Australian Institute of Criminology

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Partner violence among a sample of alleged offenders

Media Release

18 June 2007

Fact sheet accompanying media release

A comparative analysis was undertaken of intimate partner violence amongst alleged offenders detained by police.

Information was gathered through an addendum on violence in the home that was added to the Drug Use Monitoring in Australia questionnaire in the first quarter of 2003 and the third quarter of 2005.

In total, 1,597 alleged offenders (1,355 males; 242 females) provided details of their experiences of intimate partner violence.

The research found that the level of intimate partner violence was higher among alleged offenders (49%) than in the general population. A recent national personal safety survey found that in the year preceding the survey 16% of women and 6% of men experienced physical assault from a current partner.

Both male and female alleged offenders who come into contact with police experience similarly high levels of recent intimate partner violence, with the majority involved as both perpetrators and victims.

Of the alleged offenders who were involved in partner violence:

  • two-thirds of the males (66%) and around three-quarters of the females (74%) reported being both victims and perpetrators of partner violence in the last 12 months
  • the percentage of females who reported being victims only was similar to that of males (20% versus 19%)
  • males were more likely than females to report being perpetrators only (14% versus 7%).

Significant risk markers of partner violence were found to be:

  • prior arrest
  • drug and alcohol dependency
  • having dependent children at home
  • experience of physical abuse as a child.

A higher percentage of males (22% males; 13% females) had been arrested for an incident related to domestic violence.

Females (15% females; 8% males) were more likely to have a gun or knife used against them in partner violence.