3.5 Domestic violence

Domestic violence is a key risk factor for child abuse and neglect. Children living with domestic violence are at high risk of experiencing physical abuse, and the complex trauma caused by living in such an environment can have profound long-term psychological effects. Children who witness domestic violence have been shown to have significantly poorer developmental and behavioural outcomes. Domestic violence is also linked with homelessness and housing instability for victims fleeing violent partners.

This indicator reports on the population of adults, who had children in their care, and who experienced current partner violence in the 12 months prior to the reported period or since they were 15 years of age.

Trend data: For all indicator displays, the yearly trend is limited to indicators with 3 or more years (including the current year) of comparable time series data. To see the trend click on “Yearly Trend” button on the display. Where 3 or more years of comparable data including the most recent year is not available, a “No time series data” message is shown on the display.

The figure shows the proportion of adults who experienced current partner violence and their children saw or heard the violence in the previous 12 months, 2012 to 2016. The proportion was 86.8% for 2016.

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Personal Safety survey, Australia

See the supplementary data tables for further information and footnotes about these data.

Indicator technical specifications

The information below provides technical specifications for the summary indicator data presented in the quick reference guide.

National Framework Indicator 3.5 Domestic violence: Proportion of adults who experienced current partner violence and their children saw or heard the violence in the previous 12 months
  Definition Data source
Numerator Number of adults aged 18 years and over who experienced current partner violence, had children in their care when the violence occurred in the previous 12 months, and the children saw or heard the violence ABS Personal Safety Survey
Denominator Number of adults aged 18 years and over who experienced current partner violence, and had children in their care when the violence occurred in the previous 12 months ABS Personal Safety Survey

Explanatory notes

The indicator reflects the number of adults who experienced partner violence and had children in their care, not the number of children exposed to current partner violence. Some adults may have had multiple children in their care.

Due to the sensitive nature of the information being collected, the self-reported data may underestimate the number of adults with children exposed to partner violence. However, special procedures were used to ensure the safety of those participating and the reliability of the data provided.

Some estimates have high relative standard errors and should be used with caution.