Statistic for domestic violence

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How are individuals identified for a MARAC?

Practitioners are required to carry out a risk-assessment. This involves asking the person who is experiencing domestic violence a list of questions to determine the level of risk posed. If the risk assessment score is 14 or more, the MARAC threshold for high-risk has been met and a referral to should be made. Once a high-risk case is identified, the practitioner contacts the MARAC administrator to ascertain whether or not a referral has already been made to MARAC by another agency. If it has not, the practitioner can make a referral. Referrals are submitted securely (via secure email) to the MARAC administrator at least 8 days prior to the MARAC.

If you have been referred to a MARAC and would like more information or if you simply would like more information, contact the 24 Hour Domestic & Sexual Violence Helpline.

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Do children experience domestic violence?

Children and young people will experience domestic violence in many ways and every experience will be different. A study by Hughes (1992) of families, who had experienced domestic violence, showed that 90% of children were in the same or next room when the violence was occurring. Studies by Leighton (1989) showed that 68% of children from families where there was a history of domestic violence were witnesses. The Hidden Victims Study of 108 mothers attending NCH family centres who had experienced domestic violence showed that 90% of children were aware of the violence, 75% had witnessed violence, 10% had witnessed sexual violence, 99% of children had seen their mothers crying or upset as a result of the violence and more than half of the women (52%) said their children had seen the resulting injuries. The Hidden Victims Study also showed that more than a quarter (27%) of the children involved had been hit or physically abused by the violent partner.

UNICEF research released in 2006, showing per capita incidence, indicates that there are up to 32,000 children and young people living with domestic violence in Northern Ireland.

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What are the effects on children?

Domestic violence can have adverse effects on children and young people and can be traumatic. It can impact upon all areas of life, including, health, education and the development of relationships. The effects of domestic violence on children are wide ranging and will differ for each child. A wealth of research has identified domestic violence as an underlying theme behind social issues such as, school dropout and exclusion, youth homelessness and young people engaging in risk taking behaviour. Children and young people have varying levels of resilience and all agencies that come into contact with children and young people who experience domestic violence, have a responsibility to build upon this resilience.

” Children and young people’s experiences of domestic violence

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How can I support a friend or family member who is experiencing domestic violence?

If your friend has trusted in you and disclosed the violence they are experiencing, this is a very positive step. It can be difficult to know how to respond, especially if you are concerned your friend might be in danger. However, there are ways you can support your friend:

  • Be there – let them know you are there for them no matter what. Keep lines of communication open and ensure they can contact you at any time.
  • Don’t judge – don’t get frustrated with you friend if they are not ready to leave the abusive situation. The decision to leave has to come from them. Be there to support them with their choices.
  • Reassure – your friend may feel they are to blame for the violence. Reassure your friend that it is not their fault and they do not deserve to be treated like this.
  • Get support – find out what help is available for your friend and share this. Encourage your friend to access support that is available. Ensure they have emergency phone numbers and contact details of organisations that can help. You or your friend can contact the 24 Hour Domestic & Sexual Violence Helpline.
  • Talk through options – talk to your friend about the abuse and explore options and choices. Try not to be judgemental if they are not ready to do anything yet.

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How can I support a neighbour who is experiencing domestic violence?

There may be many reasons you suspect this, you may have heard noises which have alarmed you or you may have seen incidents or injuries which have caused you suspicion. It can be very difficult to know what to do for the best in this situation, especially if you do not know the person well. You may feel reluctant to raise your concerns with your neighbour, you may feel it is none of your business, you may also fear that if you get involved it may exacerbate the situation.

It is important to remember your neighbour may be in danger. If you hear an incident and think your neighbour and any children living in the household are in danger, you could contact the police. If you are concerned for the safety and well being of the children, you could consider contacting the gateway team of your local Health and Social Care Trust or NSPCC.

If you know your neighbour well, you could increase contact. You may find that as trust increases your neighbour may open up to you more. You can then encourage them to seek support in the ways outlined above.

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How can I support a child or young person who is experiencing domestic violence?

If a child discloses domestic violence, it is vital that you respond in a way which is supportive and proactive.

Explore feelings

Find safe and confidential ways of asking children about their feelings and experiences.

Listen and believe

Listen to what they are saying and above all believe them.

Safety plan

Explore options for keeping safe and help them to develop a safety plan.

Inform yourself and them

Find out and know what help is available for them, and their mothers.


If you have child protection concerns, refer to the gateway team of your local Health and Social Care Trust or NSPCC.

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What help is available?

Everyone has the right to live a life free from violence. It is important to remember, help is at hand. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence they can get help.

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I am doing a school/university project about domestic violence. Where can I get more help?

Hopefully this website will provide you with useful information and resources which you can use for your project. The frequently asked questions section will give you a detailed overview of domestic violence and will hopefully answer some of the questions you may have.

Have a look also at our up-to-date resources section. You can also check out our recent policy submissions to see how we have responded to key government initiatives and consultations.

Should you feel that you require additional information, you will also find links to other useful websites which provide a wealth of up to date research studies and information. Good luck with your project!

