Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

National survey to produce data on violence against women

The Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women, Senator Kay Patterson, today announced the 2005 Personal Safety Survey, which will produce national data on violence against women.

“I am pleased to announce that the Memorandum of Understanding for the partnership between the Office of the Status of Women and the Australian Bureau of Statistics for the 2005 Personal Safety Survey, was signed late in April,” she said.

“The $3.4 million Personal Safety Survey data will be available in 2006 to complement the 1996 Women’s Safety Survey, which was a landmark national survey of women’s experiences of violence.

“The 2005 Personal Safety Survey is being funded under the National Initiative to Combat Sexual Assault and Partnerships Against Domestic Violence.

“It is part of the Howard Government’s commitment to reducing and preventing violence against women and demonstrates the Australian Government’s leadership role in this area. We have further strengthened our commitment through the recent budget announcement of $6.7 million for the national campaign for the elimination of violence against women.

“The Howard Government takes the issue of domestic violence and sexual assault very seriously and since 1997 it has allocated more than $73 million to this area.

“The effects of domestic violence are pervasive, yet there is little national data on this issue. Violence against women devastates the lives of children, individuals, and families from all walks of life and is not restricted to any particular race, community or socioeconomic group.”

The 2005 Personal Safety Survey will produce national data on violence against women, establishing the nature and prevalence of physical violence and sexual violence against women and men aged 18 years and over in Australia.

The Survey will include data on sexual assault, which often occurs within domestic relationships. While sexual assault can happen to anyone – men, women, or children – the overwhelming majority (86%) of victims of sexual assault are female.

The last survey showed 23% of women who are, or have been, in a relationship experienced violence from their partner.

Senator Patterson said: “These statistics highlight the significant impact of violence on women, their families and the Australian community. The Australian Government believes that all forms of domestic violence and sexual assault are completely unacceptable.

“Gathering high quality statistical information is of vital importance to continuing to develop and evaluate policies and programmes that prevent violence against women.”