Fear of crime has emerged as one of the most important issues in many communities— this problem is almost as serious as crime itself. In 1996, the Australian Bureau of Statistics conducted a survey on 6333 Australian women to measure physical and sexual violence perpetrated against women, as well as other factors such as harassment, abuse, and feelings of safety. Based on data collected from this survey, research at the Australian Institute of Criminology has shown that women’s fear of crime is greater among those who have lower incomes, those in the older age groups, and those living with a partner.
Women who have experienced violence are more likely to be fearful of crime than other women, and this is particularly so among women who have been victims of domestic violence. An earlier Trends and Issues paper (no. 124, Mouzos 1999) revealed that 58 per cent of female homicide victims have assailants who are intimates/ former intimates. These facts provide a strong argument for early intervention to prevent domestic violence and provide assistance to dysfunctional and violent families.