Victoria Law Reform Commission Final Report on Family Violence-Key Statistics

Final Report—Key Statistics

1 March 2006

  • A 1996 Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) survey found that 23 per cent of women who had ever been in a married or de facto relationship had experienced family violence.
  • The ABS found younger women are more at risk of violence than older women—19 per cent of women aged 18–24 had experienced one or more incidents of violence in a 12 month period compared to 6.8 per cent of women aged 35–44, and 1.2 per cent of women aged 55 and over.
  • The ABS found that 20 per cent of women who had been pregnant in a past abusive relationship said their previous partner started becoming violent when the pregnancy began and 42 per cent said they had been abused sometime during a pregnancy.
  • VicHealth found family violence is the leading contributor of death, disability and illness in women in Victoria aged 15 to 44 years. It is responsible for more disease burden than high blood pressure and obesity.
  • Access Economics found family violence costs Australia about $8 billion a year nationally and $2 billion a year in Victoria, a substantial proportion of which is borne by the victims themselves.
  • Between 1998–99 and 2002–03, most charges of breach of an intervention order found proven that attracted a sentence resulted in a non-custodial sentence (81 per cent) and the most common non-custodial sentence was a fine (30 per cent). The majority of custodial sentences (60 per cent) were for less than three months.
  • An Australian Institute of Criminology paper found that one-quarter of all Australian children have witnessed violent behaviour towards their mother or stepmother.
  • 17.7 per cent of police family violence reports submitted in 2004–05 resulted in criminal charges, a 73.2 per cent increase on the previous year, probably caused by the introduction of the Police Code of Practice.
  • The Police Code of Practice has led to a significant increase in police applications for orders. In 2004–05, when the code had been partially implemented, the proportion of applications made by police was 35 per cent, compared to 10 per cent in 2000–01.
  • Police applications for orders are more successful than non-police approximately 61 per cent compared to 49 per cent.
  • A UK study found that, on average, a woman has been assaulted 37 times before her first contact with police.
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