Partner violence in Australia: new analysis


An estimated 1 in 6 women (1.6 million) aged 18 years and over had experienced violence by a partner since the age of 15, according to findings from the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) 2016 Personal Safety Survey (PSS).

The 2016 PSS also found that the proportion of women who experienced partner violence in the last 12 months had remained relatively stable since the PSS was previously conducted in 2012 and 2005.

ABS Director of the National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics, William Milne, said new analysis of 2016 PSS data identified a number of sociodemographic characteristics that were associated with experiences of partner violence for women.

“These included financial stress, unemployment, the presence of a disability or a long-term health condition, poor or fair health, and low levels of life satisfaction,” he said.

New analysis about characteristics of the most recent incident of physical assault has also been released.

“This showed that being pushed, grabbed, or shoved was the most common physical assault behaviour experienced by women, regardless of the perpetrator type.”

However, women were more likely to have been kicked, bitten, hit with a fist, or choked when the perpetrator was a male partner compared with another known male (such as a family member or friend).

Physical injuries were also more common when the perpetrator was a male partner (58 per cent), compared with another known male (45 per cent) and a male stranger (29 per cent),” said Mr Milne.

“One in five women sought advice or support from a general practitioner after being assaulted by a male partner (20 per cent), which was twice the rate compared with another known male (11 per cent),” added Mr Milne.

Further information can be found in In Focus: Crime and Justice Statistics (ABS cat. no. 4524.0).

If you or anyone you know is in need or crisis please call the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732) or Lifeline 131 114.


    Media note:

    • 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.
    • The term 'partner' is used to describe a person the respondent lives with, or lived with at some point, in a married or de facto relationship.
    • While the PSS collects the same information from both men and women, detailed partner violence data for men is not sufficiently statistically reliable for the purposes of the additional analysis, due to the comparatively fewer number of men that have experienced partner violence.
    • Further information about men’s and women’s experience of violence can be found in Personal Safety, Australia (ABS cat. no. 4906.0) and Personal Safety Survey, Australia: User Guide (ABS cat. no. 4906.0.55.003).
    • When reporting ABS data, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) must be attributed as the source.
    • For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Media Team on 1300 175 070 (8.30am - 5pm Mon-Fri).
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