Domestic violence against men has doubled since 2005 – ABS

December 17, 2013

The number of men who report experiencing domestic violence from their current partner has almost doubled since 2005, according to a new survey released last week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The ABS Personal Safety Survey 2012 collected information from men and women aged 18 years and over about their experience of violence since the age of 15.

Between 2005 and 2012 there was a 20 per cent decrease in the proportion of men who had experienced all forms of violence in the 12 months prior to interview.

Going against this general trend however, the rate of men reporting current partner violence since the age of 15 rose alarmingly by 175% in the same period (an estimated 119,600 men reported such violence in 2012). The rate of men reporting dating violence since the age of 15 also rose by 140% since the 2005 survey. The vast majority of perpetrators of dating and partner violence against men were female – only 6 or 7 per cent of incidents involved same-sex violence.

The rate of men reporting current partner violence in the 12 months prior to interview quadrupled (a rise of 394%), however these estimates are considered too unreliable for general use because of the small number of men interviewed for the 2005 survey. The ABS surveyed 11,800 females but only 4,500 males in 2005 – a sampling gender bias that worsened in the 2012 survey, where only 22 per cent of respondents were male.

“There are a number of factors involved in this rise in reported domestic violence against men,” said Greg Andresen, Senior Researcher with the One in Three Campaign, established in 2009 to raise public awareness of the existence and needs of male victims of family violence and abuse.

“Growing community awareness of the issue generated by campaigns such as One in Three means men are more willing to come forward and disclose their experience of domestic abuse. Men face a great deal of shame when admitting being abused by their wives or partners. Knowing that other men are in a similar situation can really help in lessening the embarrassment for many guys.”

The 2012 Survey found that men were less than half as likely as women to have told anybody about partner violence, to have sought advice or support, or to have contacted the police.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if the level of domestic violence against men is also on the rise due to the one-sided approach to the issue taken by successive governments and NGOs such as Amnesty International and the White Ribbon Foundation. Saying ‘no’ to violence against women is important, but by not saying that violence against men is equally wrong, we send the message to some women that it’s OK to abuse their partners,” said Mr Andresen.

The ABS Personal Safety Survey 2012 found that:

  • at least one in three victims of current partner violence, emotional abuse and stalking during the last 12 months were male
  • around one in three victims of physical violence by a boyfriend/girlfriend or date since the age of 15 were male
  • almost one in three victims of sexual assault during the last 12 months were male
  • more than one in three victims of  physical and/or sexual abuse before the age of 15 were male.


Greg Andresen, Senior Researcher, One in Three Campaign, 0403 813 925 or

Download media release as PDF.

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