Barely a week passes without a media report of the suffering or tragic death of a woman at the hands of a partner. Typically, these accounts focus on the individuals involved. While important, in isolation, such a focus can belie the fact intimate partner violence is a wider social problem, obscuring both the factors contributing to it and opportunities to prevent it.
A study being launched today by Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety confirms the serious impacts of intimate partner violence. The analysis, undertaken by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, provides estimates of the impact of intimate partner violence on women’s health.
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Data from the Personal Safety Survey, Australia’s most reliable violence prevalence survey, was used as a key input.
Since the age of 15, one in four women in Australia have experienced at least one incident of violence by a partner. This includes violence perpetrated by a live-in partner as well as boyfriends, girlfriends or dates. This is based on a definition of violence, used by the Personal Safety Survey, which includes physical and sexual assault, as well as face-to-face threats the victim believed were likely and able to be carried out.
Listen: We chat to former Australian of the year and domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty. Post continues after audio.
When emotional abuse by a live-in partner is included, (defined as controlling behaviours aimed at causing fear or emotional harm), it is estimated one in three women have experienced violence or abuse by an intimate partner.
Serious impacts on women’s health.
Drawing on Australian and international studies, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found an association between women experiencing partner violence and a wide range of health impacts. Particularly compelling evidence was found linking partner violence to: