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Economic insecurity and intimate partner violence in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted significant concerns about the “shadow pandemic” of violence against women and children, in particular intimate partner violence (IPV). There is now a large body of research in Australia exploring the effects of the pandemic on violence against women and children, and specifically IPV. The research has indicated that matters being referred to IPV services are more complex, and victims and survivors are experiencing increased barriers to reporting IPV and seeking support.

Economic insecurity and intimate partner violence in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic, led by Anthony Morgan and Hayley Boxall at the Australian Institute of Criminology, focuses on the intersection of economic insecurity and women’s experiences of IPV in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia. The findings are based on a survey of 10,000 women in Australia, aged 18 years and over, administered between February and April 2021. This report represents Stage 2 of a larger national study, with Stage 1 focusing on women’s experiences of IPV more broadly during the first 12 months of the pandemic.

The report found that experiences of economic insecurity were common among women during the first 12 months of COVID-19. Economic insecurity was associated with an increased likelihood of IPV among women, and co-occurred with other vulnerabilities reported by women which were associated with an increased likelihood of IPV.

The report also found that economic disparity within relationships was associated with IPV – even after controlling for economic insecurity. The relationship between economic status, stress and disparity and IPV varied according to the type of IPV, and whether it was experienced as a chronic condition or an acute stressor. Finally, consistent with other Australian and international research, there was clear evidence that the acute economic stressors associated with the COVID-19 pandemic were associated with both the onset and escalation of IPV.



Publication details

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


Research Manager, Serious and Organised Crime Research Lab, Australian Institute of Criminology

Research Manager, Violence against Women and Children Research Program, Australian Institute of Criminology Translational Health Research Institute, Western Sydney University

ISBN: 978-1-922645-15-9 (paperback) | 978-1-922645-16-6 (PDF)

81 pp.


Suggested citation

Morgan, A., & Boxall, H. (2022). Economic insecurity and intimate partner violence in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic (Research report, 02/2022). ANROWS.

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