01 July 2019

Family violence in Victoria, Australia: A retrospective case-control study of forensic medical casework

This research identified the risk factors and assault characteristics of family violence among victims referred for forensic medical examination in Victoria by comparing adult family violence victims and non-family violence victims. Nearly all victims of family violence were female, and most were victims of intimate partner violence. These victims were also more likely to have a history of violence victimisation, and to be currently pregnant. Family violence was significantly more likely than non-family violence to occur in the victim’s home, to involve physical assault, use of weapon(s), trauma to the neck and anal sexual assault. These victims also sustained significantly more physical injuries. The authors concluded that their findings highlighted the importance of assessing and managing the risk for family violence following initial victimisation and throughout pregnancy. Furthermore, family violence is more dangerous (i.e. more likely to involve severe forms of assault and cause injury) than non-family violence.