3.6 million Australians have experienced partner emotional abuse, new analysis of ABS data shows.

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3.6 million Australians have experienced partner emotional abuse, new analysis of ABS data shows.

24 August 2022
Woman with gold earrings with pensive look

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has today released new analysis of the Personal Safety Survey data which has shown that an estimated 2.2 million adult women (23 per cent) and 1.4 million adult men (16 per cent) have experienced partner emotional abuse.

New analysis has identified that people were more likely to experience partner emotional abuse were single parents, people with intellectual or psychological disability, and those experiencing financial stress.

Full Stop Australia CEO, Hayley Foster, said that the new analysis was shocking but not surprising.

“We know that people who are impacted by multiple forms of discrimination are at greater risk, particularly for those who are financial dependent,” Ms Foster said.

Ms Foster said the newly released data reinforced the need to not only tackle problematic violence-supportive attitudes in the community, but also to address systematic discrimination and inequality to reduce rates of partner abuse across the country.

“Intimate partner abuse involves an abuse of power, and so we need to address those power inequities within relationships if we want to put a full stop to domestic, family and sexual violence,” Ms Foster said.

Ms Foster said the victimisation data released today was important but that more data needs to be released on the risk factors for perpetration of abuse.

“Whilst we need to consider what makes people more likely to be the target of abuse, we also need to understand the factors that make more likely for someone to perpetrate abuse,” Ms Foster said.

“We know, for example, that the biggest correlating factor to someone perpetrating abuse is gender, with 95% of people who experiencing violence naming a male perpetrator.”

“The risk with focusing on the characteristics and circumstances of the victim of abuse is that we consciously or sub-consciously blame them or explain away the abuse.”

Key findings from the new analysis reveals:

  • One in four women and one in six men identify that they have experienced partner emotional abuse since the age of 15.
  • Over half of women and a quarter of men who report experiencing partner emotional abuse also report experiencing physical and/or sexual violence by a partner
  • Financial stress, living with intellectual or psychological disability and single parenthood were associated with higher rates of reported partner emotional abuse.

The latest analysis from the Australian Bureau of Statistics can be accessed here.