Big drop in men experiencing physical violence

THERE's been a big shift in the rate of violence in Australia in the past 10 years, according to the 2016 Personal Safety Survey.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics today released figures from the survey of about 21,000 Australians.

It found there was a drop in the proportion of Australians who said they had experienced some form of violence in the past year.

Just 5.4 per cent of those surveyed said they had experienced physical or sexual violence, compared to 8.3 per cent in 2005.

This drop was mainly driven by the fall in those who had experienced physical violence.

In particular the rate for men almost halved.

The survey found 4.5 per cent of men surveyed had experienced physical violence in the past year, a big drop from the 7.5 per cent in 2005.

The rates for women also improved, dropping from 4.7 per cent to 3.5 per cent.

But the survey shows many Australians continue to experience violence.

About 39 per cent of Australians aged over 18 years had experienced some form of violence since the age of 15.

"The results show that two in five adult Australians had experienced an incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 15," ABS program manager for household surveys Michelle Marquardt said.

"Broken down by gender this was 42 per cent of men and 37 per cent of women."

While many types of assault were on the decline, rates of emotional abuse appeared to be on the rise for both men and women.

Of those surveyed, 3.2 per cent of women said they had experienced emotional abuse from their current partner in the past year, up from 1.9 per cent in 2005.

Emotional abuse is considered behaviour or actions aimed at preventing or controlling behaviour or causing emotional harm or fear.

About 2.9 per cent of men had experienced this form of abuse in the past year compared to 1.3 per cent in 2005.

Overall about 23 per cent of women and 16 per cent of men had experienced emotional abuse by a current or previous partner since the age of 15.


Men were more likely to experience physical violence than women.

About 41 per cent of men said they had been physically attacked since the age of 15, compared to 31 per cent of women.

They were also more likely to be assaulted by a stranger with 27 per cent of men experiencing physical violence from someone they didn't know, compared with 9.4 per cent of women.

But women more likely to experience sexual violence.

About 18 per cent of women has been sexually assaulted since the age of 15 compared to 4.7 per cent of men.

For women this violence was likely to be at the hands of their partners.

Women were eight times more likely to experience sexual violence by a partner than men were.

About 5.1 per cent of women had been attacked by a current or previous live-in partner compared to about 0.6 per cent of men.

The rate of women experiencing sexual violence in the past year (1.8 per cent) has remained fairly steady since 2005 (1.6 per cent) but has increased in the past five years from 1.2 per cent in 2012.

Women were also nearly three times more likely to have experienced violence in general, from a partner than men were. About 17 per cent of women had been attacked by a partner since the age of 15, compared to 6.1 per cent of men.


Men are more likely to be the perpetrators of violence.

About 36 per cent of those who had experienced violence since the age of 15 saying they were attacked by a man. About 11 per cent was from a woman perpetrator.



More than half of all women surveyed said they had been sexually harassed at some point.

About 53 per cent of women and 25 per cent of men had experienced sexual harassment.

"In 2016 alone, one in six women (17 per cent) and one in 11 men (9 per cent) experienced sexual harassment," Ms Marquardt said.

Young women aged 18 to 24 years were most likely to have experienced sexual

harassment, with about 38 per cent saying this had happened in the past year.

Topics:  violence

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