4533.0 - Directory of Family, Domestic, and Sexual Violence Statistics, 2018  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 19/12/2018   
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It is acknowledged that there is no single nationally or internationally agreed definition of ‘family and domestic violence’ or ‘sexual violence’. The terminology used to refer to the set of behaviours captured by the terms ‘family and domestic violence’ and ‘sexual violence’ varies across the policy, legislative, service provision, and research contexts. It is also acknowledged that definitional requirements may evolve and change in the future, including the range of behaviours and/or relationship types that are considered as being familial or domestic in nature.


Within the context of this Directory, the term ‘family and domestic violence’ covers a wide range of violent and non-violent abusive behaviours or threats committed in the context of various intimate relationships.

Family and domestic violence includes the following types of behaviours:

  • physical and sexual violence or abuse;
  • emotional and psychological abuse;
  • verbal abuse and intimidation;
  • economic abuse;
  • social deprivation and controlling behaviours;
  • damage of personal property; and
  • abuse of power.

Family and domestic violence can occur in the following types of relationships:
  • intimate partner relationships;
  • other family and co-habitation relationships;
  • carer relationships;
  • cultural and kinship relationships;
  • foster care relationships; and
  • blood relatives who do not co-habit, such as elder abuse.


Sexual violence covers a wide range of behaviours perpetrated against adults and children, including:
  • sexual harassment;
  • stalking;
  • forced or deceptive sexual exploitation (such as having images taken and/or distributed without freely given consent);
  • indecent assault; and
  • rape.

While sexual violence can overlap with, and be a feature of, family and domestic violence, the dynamics of sexual violence incidents can be very different and occur in the context of a wider range of relationships between perpetrators and victims (e.g. where the victim and perpetrator are not known to one another).

To assist readers in determining which Directory data sources may be appropriate for their purposes, the definitions of ‘family and domestic violence’ and/or ‘sexual violence’ used by each data source have been provided.

Further information about the key issues in defining family, domestic, and sexual violence are discussed in Chapter 2 of Defining the Data Challenge for Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence, 2013 (cat no. 4529.0)