New data shows women continue to experience high rates of violence, pointing to a need for cultural change

  • Around 39% of women in Victoria have experience physical or sexual violence since the age of 15
  • Around 26% of women in Victoria have experienced partner violence from a partner they live with, including emotional, physical, sexual and economic abuse
  • Since this data was last collected in 2016, the number of women reporting partner violence and the number of women reporting emotional abuse has dropped slightly

New data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has found that there is a continuing epidemic of violence against women in Victoria.

The Personal Safety Survey looked at rates of violence between 2021-22, including the prevalence of physical, emotional, economic and sexual violence experienced in intimate partnerships during the two-year period and historically.

While the prevalence of some forms of violence decreased slightly, many remained the same in comparison to the last survey in 2016.

“Women continue to be most likely to experience physical violence from someone they know, and to experience high rates of emotional, economic and sexual violence from current or former partners,” said Respect Victoria CEO Emily Maguire.

“The latest data tells us a familiar story, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Preventing violence starts by understanding our culture and addressing what allows this to continue to happen.”

Violence against women can take many different forms, as this data outlines, and it’s driven by cultural attitudes that we must leave behind.

While the latest ABS data predominantly shows that women continue to experience high levels of violence, the slight decrease in reports of sexual violence and intimate partner violence during 2021-22 in Victoria offers a glimmer of hope.

“Most of us grew up in a culture that told us harmful stories about what it means to be a man or a woman, that condoned violence against women, that trapped all of us in outdated ideas about gender,” said Ms Maguire.

“These rigid ideas can drive violence against all women, and they need to be challenged. Preventing violence against women starts with having honest, open conversations about the attitudes holding all of us back, and challenging the ideas that cause harm in our homes, workplaces, communities, and relationships.” “Prevention is a movement for change that belongs to every single Victorian,” said Ms Maguire. “We all deserve to be safe, equal and respected.”