This paper presents the findings from an online survey of 15,000 Australian women about their experience of domestic violence during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the three months prior to the survey, conducted in May 2020, 4.6 percent of women who responded to the survey experienced physical or sexual violence from a current or former cohabiting partner. Almost six percent (5.8%) of women experienced coercive control and 11.6 percent reported experiencing at least one form of emotionally abusive, harassing or controlling behaviour.
For many women, the pandemic coincided with the onset or escalation of violence and abuse. Two-thirds of women who experienced physical or sexual violence by a current or former cohabiting partner since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic said the violence had started or escalated in the three months prior to the survey.
Many women, particularly those experiencing more serious or complex forms of violence and abuse, reported safety concerns were a barrier to help-seeking.