Evidence overview: Economic insecurity and intimate partner violence in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic
This resource captures the key findings from the ANROWS-funded report Economic insecurity and intimate partner violence in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic, led by Anthony Morgan and Dr Hayley Boxall of the Australian Institute of Criminology.
The report that the resource draws from presents the findings of Stage 2 of a larger national study involving an online survey of 10,107 women aged 18 years and over who had been in a relationship in the 12 months prior to the survey. Stage 1 of the study focused on women’s experiences of IPV during COVID-19 in general; in Stage 2, the following research questions were addressed:
- What is the relationship between risk factors that can change over time, particularly factors related to economic insecurity, and Australian women’s experiences of IPV?
- Is there any evidence of a relationship between those risk factors that have been influenced or exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and women’s experiences of IPV?
- Does the relationship between economic insecurity and IPV differ according to the type of IPV or pattern of violence and abuse (i.e. onset and escalation) experienced?
Key findings of the study:
- Experiences of economic insecurity were common among women during the first 12 months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Economic insecurity was associated with an increased likelihood of IPV among women.
- Economic disparity within relationships was associated with IPV, even after controlling for economic insecurity.
- Economic insecurity co-occurred with other vulnerabilities reported by women which were associated with an increased likelihood of IPV.
- 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.
- 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.
The research reinforces the need to focus on women’s economic security – both in the context of COVID-19, and beyond – to improve women’s safety. It can guide decisions about the best types of, and timing for, economic supports for women to prevent IPV, support victims and survivors currently in abusive relationships, and support women after they separate from abusive partners.
As mentioned above, the key findings in this resource are drawn from Stage 2 of a larger national study. Stage 1 of the study investigated women’s experiences of IPV during the COVID-19 pandemic more broadly, and both reports are now available for download.
Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety. (2022). Evidence overview: Economic insecurity and intimate partner violence in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic [Fact sheet]. ANROWS.