Family, domestic and sexual violence is a major national health and welfare issue that can have lifelong impacts for victims and perpetrators. It affects people of all ages and from all backgrounds, but predominantly affects women and children. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2016 Personal Safety Survey (PSS) estimated that 2.2 million adults have been victims of physical and/or sexual violence from a partner since the age of 15 (ABS 2017c).

This report builds on the AIHW’s inaugural Family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia 2018 report (AIHW 2018b). It presents new information on vulnerable groups, such as children and young women. It examines elder abuse in the context of family, domestic and sexual violence, and includes new data on telephone and web-based support services, community attitudes, sexual harassment and stalking. It also includes the latest data on homicides, child protection, hospitals and specialist homelessness services.

Family violence refers to violence between family members, typically where the perpetrator exercises power and control over another person. The most common and pervasive instances occur in intimate (current or previous) partner relationships and are usually referred to as domestic violence. Sexual violence refers to behaviours of a sexual nature carried out against a person’s will. It can be perpetrated by a current or previous partner, other people known to the victim, or strangers.

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