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Domestic violence risks for women with long term health conditions during COVID-19 pandemic

The Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) conducted a large online survey of women about their experiences of domestic violence during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the request of the Disability Royal Commission, a separate analysis of women who reported having a long-term health condition was carried out.

‘Restrictive long-term health condition’ was defined in a way that indicates the person has a disability.

The analysis found that women in this group who responded to the online survey recorded high levels of physical and non-physical violence during the early stages of the pandemic:

  • 1 in 8 had experienced physical violence by a current partner
  • 1 in 10 had experienced sexual violence by a current partner
  • 1 in 5 had experienced emotionally abusive, harassing or controlling behaviour by a current partner
  • 1 in 7 had experienced coercive control by a current partner

Multiple forms of both physical and non-physical violence and abuse were common, with the probability of experiencing physical or sexual abuse almost 4 times higher, and that of experiencing coercive control almost 3.5 times higher, for women with a restrictive long-term health condition.

First Nations women or women from non-English speaking backgrounds with long term health conditions were found to be at an even greater risk of being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and experiencing physical or sexual violence or coercive control.

For further information, please contact the Disability Royal Commission Media team on 0436 841 166