Violence against women is violence that is directed against a woman, because she is a woman, or that affects women disproportionately.
Violence against women is a broad term which includes domestic violence, family violence and sexual harassment and assault.
It happens in homes, in social and recreational contexts, on the street, in workplaces, schools and online. The perpetrator is most often known to the victim.
Australian women’s experience of violence
- 1 in 3 women have experienced physical violence since the age of 15
- 1 in 5 women have experienced sexual violence since the age of 15
- 1 in 4 women have experienced at least one incident of non-physical abuse from a partner since the age of 15.
Violence against women is not just physical
Women experience physical and sexual violence. But perpetrators can use a range of other abusive behaviours to manipulate, coerce, control, threaten and harm victims. All forms of abuse can have significant and long-term health and wellbeing, economic and social impacts on victims.
Abusive behaviours that are non-physical include technological, financial, social, spiritual and emotional abuse.
- Sending nude or embarrassing images of a partner to other people.
- Tracking a partner’s whereabouts using a phone or GPS device without consent.
- Accessing a partner’s private messages or conversations.
- Posting messages from a partner’s accounts.
- Using technology to send unwanted images or messages.
- Not allowing a partner to have debit/credit cards or access to bank accounts.
- Not giving a partner access to shared bank accounts.
- Spending or borrowing a partner’s money without their knowledge or agreement.
- Forcing a partner to quit their job or lose their income.
- Holding back funds for necessities like food, medication, or disability-related equipment.
- Stopping a partner from seeing certain people or groups of people.
- Forcing a partner to live far away from family or friends.
- Sabotaging a partner’s relationships or damaging their reputation.
- Deliberately embarrassing a partner in front of other people.
- Stopping a partner from visiting their place of worship or spiritual community.
- Not allowing a partner to practice their beliefs and customs.
- Forcing a partner to practice beliefs or customs which they don’t believe in.
- Shaming a partner for not practising their beliefs strictly enough.
- Using spiritual beliefs to justify abuse or harmful behaviour.
- Verbal aggression and fits of rage.
- Blackmail, including threatening to leave a partner or to harm people or pets.
- Regularly teasing or putting someone down to damage a partner’s self-worth.
- ‘Gaslighting’ or tricking and lying to make a partner question their own sanity.
- Constantly correcting or criticising to diminish a partner’s confidence.
Detailed facts and statistics
A reliable source of quick facts about violence against women
Quick facts from Our Watch that are a reliable and easy to access source of high-level statistics and evidence on violence against women in Australia.
An infographic showing statistics about violence against women
This infographic from Our Watch illustrates how systems and structures of oppression and discrimination affect people differently.
Social media tiles for communications based on Change the story
A collection of social media tiles developed by Our Watch for the 2021 '16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence' campaign, based on the updated edition of Change the story.
What abuse can look like
Animations that explain different kinds of non-physical abuse
Animated videos created by Our Watch that explain different kinds of non-physical abuse.
A storytelling resource about non-physical violence
Unpacking Violence is a storytelling resource created by Our Watch to help you understand nonphysical forms of abuse and the gendered drivers of violence against women.
Different terms for violence that happens to women
Information about different ypes of violence against women, from the Our Watch website Media Making Change.