Domestic violence escalates during COVID-19

Almost one in 10 Australian women in a relationship have experienced domestic violence during the coronavirus crisis, new research reveals.

The Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) surveyed 15,000 women aged 18 years and older online in May 2020 about their experience of domestic violence, after COVID-19 first started impacting Australia.

The research provides the most detailed information in the world about the prevalence and nature of domestic violence experienced by women during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The data reveals that 4.6 per cent of all women who responded to the survey—and 8.8 per cent of women in a cohabiting domestic relationship—experienced physical or sexual violence from a current or former partner in the three months prior to the survey.

Many women reported it was the first time their partner had been violent, while others said the violence was getting worse. For 33 per cent of these women, this was the first time they had experienced physical or sexual violence within their relationship.

More than half (53%) of women who had experienced physical or sexual violence before February 2020 said the violence had become more frequent or severe since the start of the pandemic.

One in three women (36.96%) who experienced physical or sexual violence or coercive control said that, on at least one occasion, they wanted to seek advice or support but could not because of safety reasons.

Read more and download the AIC paper on the survey data here.

RLC’s Financial Abuse Service NSW recognises that financial abuse in intimate partner relationships is increasing during the coronavirus pandemic. 

We have expanded our support during COVID-19, and are taking on additional staff and volunteers to meet demand. If you have experienced financial abuse contact us at or call 0481 730 344.

Source/further info: 

The prevalence of domestic violence among women during the COVID-19 pandemic (Australian Institute of Criminology)

Domestic violence on the rise during pandemic (The Sydney Morning Herald, 13 July 2020)