Emotional abuse

An estimated 41% of Australian adults who have experienced emotional abuse by a current or previous partner since the age of 15 have disability.

Adults with disability were more likely than those without to experience emotional abuse from a current or previous partner (Figure 1). After the age of 15, an estimated:

  • 1 in 4 (26% or 1.5 million) adults with disability have experienced emotional abuse from a current or previous partner, compared with 1 in 5 (17% or 2.1 million) without disability
  • 1 in 3 (32%) women with disability have experienced emotional abuse from a current or previous partner, compared with 19% of women without disability
  • 1 in 5 (20%) men with disability have experienced emotional abuse from a current or previous partner, compared with 14% of men without disability.

Adults with disability are more likely than those without to experience emotional abuse. Adults with disability who were emotionally abused by their most recently emotionally abusive previous partner after the age of 15, are more likely than those without disability to report they experienced:

  • financial abuse—50% with disability, compared with 37% without disability
  • deprivation of basic needs such as food, shelter, sleep or assistive aids—14% with disability, compared with 8%
  • insults intended to cause shame or humiliation—56% with disability, compared with 46% (AIHW 2019).

Adults with disability are somewhat more likely to experience emotional abuse from multiple previous partners. Of adults who have experienced emotional abuse from a previous partner after the age of 15, almost 1 in 4 (24%) of those with disability experienced such abuse from more than 1 partner, compared with 16% without disability (AIHW 2019).

References

ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) 2017. Microdata: personal safety, Australia, 2016. ABS cat. no. 4906.0.55.001. Canberra: ABS. AIHW analysis of detailed microdata in DataLab.

AIHW (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare) 2019. Family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia: continuing the national story 2019. Cat. no. FDV 3. Canberra: AIHW. https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/domestic-violence/family-domestic-sexual-violence-australia-2019/contents/table-of-contents