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Violence against women and their children affects everybody. It impacts on the health, wellbeing and safety of a significant proportion of Australians throughout all states and territories and places an enormous burden on the nation’s economy across family and community services, health and hospitals, income-support and criminal justice systems.


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ANROWS was established by the Commonwealth and all state and territory governments of Australia to produce, disseminate and assist in applying evidence for policy and practice addressing violence against women and their children.



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Research report

Domestic violence and women’s economic security: Building Australia’s capacity for prevention and redress: Final report

Financial issues, including the prospect of leaving property or assets behind are major factors in women’s decisions about leaving or staying in violent relationships, and the economic difficulties arising from violence, including loss of wealth upon separation, reverberate through women’s lives and increase hardship in the long-term.

This report builds on the ANROWS Landscapes paper Building effective policies and services to promote women’s economic security following domestic violence: State of knowledge paper that discusses how economic abuse is a frequent, yet under-researched tactic of violence. The Landscapes paper also highlighted evidence of inadequacies in the systems intended to identify, prevent and respond to the economic harms arising from violence.

This report builds on the Landscapes paper with new statistical analysis and qualitative evidence. The statistical material reinforces how domestic violence contributes to alarming levels of financial stress among Australian women. Domestic violence is associated with economic stressors which penalise women for a number of years after violence is experienced. Interviews with stakeholders demonstrate widespread perceptions that although Australia has some highly effective initiatives in place, these operate on too small a scale to fully address the extent or range of women’s needs.


Publication details

This work is part of the ANROWS Horizons series. ANROWS Horizons (Research reports) are in-depth reports on empirical research produced under ANROWS’s research program.


Research Fellow, Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW Australia

Research Associate, Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW Australia

ISBN: 978-1-925372-44-1 (print) 978-1-925372-45-8 (online)

86 pp.


Suggested citation

Cortis, N., & Bullen, J. (2016). Domestic violence and women’s economic security: Building Australia’s capacity for prevention and redress: Final report (ANROWS Horizons, 05/2016). Sydney: ANROWS.

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