Author Karen Freeman
Published April 2022
Report Type Bureau Brief No. BB158
Subject Domestic violence
Keywords domestic and family violence, victim, reporting rates, intimate partner violence

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To examine prevalence and trends in domestic and family violence (DFV) in New South Wales (NSW).


This is a descriptive study drawing upon pooled data from 12 consecutive Crime Victimisation, Australia surveys from financial years 2008/09 to 2019/20. Self-reported rates of physical assault, threatened assault and police reporting rates of domestic and family violence are considered for NSW and Australia across four three-year time periods.


Using victimisation surveys from 2008/09 to 2019/20, and comparing victimisation rates across three-year pooled estimates, no significant changes were found in the NSW victimisation rate for physical DFV between consecutive time periods. This finding remained consistent when threats of physical DFV were included.

The victimisation rates for physical DFV in NSW were generally consistent with the national victimisation rates with the exception of the period July 2014 to June 2017, where the NSW victimisation rate was significantly lower than the national rate.

Approximately 60 percent of NSW victims of physical DFV reported the most recent incident to police. The proportion of victims reporting physical DFV to police did not change significantly over the time periods examined. A similar pattern was found when victims of threatened assaults were included in the analysis.


It is estimated that in NSW over 40,000 persons aged 15 and over experienced at least one episode of physical violence by an intimate partner or family member within a 12 month period. This equates to approximately 650 per 100,000 persons or approximately one in every 155 persons. The survey data suggest that the prevalence of physical DFV in NSW did not change significantly over the time periods examined. This finding support trends in the rate of domestic violence related assault recorded by NSW Police which also remained stable in the 15 years to September 2021.