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Violence

Know_Violence

Definition of Violence

Violence is “the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment, or deprivation”.1

Commonly reported types of violence include assault by bodily force, assaults with blunt and sharp objects, maltreatment and sexual assault by bodily force.1

Impact of Violence on Western Australia

Who does it impact?

In Western Australia between 2007 and 2011, there were 134 deaths due to violence.1

In Western Australia between 2008 and 2012 there were:

  • 17,639 hospitalisations due to violence.2
  • 66% percent of hospitalisations for violence were males.2
  • people aged 25 – 44 had the highest incidence of hospitalisations due to violence.2

In Western Australia Aboriginal People make up 3.8% of the population, however between 2008 and 2012 42% of violence hospitalisations were Aboriginal People.2

All violence data includes the following conditions; assault by firearm discharge; assault by sharp or blunt object; assault by bodily force, sexual assault by bodily force; neglect, abandonment, maltreatment; other assault, injury caused by other person(s) and injury where intent is undetermined; all assault and other injury caused by other person(s).

When does it occur?

In Western Australia between 2008 and 2012, hospitalisations for violence were greater in December (10.4%), January (10%), November (9.2%) and March (9.2%).4

Where does it occur?

In Western Australia between 2008 and 2012, the regions with the top three age standardised rates for hospitalisations for violence, were the Kimberley (1396.5), Pilbara (455.5) and the Midwest (306.0).4

The age-standardised hospitalisation rates are standardised with the Australian 2001 population and expressed per 100,000 person years.

Impact on the health system

In Western Australia in 2012, there were 3,662 hospitalisations for violence, consuming an estimated 7,042 bed days at an approximate cost of $18,961,620.1

Determinants of Violence (Risk / Protective Factors)

Social Determinants

Socioeconomic status
People who live in areas of lower socioeconomic status in Western Australia are six times more likely to be hospitalised due to violence than those who live in the more affluent areas.5

Education and employment
Males with a degree or diploma qualification or higher, are half as likely to experience physically threatening behaviour than males with lower levels of education. Similarly, unemployed men experience harassment and threatening behaviour at 2.5 times the rate of employed men.5

Gender stereotypes
Gender stereotypes may promote violence against women and other social components, such as race or sexuality, may increase violence against marginalised communities.5

Age
Young people aged 18 – 24 are more likely to experience alcohol-related violence in Western Australia.6

Experience of colonisation and racism
Aboriginal People experience significantly higher rates of hospitalisation due to violence. This relates to the higher rates of hospitalisation for violence in regional and remote areas, where a larger portion of the population are Aboriginal.5

Social exclusion
Migrant and refugee women who may have experienced several types of physical and sexual violence in their lives are believed to be at greater risk of experiencing violence in Australia due to a lack of support networks for culturally and linguistically diverse people, lower socioeconomic status and a limited awareness of their own rights.5

Environmental, Community and Organisational Determinants

Location
The rate of hospitalisation due to violence is significantly higher in the regional remote areas of Western Australia, than in the metropolitan areas.5

Access to weapons
Access to objects which can be used for violent acts or as weapons, such as firearms is a key determinant in severity of violent crimes like interpersonal violence.5

Behavioural and Individual Determinants

Gender
Males are more likely to be victims of physical violence.5 Females are more likely to be victims of sexual, domestic and family violence, overwhelmingly committed by males.5 Males are twice as likely to be hospitalised and die as a result of violence.5

Age
Every year in Western Australia the police receive almost 14,000 notifications of abuse or neglect due to the mal-treatment of children and young people as a result of physical abuse, sexual abuse, elder abuse emotional abuse or neglect.5

In Western Australia, an estimated 12,500 elderly people will experience some form of elder abuse in a year.5

Disability
Due to a greater dependence on other people, people with a disability are more vulnerable to experiencing violence.5

Alcohol and other drugs
Alcohol use particularly at high levels, is a significant risk factor for violence.6

Two thirds of people who experience physical violence in Western Australia state that alcohol was a contributing factor.5

Effective Interventions

Legislation, Policies, Standards and Codes of Practice

Legislation
Deliberately causing physical harm to another person is illegal in Australia. Police Orders, Violence Restraining Orders and Misconduct Restraining Orders intend on protecting people at risk of family and domestic violence. In addition to this, specific acts for children identify failing to protect children from harm as a crime.5

Western Australian example

Various pieces of legislation cover violence. The Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 and the Criminal Code Act Compilation Act 1913 are two examples of the broad range of legislations covering violence. Western Australia is also subject to strict firearm laws under the Firearm Act 1973.

