3. Domestic Violence
Rates of physical violence for people over 18 yrs in Australia
PSS 2005 NCSS 2005 GSS 2002
Males 10.4% 4.9% 10.9%
Females 4.7% 4.0% 7.2%
People 7.5% 4.4% 9.0%
PSS – Personal Safety Survey
NCSS – National Crime and Safety Survey
GSS – General Safety Survey
The differences are attributable to methodological and procedural factors, context effects (preceding questions influence
responses to subsequent questions) and question wording. For example, the 2005 PSS asked about the most recent incident of sexual assault and sexual threat and then respondents were instructed to exclude any incidents they had already reported when reporting any incidents of physical assault and physical threat, whereas the GSS only asked about physical assaults and threats. It is possible an incident that may have been reported as sexual assault in the PSS would have been included as a physical assault in the GSS.
Personal Safety Survey, Australian Bureau of Statistics 2005, p28
Women who in the last 12 months experienced:
violence 5.8% 7.1%
physical violence 4.7% 5.9%
sexual violence 1.6%
(both sexual and non-sexual physical violence 0.5%)
physical assault 3.1% 5.0%
threat or attempt of physical violence 2.1%
(both physical violence and threat/attempt 0.5%)
sexual assault 1.3%
threat or attempt of sexual assault 0.5%
(both sexual assault and threat/attempt 0.2%)
Men who in the last 12 months experienced:
physical violence 10.4%
sexual violence 0.6%
(both sexual and non-sexual physical violence 0.2%)
physical assault 6.5%
threat or attempt of physical assault 5.3%
(both physical violence and threat/attempt 1.4%)
sexual assault 0.6%
threat or attempt of sexual assault 0.1%
(both sexual assault and threat/attempt 0.1%)
Note: Violence = assault + threat and/or attempt at assault
People may have experienced violence more than once on the past 12 months, and so the incidence of violence would be higher.
Personal Safety Survey, Australian Bureau of Statistics 2005
It appears the incidence of physical assault against women may have decreased by as much as 40% in the period 1996-2005. This is great news. How about the incidence of violence against men ?
by male stranger by fem. stranger by partner or ex-p other
men 65% 4.4% (21,200)
women 15% 31% (73,800)
Indicates partner or ex-partner violence (a key form of domestic violence) is perpetrated 22.3% by women and 77.7% by men.
This data could vary somewhat depending on statistics of gay relationships and partner violence within those relationships. It is said that partner violence is greatest between lesbian couples.
Also it is suggested that most partner violence involves both couples. However, the above data would contradict this assertion (ie even if there were no examples of women assaulting male partners without male partner retaliation, the above data would indicate about 55% of couples would consist of 55% of men assaulting women without retaliation from the female.
125,100 women experienced physical assault by a male perpetrator at home while 60,900 men experienced physical assault by a female perpetrator at home. This suggests partner or ex-partner violence at home (a key form of domestic violence) is perpetrated 33% by women and 67% by men.
There is likely to have been a greater proportion of women assaulted by unknown male perpetrators entering the home, than men assaulted by female perpetrators entering the home. This implies the ratio of men assaulting women in the home compared to women assaulting men would be closer than 33:67 (eg possibly 40:60 ?)
Of 40,400 of women who were assaulted by a female perpetrator, 25,300 (38%) occurred in a home and 15,100 (22.7%) occurred at licensed premises.
Physical assaults in 12 months prior to the 2005 PSS ABS study.
By men By women Total (By both men and women)
Women victims 195,300 66,579 242,000 19,879
Men victims 425,429 79,500 485,400 19,529
The reason that the total number of victims is less than the number of victims by men plus the number by women is that some people have been a victim of both men and women.
The ratio of male assaulting female compared to female assaulting male (but not only in the home) appears to be 29:71
During the 12 months prior to the survey 1.6% (126,100) of women and 0.6% (46,700) of men experienced an incident of sexual violence.
Of the women who experienced sexual violence 81% (101,600) experienced an incident of sexual assault and 28% (34,900) experienced a threat of sexual assault.
22% (22,100) of women had experienced sexual assault by a stranger in the most recent incident, 21% (21,500) by a previous partner, 39% (39,700) by a family member or friend and 32% (32,500) by an other known person.
In the 12 months prior to the survey, 0.6% (42,300) of men reported experiencing sexual assault.
44% (18,500) had experienced sexual assault by a family member or friend in the most recent incident, 35% (14,900) by an other known person, and 33% (13,900) by a stranger
Since the age of 15, 5.5% (408,100) of men reported experiencing sexual violence compared to 19% (1,469,500) of women.
Since the age of 15, 0.9% (68,100) of men and 2.1% (160,100) of women experienced current partner violence. This implies a ratio of 29:71
10% (16,100) of women who had experienced violence by their current partner had a violence order issued against their current partner as a result of the violence. Of those women who had violence orders issued, 20% (3,200) reported that violence still occurred.
How many men take out violence orders ? How many of those are contravened ?
49% (111,700) of men and women who experienced violence by a current partner reported that they had children in their care at some time during the relationship. An estimated 27% (60,700) said that these children had witnessed the violence.
The proportion of women and men who experienced physical abuse before the age of 15 was 10% (779,500) and 9.4% (702,400) respectively.
Women were more likely to have been sexually abused than men. Before the age of 15, 12% (956,600) of women had been sexually abused compared to 4.5% (337,400) of men.
Personal Safety Survey, Australian Bureau of Statistics 2005
It is clear that female perpetration of domestic violence is not insignificant and likely to be about one third. The common myth is that when women do commit domestic violence, they are driven to it following chronic violence and psychological oppression etc. This myth needs to be tested, as does the rate of psychological and emotional violence perpetrated by both men and women and the relationship of this to physical violence.
Since female perpetration of domestic violence is significant - an estimated 33% - the Domestic Violence campaigns of 2005-06 produced by the Office for the Status of Women which portrays ALL perpetrators as men as ALL victims as women, is biased, sexist and discriminating against men.
Moreover it erodes the self-esteem of men and risks leading to an increase of violent behaviour by men ! Domestic violence has many forms and must be dealt with not as a blame game but a community problem where we can find creative solutions.
The vast majority of incidents reported to the Scottish Police are recorded as incidents involving male perpetrators abusing female victims. As Table 2.1 reveals, the police data suggest that there was little change in the ratios of male to female victims and perpetrators in the last two years in question.
Table 2.1: Incidents of domestic abuse in terms of the sex of the victim and
Victim / Perpetrator Percentage of all incidents of domestic abuse
Female / Male 92.3 92.1
Male / Female 7.0 7.2
Male / Male 0.4 0.4
Female / Female 0.3 0.3
TOTAL 100.0 100.0
Domestic Abuse Against Men in Scotland David Gadd, Stephen Farrall, Damian Dallimore
and Nancy Lombard, Department of Criminology, Keele University, Scottish Executive Central Research Unit
It is often argued by men’s groups that data based on police reports give an inaccurate ratio of domestic violence between men and women, because men are more reluctant to report such incidents to police for a variety of reasons. Also they argue, women often make false claims in order to obtain a domestic violence restraining order, either to alienate a father from his children and/or to obtain an advantage in Family Court proceedings.