Intimate partner violence is the most common type of violence against women, affecting 30 per cent of women worldwide, according to the 2013 World Health Organization report Global and regional estimates of violence against women: Prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence.
And Australia is not immune.
Violence against women is a serious problem in Australia, where at least one woman is killed every week by a current or former partner.
The Australian Institute of Criminology reports that 36 per cent of all homicides take place in a domestic setting and 73 per cent of those involve a woman being killed by their male partner.
Furthermore, Australian Bureau of Statistics data indicates that that one in three Australian women over the age of 15 reports having experienced physical or sexual violence at some time in their lives.
The impact of violence against women is widespread and long-standing, generating profound personal, social and economic costs for individuals, communities and the nation.
In the 2009 Time for Action report, KPMG estimated that violence against women and their children cost the Australian economy $13.6 billion annually and this was expected to rise to $15.6 billion by 2021. In 2013, KPMG announced the annual cost had already reached US$14.7 billion.
Domestic and family violence is also the major cause of homelessness for women and their children. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s report, Specialist Homelessness Services 2011-12, shows that people experiencing domestic or family violence make up one-third of the almost 230,000 Australians that accessed specialist homelessness services in that period. Of such clients, 78 per cent were female.