Who is at risk of Domestic Violence?

Jun 19, 2019

Domestic and family violence can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, race, religion, or sexual identity. It can affect people no matter what their background and can be experienced by both rich and poor. However, there are groups of people who are at a higher risk of experiencing family violence than others. These groups can also experience violence more often and sometimes have more trouble getting help and access to support services.


Women are more likely to experience family violence. While men are more likely to experience violence from strangers in public places, women are more likely to experience violence in their own home and from people that they know. They are also more likely to die as a result of family violence.

Pregnant Women

Being pregnant can increase a woman’s risk of experiencing family violence, even when the pregnancy was planned by both parents. Pregnancy can be a trigger for jealousy for the perpetrator, who may feel they are losing control over their partner.

Separated Women

Separated women are more likely to experience domestic violence than married women. Violence can follow a separation, or the couple may have separated because of family violence. Often violence can increase after separation and can result in more serious injury or death. A perpetrator may use a range of tactics to stop their partner from leaving them, including threatening to cut off financial support, take away their children, or hurt themselves.

People with a disability

People with a disability are at greater risk of experiencing family or domestic violence, from a wide range of perpetrators including intimate partners, family members, carers, staff or residents in institutions or disability support workers. Types of violence that people with a disability are more likely to experience include physical, sexual and psychological violence. They may also experience controlling behaviours such as not being able to make decisions about their body or healthcare, or financial abuse.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are more likely to experience family and domestic violence than non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. They are also more likely to be hospitalised or die from family violence. There can be barriers that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience when seeking support for family violence, such as fear of repercussions in the community, a fear and distrust of the police, justice system and government agencies, or not having access to support services.

People who are Culturally & Linguistically Diverse (CALD) including migrants and refugees

People from CALD background may be at a higher risk of violence. These types of violence can include being stopped from learning a new language, having documents such as passports and citizenship papers withheld or destroyed, or being forced to marry or be in a relationship unwillingly. Other types of violence can include not being allowed to participate in cultural activities, or having your background used against you.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual,, Transexual and Intersex (LGBTI) people

Someone who identifies as Lesbian, Gay or Bisexual (LGB) is as likely as non-LGB people to experience domestic and family violence. While there is limited data, the current research shows that people who identify as transgender or intersex experience much higher rates of violence. Domestic violence in LGBTI relationships can be different and may include using a person’s gender or sexuality to control them. A perpetrator may create fear by discriminating, threatening to “out” a person, or making them feel isolated from LGBTI communities.

Older people

Older people can be more at risk of some types of abuse such as physical violence, for example being stopped from having food, water or medication, being stopped from moving freely or being treated roughly when cared for. Other types of abuse might include psychological or emotional violence including being yelled at and called names or threatening to take away things the older person needs.

If you or someone you know is experiencing family violence there is help available. Head to our Seek Help page, or in the case of an emergency please call 000 or 1800 RESPECT.