Domestic violence & brain injury
Despite increasing publicity of domestic violence there is still
little public awareness of just how often victims of domestic
violence acquire a brain injury. Brain Injury Australia has written
a separate policy paper on the high rates of traumatic brain injury
(TBI) in children - the leading cause of death and disability the
result of physical abuse. 163 infant males (aged less than one year
old) and 132 infant females were hospitalised due to assault in
Australia during 2006-2007(1). Of the 261 children admitted to New
South Wales' Brain Injury Rehabilitation Program during the same
year, seven per cent had acquired their brain injury due to
assaults resulting from domestic violence.
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
Historically many cultures accepted men 'disciplining' their
wives. Although this was made illegal in most western countries in
the 19th century, it was only in the 1990s that substantial effort
was put into enforcing laws that aimed to prevent domestic
So what is violence against women? The United Nations
Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women defines
violence against women as "any act of gender-based violence that
results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or
psychological harm or suffering to women including threats of such
acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivations of liberty, whether
occurring in public or private life".
According to White Ribbon, violence against women is violence
directed against a woman because she is a woman or that affects a
woman, disproportionately. This may include assault, rape,
harassment, murder, lesbian bashing, elder abuse, genital
mutilation, enforced prostitution, enforced sterilisation, enforced
abortion, killing of unwanted female babies, enforced motherhood
and economic violence (2).
THE SHOCKING NUMBERS
White Ribbon is a male-led movement to stop violence against
women. They recently updated research conducted by Dr Michael Flood
to reveal some truly shocking statistics.
- Up to half of Australian women will experience physical or
sexual violence by a man at some point in their lives (3).
- One woman is killed every week in Australia by a current or
former partner (4).
- Over one year, between five and ten per cent of Australian
women experienced at least one incident of physical and/or sexual
violence by a man (3).
References and further information
1 Australian hospital statistics 2006-07, Australian Institute
of Health and Welfare, Canberra, 2008
3 The Australian component of the International Violence Against
Women Survey, conducted by Australian Institute of Criminology (a
national survey of 6,677 women in Australia aged 18-69)
4 Homicide in Australia: 2008-09 and 2009-10 National Homicide
Monitoring Program annual report conducted by the Australian
Institute of Criminology (2013)