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What about men?: Challenging the MRA claim of a domestic violence conspiracy

People who argue male victims of domestic violence are overlooked by police, the courts, and health services often quote a single, trusty statistic: one in three DV victims are male.

If this article brings up any issues for you, you can contact 1800 RESPECT

But what is meant by ‘domestic violence’ isn’t always clear.

The term has historically been synonymous with men’s violence against their intimate female partners. In Queensland law, for example, domestic violence originally referred only to intimate partner violence. In Tasmanian legislation, family violence refers only to partner violence. But when the advocacy group ‘One in Three’ claims that one in three victims of domestic violence are male, it’s referring to domestic and family violence, and not only intimate partner violence. Other campaigners will often quote the ‘one in three’ without reference to family violence at all.

In recent years, some Men’s Rights Activist groups (MRA) have become active in debates around domestic violence. While not all MRAs hold this view, some of them argue that men are victims of a conspiracy of silence around partner violence. One MRA group even advertises itself with an image of bashed man and the text ‘It’s amazing what my wife can do with a frying pan’.

During ABC TV’s Hack Live: Is male privilege bullsh*t? in June, we took a closer look at claims about domestic violence. The founder of Men’s Rights Sydney told Hack that “one in three domestic violence victims are men”.

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MRA domestic violence claims


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On the Hack Live TV show, ‘anti-feminist’ Daisy Cousens, supported by Adrian, quoted US statistics to argue that women and men had close to the same “lifetime victim prevalence” of violence against them in relationships.

This article is focusing on the claim that one in three victims of intimate partner violence are men. You can learn more about male victims of family violence through this Fact Check explainer, and the One in Three response.

Hack has spoken with experts in the fields of gender and domestic violence, as well as men working with male DV victims.

The picture that emerges is blurry in places; domestic violence happens out of sight and is difficult to measure with accuracy. This has allowed some MRAs to question the basis of the national effort to help the predominantly female victims of domestic violence, while also picking the data that fits the narrative of male victimisation.

Where does ‘one in three’ come from?

The figure comes from the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) Personal Safety Survey (PSS), which is used extensively by domestic violence organisations. The last PSS was released in 2012 and was based on a survey group of about 17,000 men and women.

Respondents were asked questions like, have they experienced partner violence since the age of 15? Was the perpetrator a stranger? Were they male? Female?

In the 2012 PSS, about 33 per cent of people who had experienced domestic violence from a current partner in the last 12 months were men.

The ABS warns the estimate has a standard error of 25-50 per cent (meaning the real figure could be up to 50 per cent higher or lower) and “should be used with caution”.

What does ‘one in three’ measure?

It measures violence, which the ABS defines as everything from being pushed or grabbed, to being shot or beaten with “an object that could hurt you”.

That’s quite a range of violence.

Dr Michael Salter, a senior lecturer in criminology at Western Sydney University, said it was important to understand domestic violence as a pattern of behaviour intended to humiliate and control the partner, and not just any act of violence within the home, or between partners.

The one in three figure doesn’t account for this important distinction. It can’t tell the difference between a woman’s random slap and a man regularly beating his partner over several months.

“For men experiencing violence from a female partner, it’s primarily self defensive or it’s expressive in terms of a push or a slap,” Dr Salter said.

In 2015, the NSW coroner reviewed all intimate partner homicides over the last decade and found no incidents where a woman killed a man because she was a domestic violence offender.

When women did kill their male partner, or ex-partner, it was defensive – he had a history of perpetrating violence against her.

Dr Salter said police and health services reports showed that when a woman was violent against their partner, she was typically either defending herself or her kids.

“There are forms of violence that, simply put, women don’t do to men in relationships,” he said.

“That includes strangulation, damage to property, the mutilation and killing of pets, and sexual violence in a domestically abusive relationship.”

This was backed up by Michael Brandenburg, strategy manager at No To Violence / Men’s Referral Service, the peak body for organisations and individuals working with men to end family violence in Victoria and New South Wales. He helps male victims of domestic violence.

“We probably need to get a bit better at defining what we mean by family violence in the context of power, the context of fear,” he said.

“Our experience over the last 15-20 years is a lot of women’s violence is linked to protecting themselves and protecting their children.

“It’s not necessarily around a coercive pattern of behaviour.”

Where are these male victims coming from?

Dr Michael Flood, an Associate Professor of Sociology at Queensland University of Technology, with a focus on gender and masculinities, said that by focusing on the tiny proportion of violent women, the MRAs only shifted the focus away from the real threat: violent men.

According to the ABS, 89 per cent of males and 67 per cent of females who were victims of physical assault reported that the offender was male.

Michael Brandenburg said that, in his 25 years experience, where there was domestic violence against men, it tended to be perpetrated by other male family members.

“One of the challenges we’re finding at the moment is men moving back home to live with elderly parents,” he said.

“There’s some violence occurring in those relationships.”

Are men less likely to report being hit by a woman?

