, or compulsive shopping issues unless the respondent perceives that these restrictions cause them emotional harm or fear.

For further information, refer to the Partner Emotional Abuse page in the Personal Safety Survey, Australia: User Guide, 2016 (cat. no. 4906.0.55.003).


Face-to-face threatened assault

Any verbal and/or physical threat to inflict physical harm, made face-to-face, where the person being threatened believed the threat was likely and able to be carried out. Excludes any incident where the person being threatened did not encounter the offender in person (e.g. threats made via telephone, text message, e-mail, in writing or through social media).

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 survey 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 a sexual assault. The same applies for incidents where a person is both physically threatened with assault and then physically assaulted.

Intimate partner

Includes current partner (living with), previous partner (has lived with), boyfriend/girlfriend/date and ex-boyfriend/ex-girlfriend (never lived with).

For further information, refer to the Partner Violence page in the Personal Safety Survey, Australia: User Guide, 2016 (cat. no. 4906.0.55.003).

Margin of Error

Margin of Error (MoE), describes the distance from the population value that the sample estimate is likely to be within, and is specified at a given level of confidence. MoEs presented in this publication are at the 95% confidence level. This means that there are 19 chances in 20 that the estimate will differ by less than the specified MoE from the population value (the figure obtained if all dwellings had been enumerated).

For further information, refer to the Technical Note page of this publication.

Other known person

Includes any other known person that does not fit into any of the partner, stranger, or (ex-)boyfriend/girlfriend or date categories. Includes:

  • Father/Mother - Includes step-parents
  • Son/Daughter - Includes step children
  • Brother/Sister - Includes step siblings
  • Other male/female relative or in-law
  • Friend - Someone one knows, likes and trusts
  • Acquaintance/neighbour - An acquaintance is anybody that the person recognises or knows in someway and is not perceived to be a 'stranger'. A neighbour is someone who lives or is located close to the persons place of residence
  • Employer/manager/supervisor
  • Co-worker
  • Teacher/tutor
  • Client/patient/customer
  • Medical practitioner (e.g. Doctor, psychologist, nurse, counsellor)
  • Priest/Minister/Rabbi/ or other spiritual advisor
  • Carer (includes non-family paid or unpaid helper)
  • Any other known person

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. This may also be described as a co-habiting partner.

In the context of Witnessed Violence however, partner refers to the person who is in a relationship with the respondent’s mother/stepmother and father/stepfather. For further information, refer to the Witness Violence Before the Age of 15 page in the Personal Safety Survey, Australia: User Guide, 2016 (cat. no. 4906.0.55.003).

Physical abuse

Any deliberate physical injury (including bruises) inflicted upon a child (under the age of 15 years) by an adult. Excludes discipline that accidentally resulted in injury, emotional abuse, and physical abuse by someone under the age of 18.

For further information, refer to the Abuse Before the Age of 15 page in the Personal Safety Survey, Australia: User Guide, 2016 (cat. no. 4906.0.55.003).

Physical assault

Any incident that involved 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 that occurred on the job, where a person was assaulted in their line of work (e.g. assaulted while working as a security guard), at school or overseas. Examples of physical force include:

  • Pushed, grabbed or shoved - Includes being pushed off a balcony, down stairs or across the room.
  • Slapped - Includes a hit with an open hand.
  • Kicked, bitten or hit with a fist.
  • Hit you with something else that could hurt you - Includes being hit with a bat, hammer, belt, pot, ruler, etc.
  • 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 or being deliberately hit by a vehicle.

Physical assault excludes incidents that occurred during the course of play on a sporting field and excludes incidents of violence that occurred before the age of 15 (which 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

Any verbal and/or physical intent or suggestion of intent to inflict physical harm, which was made face-to-face and which the person believed was able to be and likely to be carried out. Examples of physical threats include:
  • 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 person. It includes situations where a gun was left in an obvious place or if the person knew that the perpetrator had access to a gun. It includes toy guns, starter pistols etc., if the person believed they were real.
  • Threaten or attempt to physically hurt in any other way.

Physical threat excludes any incident 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

The occurrence, attempt or threat of physical assault experienced by a person since the age of 15.

For further information, refer to the Violence Prevalence and Violence - Most Recent Incident pages in the Personal Safety Survey, Australia: User Guide, 2016 (cat. no. 4906.0.55.003).

Population

Females and males aged 18 years and over.

Prevalence of violence

Prevalence of violence refers to the number and proportion (rate) of persons in a given population that have experienced any type of violence within a specified time frame – usually in the last 12 months (12 months prior to the survey) and since the age of 15.

For further information, refer to the Violence Prevalence page in the Personal Safety Survey, Australia: User Guide, 2016 (cat. no. 4906.0.55.003).

