This research, led by Anthony Morgan and Hayley Boxall at the Australian Institute of Criminology, focuses on the intersection of economic insecurity and women’s experiences of intimate partner violence (IPV) in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia. The findings are based on a survey of 10,000 women in Australia, aged 18 years and over, administered between February and April 2021. This report represents Stage 2 of a larger national study, with Stage 1 focusing on women’s experiences of IPV more broadly during the first 12 months of the pandemic.

The report finds that experiences of economic insecurity were common among women during the first 12 months of COVID-19. Economic insecurity was associated with an increased likelihood of IPV among women, and co-occurred with other vulnerabilities reported by women which were associated with an increased likelihood of IPV.

The report also finds that economic disparity within relationships was associated with IPV – even after controlling for economic insecurity. The relationship between economic status, stress and disparity and IPV varied according to the type of IPV, and whether it was experienced as a chronic condition or an acute stressor. Finally, consistent with other Australian and international research, there was clear evidence that the acute economic stressors associated with the COVID-19 pandemic were associated with both the onset and escalation of IPV.

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Research report 02/2022