Information about domestic and family violence for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women

  1. Aboriginal women are 6 times more likely to experience domestic violence than non-Aboriginal women¹
  2. Aboriginal women living in rural or regional areas are 45 times more likely to experience domestic violence than non-Aboriginal women²
  3. Aboriginal women are 31 times more likely to be hospitalised for family violence assaults than other Australian women and men³
  4. Aboriginal women are 16 – 25 times more likely to experience sexual assault than non-Aboriginal women
  5. Despite representing just over 2% of the total Australian population, Indigenous women accounted for 15% of homicide victims in Australia in 2002–03
  6. In 2006-07, 48% of Indigenous homicide victims were female
  7. These statistics reflect reported violence, not all victims report violence or seek assistance – the real figures are probably much higher

Aboriginal women have often had violence inflicted on them by more than one perpetrator, as children and adults. They are particularly vulnerable and generally have moderate to severe post-traumatic stress and associated psychological conditions of varying degrees (eg. depression, severe anxiety, personality disorders).

Aboriginal women are also disadvantaged by generally having low literacy levels and experience significant social, economic, geographic and cultural disadvantage. Many women have other family members experiencing similar disadvantage, as well as also being victims of sexual assault and/or family violence.

Aboriginal women can face many challenges in their life. As a community worker responding to Aboriginal women experiencing or escaping domestic violence, having an awareness of these challenges may help you when you are working with Aboriginal women. View the ATSI Barriers Mind Map

Aboriginal women also have many unique strengths that are personal to them. Having an understanding of these personal traits may help you when you are working with Aboriginal women. View the ATSI Strengths Mind Map

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are more likely than non-Indigenous children to be disadvantaged across a broad range of health, development and wellbeing indicators
  • Indigenous children are 2–3 times as likely to die as infants or due to injury, to be born with low birthweight, or to be developmentally vulnerable at school entry
  • Indigenous children are 5 times as likely to be born to a teenage mother
  • Indigenous children are 8 times as likely to be the subject of a child protection matter
  • Indigenous children are between 20–30% less likely to meet national minimum standards for reading and numeracy


  1. NSW BOSCAR, “Trends and Patterns in domestic violence assaults: 2001 to 2010”, May 2011 at page 8.
  2. Gordon Inquiry Report 2001
  3. Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision, “Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage: Key Indicators 2011”, Productivity Commission, Canberra page 23.
  4. Lievore D 2003, Non-reporting and Hidden Recording of Sexual Assault: An International Review, Report prepared by the Australian Institute of Criminology for the Commonwealth Office of the Status of Women, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra.
  5. Mouzos J & Makkai T 2004, Women’s experiences of male violence: findings from the Australian component of the international violence against women survey, Research and Public Policy Series no. 56, Australian Institute of Criminology, Canberra.
  6. Productivity Commission 2009 Fact Sheet: Women, men and children, above n 48, 2.
  7. AIHW 2011. Headline indicators for children’s health, development and wellbeing, 2011. Cat. no. PHE 144. Canberra: AIHW.
  8. AIHW 2011
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