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A life course approach to determining the prevalence and impact of sexual violence in Australia: The Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health

The project, funded by Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS), takes a life course approach to determine the prevalence and impact of sexual violence among Australian women. This includes sexual violence experienced in both childhood and adulthood, both within and outside of intimate relationships. This report provides a comprehensive evidence base for government and other Australian decision-making bodies to develop recommendations for policy and service delivery. It gives recommendations for:

  • the prevention of further disadvantage through economic distress
  • the prevention of the uptake or continuation of health behaviours that damage health
  • reducing the risk of poor physical and mental health
  • addressing dissatisfaction with health and other services
  • priority groups where appropriate
  • promotion of recovery from experiences of sexual violence.

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The Hon. Amanda Rishworth, Minister for Social Services launches the ANROWS report at the Centre for Women’s Health Research in Newcastle.

How many Australian women have experienced sexual violence?

0
%
of women in their 20s
0
%
of women in their 40s
0
%
of women aged 68 to 73

Report details

Report cover thumbnail ANROWS a lifecourse approach to determining the prevalence of sexual violenceThe research assessed the economic, social, emotional and physical wellbeing of  Australian women who have experienced sexual violence.

Links between the experience of sexual violence and health service use were investigated using datasets from the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) which were paired with ALSWH participant data.

 

Report cover thumbnail ANROWS a lifecourse approach to determining the prevalence of sexual violence

Executive summary 7

Background 7

Aims 7

Method 7

Results 8

Conclusion 9

Implications and recommendations for policy and practice 10

Directions for future research 10

Introduction 12

Literature review 12

Policy context: The National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Their Children 2010–2022 20

Evidence gap 20

Aims of project 22

Methods 23

Study setting 23

Measures 23

Analysis strategy 30

Results 31

Chapter 1: Prevalence of sexual violence 31

Priority populations 35

Chapter 2: Sexual violence during childhood as a risk factor for further violence 39

Chapter 3: Lifetime sexual violence and economic factors

Chapter 4: Sexual violence and health behaviours 47

Chapter 5: Sexual violence and health 51

Chapter 6: Sexual violence and health services 54

Chapter 7: Wellbeing among women who have experienced sexual violence 63

Discussion 69

Prevalence of sexual violence 69

Sexual violence during childhood as a risk factor for further violence 71

Lifetime sexual violence and economic factors 71

Sexual violence and health behaviours 72

Sexual violence and health 72

Sexual violence and health services 72

Wellbeing among women who have experienced sexual violence 73

Strengths and limitations 74

Implications and recommendations for policy and practice 75

Directions for future research 76

Conclusion 78

Report cover thumbnail ANROWS a lifecourse approach to determining the prevalence of sexual violenceSuggested citation

Townsend, N., Loxton, D., Egan, N., Barnes, I., Byrnes, E., & Forder, P. (2022). A life course approach to determining the prevalence and impact of sexual violence in Australia: Findings from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (Research report 14/2022). ANROWS.

ISBN

ISBN: 978-1-922645-45-6 (paperback) | 978-1-922645-46-3 (PDF)
95 pp.

Report cover thumbnail ANROWS a lifecourse approach to determining the prevalence of sexual violenceThis report is part of a program of research led by ANROWS and funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services under the Fourth Action Plan of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010–2022.


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