The Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) has today released a paper that describes the characteristics of women who were more likely to experience physical and non-physical forms of domestic violence from their partner during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This study involved the analysis of survey data collected from more than 9,000 Australian women who were asked about their experiences of domestic violence during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic (February-May 2020).
Results showed that 4.2 per cent of women had experienced physical violence from a cohabiting partner, while 5.8 per cent had experienced coercive control. It also reveals some Australian women were much more likely than others to have experienced physical or sexual violence and/or coercive control during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Compared to the rest of the population, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, pregnant women, women with a long-term restrictive health condition, women from non-English speaking backgrounds and younger women were more likely to experience physical or sexual violence or coercive control in the three months prior to the survey.
AIC Research Manager and co-author Hayley Boxall said the findings highlight the uneven distribution of domestic violence across the Australian community and shows a need to provide more focused support for those in higher risk groups.
“This study shows that some Australian women were much more likely than others to have experienced physical or sexual violence and/or coercive control during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Many of the reasons why these groups were vulnerable to experiencing domestic violence were present before the pandemic, but may have become worse during this period.
“This includes things like barriers to accessing services, social isolation and financial stress.
“These findings highlight the need for proactive outreach services to support vulnerable women during disasters like the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ms Boxall.
The report is available at https://www.aic.gov.au/publications/tandi/tandi618