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Family, domestic and sexual violence service responses in the time of COVID-19

Published by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare; 16 DEC 2021 and made available by the Australian Analysis Observatory (APO)


Since early 2020, there has been growing concern about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on family, domestic and sexual violence (FDSV).

Pandemics can also affect the ‘responses’ to violence—the actions taken after an incident of violence has occurred. These responses include informal support (such as disclosure to a friend or family) and formal support (such as assistance from police, legal services, health professionals or housing assistance). While data on formal service responses only capture part of the picture, understanding how these services have been affected by the pandemic can shed light on changes in demand for services and possible service gaps.

This report brings together data from a range of national sources to show how service responses to FDSV changed at the onset, and during, the COVID-19 pandemic. The report focuses on data from January to June 2020, to cover the initial period of the pandemic in Australia. While the pandemic is ongoing, observing the changes made in these initial phases can provide insight into how FDSV services respond to shocks. Where available, data from previous years, as well as the latest available, are included to provide additional context to these findings.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2021. Family, domestic and sexual violence service responses in the time of COVID-19. Cat. no. FDV 8. Canberra: AIHW.


CLICK HERE on the Australian Analysis Observatory  (APO) to download the report.