Keeping the conversation going

Fact sheet on the impact family violence on our children

  • Children and young people who experience family violence are affected in some way. Such exposure has long-term psychological, emotional and behavioural consequences.
  • Domestic and family violence affects not only the victims themselves, but the children who witness it, extended families, friends, workplaces and ultimately the whole Australian community. [ii]
  • One in three women over the age of 15 has experienced physical violence, while one in six has experienced physical or sexual violence from a current or former partner.[iii]
  • The Family Violence Protection Act (Victoria) 2008 defines family violence as behaviour towards a family member which is: physically or sexually abusive; emotionally or psychologically abusive; economically abusive; threatening; coercive; or in any other way controls or dominates a family member and causes them to feel fear for the safety or well-being of themselves or another person.
  • The Act says a child is also a victim of the violence if it hears, witnesses or is otherwise exposed to such behaviour or its effects (e.g. a distressed adult, an injured person, damage to property).[iv]
  • A woman dies at the hands of a current or former partner almost every week in Australia.[v]
  • The COAG report has identified a lack of data on child victims of family violence in Australia. Furthermore in a 2015 Senate Committee report into domestic violence in Australia it was reported that there were challenges in obtaining and interpreting statistics on domestic violence.[vi]



  • Children and young people are also affected by violence against women. Exposure to violence against their mothers or other caregivers causes profound harm to children, with potential impacts on attitudes to relationships and violence, as well as behavioral, cognitive and emotional functioning, social development, and – through a process of ‘negative chain effects’ – education and later employment prospects. [viii]


If you are experiencing domestic and family violence, or have experienced sexual assault,

seek support, call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).