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The prevalence of domestic violence among women during the covid-19 pandemic

Sep 4, 2020

The Australian Institute of Criminology has published a bulletin titled “The prevalence of domestic violence among women during the covid-19 pandemic”. The bulletin presents the findings from an online survey, conducted in May 2020, where 15,000 Australian women were surveyed regarding their experiences of domestic violence during the initial stages of the covid-19 pandemic.

It was suspected that the covid-19 pandemic and consequent lockdown restrictions, would have an impact on the severity and occurrence of domestic violence. The research found: 

  • 65.4 percent of women who experienced physical or sexual violence from a current or former cohabiting partner in the three months prior to the survey had experienced either violence for the first time by that partner or an escalation in the frequency and severity of prior violence. 
  • 54.8 percent of women who experienced coercive control from a current or former cohabiting partner in the three months prior to the survey said either that they had experienced emotionally abusive, harassing or controlling behaviour by that partner for the first time, or that the abuse had escalated since February 2020.

Many women, particularly those experiencing more serious or complex forms of violence and abuse, reported safety concerns were a barrier to help-seeking.

Watch a short (15 minute) presentation of the key findings or download the full report here.