Policies
Policies that reduce the availability and harmful use of alcohol, and the access to guns, knives, pesticides and other weapon, may be effective in reducing violence in the community.7 Reducing interpersonal violence forms part of the WA Health Promotion Strategic Framework to promote and support a safer community in Western Australia.8

Western Australian example

The WA Health Promotion Strategic Framework 2012–2016 outlines WA Health’s plan to lower the incidence of avoidable chronic disease and injury by facilitating improvements in health behaviours and environments over the next five years.8

Western Australian example

The Family and Domestic Violence Prevention Strategy aims to reduce violence experienced by women and children in Western Australia by 2022. This strategy aligns with both the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children 2010-2022 and the Western Australian Police’s Family and Domestic Violence Strategy.5

Environmental, Community and Organisational Initiatives

Community campaigns and programs
Community initiatives and awareness campaigns that aim to change cultural expectations and social norms that promote violence, such as gender equality messages to protect women, are recommended to reduce violence.7

Western Australia example

Many public awareness campaigns have been run both nationally and in Western Australia to raise awareness about community violence. For example, a state government campaign emphasising new legislation about “one-punch” legislation was run in 2007.

Western Australian example

Towards a Future Without Violence: A Community Violence Prevention Strategy for the North Metropolitan Area 2012, was released by the Injury Control Council of Western Australia. The strategy provides a framework for agencies to implement violence prevention initiatives in metropolitan and regional areas.9

Western Australian example

The White Ribbon campaign is run by men, aimed at ending male domestic violence against women. The campaign runs all year and includes primary prevention strategies with young men in schools, workplaces and the community.10

Western Australian example

Elder abuse protocols have been developed by Advocare Incorporated to support elderly people who may be experiencing elder abuse, as well as providing sector and community-wide advocacy on the issue.11

Group and Individual Initiatives

Programs for victims of violence
Care and support programs for people who are victims of violence can help them deal with the associated physical and psychological effects.

Western Australian example

The Domestic Violence Outreach Program is delivered by the Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services, in regional Western Australia, offering support to women who are experiencing domestic violence. The council also offer the Keeping Kids Safe program, aimed at children.12

Relationship support groups
Developing safe, stable and nurturing relationships between children and caregivers may be protective against violence.5

Western Australian example

The Fathering Project is a Western Australian-based organisation that aims to develop healthy and stable relationships between fathers and other male caregivers and sons by providing online resources and running support groups.13

Western Australian example

Communicare provides the “Breathing Space” program to men who are perpetrators of domestic violence. This is a three month, behaviour change program where participants are given accommodation and undergo a variety of group and individual counselling programs in a secure setting.14

Key stakeholders in Western Australia

Other Resources

References

1 Definition and Typology of Violence. (2015). Violence Prevention Alliance: World Health Organization, retrieved from http://www.who.int/violenceprevention/approach/definition/en/
2 Department of Health, Western Australia (2015) Specific health condition analysis: Assault and other injury caused by other person(s) hospitalisations by external cause (injury and poisoning) – Western Australia State
3 Department of Health, Western Australia (2015). Health Condition Overview: External causes of mortality deaths – Western Australia State
4 Department of Health, Western Australia (2015). Area comparisons: Assault and other injury caused by other person(s) hospitalisations by external cause (injury and poisoning) – Comparison between health regions
5 Department of Health, Western Australia. Injury prevention in Western Australia: A review of statewide activity. Perth; Chronic Disease Prevention Directorate, Department of Health. 2015.
6 Alcohol and Violence in Australia, (2012) McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth. Retrieved from http://mcaay.org.au/assets/publications/factsheets/alcohol-and-violence-in-australia-final.pdf
7 Injury Control Council of Western Australia (2010) Community Violence. Retrieved from http://www.iccwa.org.au/useruploads/files/community_violence_fact_sheet.pdf
8 Department of Health, WA. (2012). WA Health Promotion Strategic Framework 2012–2016. Perth: Department of Health, Western Australia, Chronic Disease Prevention Directorate. Retrieved from www.public.health.wa.gov.au/2/1588/2/the_wa_health_promotion_ strategic_framework_.pm
9 Injury Control Council of Western Australia (2012) Towards a Future Without Violence: A Community Violence Prevention Strategy for the North Metropolitan Area 2012. Retrieved from http://www.iccwa.org.au/useruploads/files/2012_towards_a_future_without_violence._a_community_violence_prevention_strategy_for_the_north_metropolitan_area_2012.pdf
10 What is White Ribbon? (2014) White Ribbon. Retrieved from http://www.whiteribbon.org.au/what-is-white-ribbon
11 Help with elder abuse (2015) Advocare Incorporated. Retrieved from http://www.advocare.org.au/help-with-elder-abuse/
12 Projects, (2011) Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services. Retrieved from http://www.womenscouncil.com.au/projects.html
13 The Fathering Project (2015) About the Fathering Project. Retrieved from http://thefatheringproject.org/about-the-fathering-project/
14 Communicare (2014) Accomodation Services: Communicare Breathing Space. Retrieved from https://www.communicare.org.au/index.php/Accomodation-Services/communicare-breathing-space.html

Printable Fact sheet

Click here to download a printable version of the Violence Fact sheet