Author Christine Coumarelos and Jacqui Allen
Published November 1999
Report Type Crime and Justice Bulletin No. 47
Subject Assault; Sexual assault and violence; Women; Domestic violence
Keywords 1996 Women's Safety Survey, women, violence, assault, sexual assault

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The present bulletin examines the factors which predict whether women victims of violence in Australia (i) report the violence to police and (ii) use the services available for victims.


The willingness of Australian women to report violence and to use the services available for victims of violence has remained low despite significant reforms in the last two decades intended primarily to protect women’s rights in the area of violence. The present study investigated the predictors of willingness to report violence and use victim services among Australian women victims of violence. Data on 412 victims of physical assault and 139 victims of sexual assault were drawn from the 1996 Women’s Safety Survey, a nationally representative sample survey. Logistic regression analyses showed consistently that assault not involving injury and assault perpetrated by a current partner were less likely than other types of assault to be reported and to result in the use of victim services. The analyses also showed that, in some instances, there were relatively lower reporting and service use rates for young, Australian-born and first-time victims. The policy and research implications of the results are discussed.