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Nearly a quarter of women have experienced emotional abuse by partner

ABC News

By political reporter Claudia Long
Posted 24/8/2022

Analysis from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has found nearly a quarter of women have experienced emotional abuse by a partner.

New analysis of data from the ABS’s personal safety survey, which was conducted in 2016, estimated that 23 per cent of women (2.2 million) and 16 per cent of men (1.4 million) had been emotionally abused by a current or former partner since they turned 15.

Emotional abuse, also known as coercive control, has been defined as a form of domestic and family violence where perpetrators intimidate, isolate and manipulate a victim-survivor to make a victim afraid and dependent on their abuser.

Childhood victim-survivors at higher risk of further abuse

According to the analysis, those who were victim-survivors of abuse as children were at much higher risk of being emotionally abused as adults.

ABS director of the National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics, Will Milne, said the new analysis showed single parents, people with intellectual or physical disability and those experiencing financial stress were more likely to experience partner emotional abuse.

“Women and men who experienced childhood abuse or witnessed parental violence as a child were about twice as likely to experience partner emotional abuse in their adulthood,” Mr Milne said.

“The rate was highest for women who were both physically and sexually abused as a child.”

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