Women are more likely to end up in hospital because of domestic violence than any other type of assault, according to new data released on Wednesday.
The Australian Institute of Health and Wellbeing's latest analysis of injuries in Australia found that, in 2013-14, domestic violence was a leading cause of women attending hospital.
Nearly 6300 women and girls were hospitalised due to assault in that year. In cases where a perpetrator was cited, 59 percent were committed by a spouse or partner. The true number may be even higher, with many victims of abuse reluctant or afraid to accuse their partner. Nearly 70 percent of these assaults happened in the home. Injuries to the head were the most common injury, accounting for 61 percent of cases.
The domestic violence issue is larger than just romantic partners, however, with the definition including parents and other family members. The AIHW said that other family members were responsible for "nearly half of the remaining cases where the type of perpetrator was specified", more than 900 cases in total. Again, this reported number may be even higher in reality.
Eight percent of females aged 15 and over were pregnant at the time of their assault.
"While women and girls are, overall, hospitalised as the result of assault at a rate that is less than half the equivalent rate for men (56 cases per 100,000 females compared to 121 cases per 100,000 males), the patterns of injury seen for females are different to that seen for males," said AIHW spokesperson Professor James Harrison in a statement.
"The rate of hospitalised assault for women and girls varied by age. It was highest in the 20–34 years age group, at a little over 100 cases per 100,000 women."
The AIHW will release its first comprehensive statistical report on domestic, family and sexual violence later this year.
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