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Almost all assaults against women committed by partners or family members, new study finds

April 20, 2017

A new study from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has found that nearly all cases of violence against women are perpetuated by a family member, partner, or spouse. According to the study, nearly 6,500 women and girls were hospitalized in Australia in 2013-14 as a result of assault — of the women who specified an attacker, 59 percent said that their injuries were caused by their spouse or domestic partner. While nearly a quarter of assault victims did not know or would not say who attacked them, parents and other family members accounted for nearly half of all other cases.

Men were more than twice as likely to be hospitalized for assault than women, according to the findings, and men were also much more likely to be attacked by “an acquaintance or somebody they don’t know,” explained professor James Harrison, an injury epidemiologist for AIHW. Women, by contrast, were assaulted by spouses and family members in a “distressingly high proportion of cases.”

Avoiding assault was nearly impossible for many women, Harrison added, noting that 69 percent of women who specified the location of their assault said that they were attacked in their own home. For women ages 15 years and older, the study found that eight percent of victims were pregnant when they were assaulted.

“If it’s your family member or spouse and it’s happening at home, where’s your refuge?” Harrison asked. “That’s what’s particularly distressing about this, I think.”

In January, a report from the Human Rights Commission found that 40 percent of homicides in Australia between 2010 and 2012 occurred in a domestic context, and that 60 percent of deaths were a result of intimate partner homicide.

Read the full story at The Guardian.


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