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Intimate partner violence during the COVID-19 pandemic:
A survey of women in Australia

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised 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 cases being referred to frontline services are more complex, and victims and survivors are experiencing increased barriers to reporting IPV and seeking support.

Building on and contributing to this existing research, Intimate partner violence during the COVID-19 pandemic: A survey of women in Australia, led by Hayley Boxall and Anthony Morgan at the Australian Institute of Criminology, provides the most comprehensive survey of women’s experiences of IPV during the first 12 months of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia. The study is based on a survey of 10,000 women in Australia, aged 18 years and over, administered between February and April 2021. In it, women were asked about their experiences of intimate partner violence (IPV) in the last 12 months, as well as their experiences of previous IPV. This report presents findings of Stage 1 of a larger national study, with Stage 2 of the study focusing on the economic insecurity of women experiencing IPV during the pandemic.

The results show that rather than experiencing isolated and discrete forms of IPV, many women were experiencing patterns of ongoing violence and abuse, in the context of coercive control. In particular, the pandemic has coincided with first-time and escalating violence for a significant proportion of women, and many women attributed these changes to factors associated with the pandemic. The study also found that many women had experienced technology-facilitated abuse perpetrated by a partner or former partner.



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, Violence against Women and Children Research Program, Australian Institute of Criminology

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

ISBN: 978-1-922645-06-7 (paperback) | 978-1-922645-07-4 (PDF)

92 pp.


Suggested citation

Boxall, H., & Morgan, A. (2021). Intimate partner violence during the COVID-19 pandemic: A survey of women in Australia (Research report, 03/2021). ANROWS.

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