Summary

Family, domestic and sexual violence data in Australia allows users to explore data for a core set of family, domestic and sexual violence measures over time and for different population groups. It is structured according to a framework developed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) (ABS 2009; ABS 2013a; ABS 2013b). This framework uses six elements as central organising principles for information relating to family, domestic and sexual violence, and shows the key relationships that exist between the elements (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Overview of the framework 

Source: adapted from ABS 2013a.

The framework was developed to support the Council of Australian Governments National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children, 2010–2022 (National Plan), priority area ‘Building the Evidence Base’. It provides the foundations for improved data and reporting of family, domestic and sexual violence across the Commonwealth, states and territories and the non-government sectors.

Elements, measures and data challenges

The measures in this release are grouped together based on five of the elements, allowing users to explore: the context in which family, domestic and sexual violence exists in Australian society; the risk of family, domestic and sexual violence, people's experience of family, domestic and sexual violence; responses to family, domestic and sexual violence by individuals, families, the community and formal systems, and the impacts and outcomes of family, domestic and sexual violence.  For each of these five elements there are a range of challenges which impact the availability of data, and some examples are provided below. 

Context

What influences family, domestic and sexual violence? 

Family, domestic and sexual violence context measures explore the environmental and psychosocial factors that influence community and individual attitudes, and otherwise provide context for the occurrence and experience of family, domestic and sexual violence. Knowledge and awareness of what constitutes violence, both physical and non-physical, can also influence attitudes and behaviour.

This release includes the following context measures:

Data challenges for measuring context

  • Differences in relevant legislation, policy and practice across jurisdictions
  • Lack of precise geographical data
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Risk

Who is at risk of family, domestic and sexual violence?  

Family, domestic and sexual violence risk measures explore the actual and perceived risk factors that can increase or decrease the likelihood of experiencing or using family, domestic or sexual violence.

This release includes the following risk measure:

Data challenges for measuring risk

  • Limited data on different population groups
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Incident/Experience 

How is family, domestic and sexual violence experienced?  

Family, domestic and sexual violence incident/experience measures explore the characteristics of family, domestic and sexual violence incidents and the experiences of victims and people who use violence (perpetrators).

This release includes the following incident/experience measures:

Data challenges for measuring incident/experience

  • Different definitions used across data sources
  • Lack of data on complex forms of violence
  • Limited data on technology-facilitated abuse
  • Limited data on location of event
  • Limited data on offence history of perpetrator
  • Limited data on relationship between victim and perpetrator
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Responses

What services or supports do those who have experienced family, domestic and sexual violence use?

Family, domestic and sexual violence response measures explore the actions that are taken after violence. Responses may be formal or informal, and may be taken by victims, people who use violence, family and friends of the victim, witnesses, service providers, and the civil or criminal justice system.

This release includes the following response measures:

A future release will include additional response measures: 

  • Income support (Centrelink crisis payments)

Data challenges for measuring responses

  • Limited service response data, including specialist family, domestic and sexual violence services, emergency department and primary health care
  • Inconsistent identification, capturing and counting procedures
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Impacts and Outcomes

What are the consequences of family, domestic and sexual violence? 

Family, domestic and sexual violence impact and outcome measures explore the wide ranging consequences of family, domestic and sexual violence for victims, people who use violence, families, workplaces, the community and the economy.

This release includes the following impacts and outcomes measure:

Data challenges for measuring impacts and outcomes

  • Lack of data on long-term health and welfare outcomes
  • Lack of data on efectiveness of services, for example perpetrator intervention programs
  • Lack of data on pathways for victims and perptrators      
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Programs, research and evaluation

The development of family, domestic and sexual violence education and prevention programs is informed by data relating to incident/experience, responses, and impacts & outcomes. Research and evaluation of interventions help to build an evidence-base to inform further research, policies and programming.