Previous partner

A person that the respondent lived with at some point in a married or de facto relationship from whom the respondent is now separated, divorced or widowed from.

Proxy

A proxy is a person who answers the survey questions when the person selected for the interview is incapable of answering for themselves. Reasons the selected person may not be able to answer for themselves include illness/injury or language difficulties.

For this survey, a proxy was used to complete the general information component on behalf of the selected person. No proxy interviews were conducted on the voluntary components of the survey and therefore data for these selected persons were not used in output. For more details, refer to the Proxy section of the Survey Development and Data Collection page in the Personal Safety Survey, Australia: User Guide, 2016 (cat. no. 4906.0.55.003).

Relative Standard Error

The Relative Standard Error (RSE) is the standard error expressed as a proportion of an estimated value.

For further information, refer to the Technical Note page of this publication.

Respondent

A person who answers a request for information about oneself.

Sexual abuse

Any act by an adult involving a child (under the age of 15 years) in sexual activity beyond their understanding or contrary to currently accepted community standards. Excludes emotional abuse and sexual abuse by someone under the age of 18.

For further information, refer to the Abuse Before the Age of 15 page in the Personal Safety Survey, Australia: User Guide, 2016 (cat. no. 4906.0.55.003).

Sexual assault

An act of a sexual nature carried out against a person's will through the use of physical force, intimidation or coercion, including 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 incidents of violence that occurred before the age of 15 - these are defined as sexual abuse. It also excludes unwanted sexual touching - this is defined as sexual harassment.

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. PSS collects information about selected types of sexual harassment behaviours including:

  • Indecent text, email or post - Includes electronic messages (such as text messages, SMS, MMS, posts on Facebook or other internet social networking sites, 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.
  • Distributing or posting pictures or videos of the person, that were sexual in nature, without their consent - Includes taking a photo or video which was sexual in nature, or showing/sending/posting the photos/videos which were sexual in nature.
  • Exposure to pictures, videos or materials which were sexual in nature that the person did not wish to see - Includes emailing the person or making them watch pornography, and displaying posters, magazines or screen savers of a sexual nature for the person to see.

For further information, refer to the Sexual Harassment page in the Personal Safety Survey, Australia: User Guide, 2016 (cat. no. 4906.0.55.003).


Sexual threat

The threat of acts of a sexual nature that were made face-to-face where the person believed it was 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

The occurrence, attempt or threat of sexual assault experienced by a person since the age of 15.

For further information, refer to the Violence Prevalence and Violence - Most Recent Incident pages in the Personal Safety Survey, Australia: User Guide, 2016 (cat. no. 4906.0.55.003).


Since the age of 15

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

Stalking

Stalking involves various behaviours, such as loitering and following, which the person believed were being undertaken with the intent to cause them fear or distress. 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. Behaviours include:

  • Loitered or hung around outside person's home.
  • Loitered or hung around outside person's workplace.
  • Loitered hung around outside person's place of leisure or social activities.
  • Followed or watched them in person.
  • Followed or watched them using electronic tracking device (e.g. GPS tracking system, computer spyware).
  • Maintained unwanted contact with them by phone, postal mail, email, text messages or social media websites.
  • Posted offensive or unwanted messages, images or personal information on the internet about them.
  • Impersonated them online to damage their reputation.
  • Hacked or accessed their email, social media or other online account without their consent to follow or track them.
  • Gave or left objects where they could be found that were offensive or disturbing.
  • Interfered with or damaged any of their property.

For further information, refer to the Stalking page in the Personal Safety Survey, Australia: User Guide, 2016 (cat. no. 4906.0.55.003).


Standard Error

The Standard Error (SE) indicates the extent to which an estimate might have varied because only a sample of dwellings was included.

For further information, refer to the Technical Note page of this publication.

Stranger

Someone the person did not know, or someone they knew by hearsay.

Violence

In the PSS, violence is defined as any incident involving the occurrence, attempt or threat of either sexual or physical assault. Violence can be broken down into two main categories, sexual violence and physical violence.

Witness Violence before the age of 15

The PSS asks respondents if they ever saw or heard violence being directed at one parent by another before the age of 15. Violence in this context refers to physical assault only.

Mother includes step mothers and female guardians or care-givers. Partner includes the respondent’s father/stepfather, and the mother’s boyfriend or same-sex partner.

Father includes step fathers and male guardians or care-givers. Partner includes the respondent’s mother/stepmother, and the father’s girlfriend or same-sex partner.

For further information, refer to the Witness Violence Before the Age of 15 page in the Personal Safety Survey, Australia: User Guide, 2016 (cat. no. 4906.0.55.003).