Some MRAs argue the one in three figure actually underestimates the number of male victims of domestic violence, because men are either too ashamed, too stoic, or too chivalrous to report being hit by their female partner.

Hack has heard from men who said they were too afraid to report violence by their female partner, or thought the police wouldn’t take them seriously.

But apart from these anecdotal reports, there’s only mixed evidence to back up this claim, with some studies showing men are more likely to report violence, and others showing they’re less likely.

It’s also possible many women are afraid to report domestic violence.

Dr Salter pointed out that men often testify to police about being the victims of violence, even though, like with being beaten up by a woman, this violence has been humiliating.

“Men can report degrading violence by men but somehow they’re terrified to report violence by their female partner,” he said.

“I don’t think this is a logical argument.”

Are women more likely to abuse men emotionally?

Some MRAs argue men are being emotionally abused by women and this isn’t being picked up by the domestic violence stats.

According to the PSS, men are more likely to have experienced emotional abuse than violence (14 per cent had experienced emotional abuse by a partner since the age of 15, compared to 5 per cent who had experienced violence). Women are also more likely to have experienced emotional abuse than violence (about one in four compared to one in six).

Dr Salter warns against drawing an equivalence between emotional abuse and physical and sexual violence, which can be life threatening.

“We need to take emotional abuse very seriously,” he said.

“But they’re not interchangeable.”

So are men being overlooked as victims, or not?

Last year, former Australian of the Year David Morrison warned against Australia becoming “a nation of bystanders comforted by a set of statistics”. The point of challenging MRA stats isn’t to diminish male victims, or encourage people to be bystanders to male suffering.

Men remain the primary victims of violence in our society.

But as the ABS statistics show, they’re not being murdered by women. The violence against men is being perpetrated by men.

“Certainly there’s a cohort of men who experience family violence,” Michael Brandenburg said.

“In our experience a significant number of those experience violence not by intimate partners, but from other family members.”

Two of the 227 recommendations of the Victorian Royal Commission related to male victims of family and domestic violence:

  • Government to promote the Victims Support Agency as the main source of assistance for male victims. Agency to provide online resources.
  • Victims Support Agency and other relevant support services should develop arrangements to ensure male victims get help.

It acknowledged men are victims too:

“The Commission concluded that, although resources should not be diverted from women and children, who constitute the majority of victims, the family violence system needs to respond more supportively to male victims of family violence.”

Editor’s note: This article has been updated from the version originally published.

Further information can be found here:

Is This Abuse?

What Is Domestic Violence?

Does your partner ever….

  • Insult, demean or embarrass you with put-downs?
  • Control what you do, who you talk to or where you go?
  • Look at you or act in ways that scare you?
  • Push you, slap you, choke you or hit you?
  • Stop you from seeing your friends or family members?
  • Control the money in the relationship? Take your money or Social Security check, make you ask for money or refuse to give you money?
  • Make all of the decisions without your input or consideration of your needs?
  • Tell you that you’re a bad parent or threaten to take away your children?
  • Prevent you from working or attending school?
  • Act like the abuse is no big deal, deny the abuse or tell you it’s your own fault?
  • Destroy your property or threaten to kill your pets?
  • Intimidate you with guns, knives or other weapons?
  • Attempt to force you to drop criminal charges?
  • Threaten to commit suicide, or threaten to kill you?

If you answered ‘yes’ to even one of these questions, you may be in an unhealthy or abusive relationship. In this section, you’ll find more information on the types of abuse, why people abuse and why it’s so difficult to leave. Don’t hesitate to chat or call us (1-800-799-7233) if anything you read raises a red flag about your own relationship or that of someone you know.

We’re here to help.

Everyone who is living in an abusive relationship experiences this in different ways. However, there are often patterns to abusive behaviours. This includes controlling, bullying and / or violent behaviour. The behaviour can be from your partner, ex-partner or close family member. If you are worried that you or a friend may be experiencing abuse then you could try working your way through our checklist below.

  1. Does your partner or someone close to you criticise you, put you down or call you names?
  2. Are you frightened about how your partner will react if you get into an argument?
  3. Are you frightened of your partner when he or she has been drinking?
  4. Has your partner ever hit you?
  5. Does your partner complain about your friendships or family members or stop you from seeing them?
  6. Does your partner ask you to do things you are uncomfortable with?
  7. Are you ever worried that your children are seeing or hearing things they shouldn’t be?
  8. Has your partner ever forced you to have sex with him/her or with other people? Has he/she made you participate in sexual activities that you were uncomfortable with?
  9. Has your partner ever kept you short of money so you are unable to buy food and other necessary items for yourself and your children?
  10. Has you partner prevented you from continuing or starting a college course, or from going to work?
  11. Does your partner constantly check up on you or follow you?
  12. Has your partner ever tried to control you by telling you you could be deported because of your immigration status?
  13. Has you partner ever threatened to take your children away or said he/she would refuse to let you take them with you, or even to see them, if you left him/her?

If you answered ‘Yes’ to any of the questions, give our helpline a call on: 03000 110 110 or email us: [email protected]