2 June 2015
In Australia police deal with an estimated 657 domestic violence matters on average every day of the year. That's one every two minutes. Overall, the count is 239,846 per year around the country.
There is no standard definition of domestic and family violence across all jurisdictions in Australia, but family violence directly affects one in five women in the state of Victoria over the course of their lifetime. It is the leading contributor to preventable death, disability and illness in Victorian women aged 15 to 44 years.
Broadly speaking Family and domestic violence is any violent, threatening, coercive or controlling behaviour that occurs in current or past family, domestic or intimate relationships. This includes not only physical injury but direct or indirect threats, sexual assault, emotional and psychological torment, economic control, damage to property, social isolation and any behaviour which causes a person to live in fear.
Family violence is predominantly, but not exclusively, perpetrated by men against women and children. Violence can occur in any kind of relationship including, same sex relationships and against people who are elderly or disabled. Family violence perpetrated against older people is often called elder abuse, although this term can also include abuse by professional carers.
Much family violence remains unreported due to a fear that reports will not be believed, and that responses and interventions will be inadequate with the consequent increased risk of further violence. Economic pressures also contribute to many remaining in abusive relationships.
In response to this situation, the Victorian government has recently announced a Royal commission into Family Violence which will research and report on the most effective ways to:-
- prevent family violence;
- improve early intervention;
- protect those at risk;
- support victims; and
- make perpetrators more accountable.
For more information visit the Parliament of Australia and Domestic Violence Victoria websites