New research provides first look at data on children who have witnessed family violence

Wednesday 10 March 2021


New research provides first look at police recorded child witnesses of family violence


Crime Statistics Agency research released today provides a first look into data collected by Victoria Police about children who have witnessed or been exposed to family violence.

Crime Statistics Agency Chief Statistician Fiona Dowsley said that an increasing number of children are recorded by police as having witnessed family violence.

 “Our research found that over 1 in 50 children in Victoria between 1 July 2018 and 30 June 2019 were recorded by police as having been exposed to family violence.  That is 32,705 children who were recorded as having been present at or affected by a family incident” she said.

Many of the children recorded as witnesses at a police attended incident were very young, with nearly two thirds (66.1%) of children under the age of 10 years old at the date of the incident. 35% of children were under the age of 5 years old.

The research also compared intimate partner violence in relationships with children to relationships where no children were identified.

Relationships with children were more likely to involve assault and repeat police attended incidents. These relationships were also more likely to involve police attended incidents spanning over a longer period of time, and involve family violence protection orders.



The data snapshot Child Witnesses of Family Violence: An Examination of Victoria Police Family Violence Data is available here (External link). It examines the characteristics of family violence incidents in Victoria involving children aged 17 years old or younger, who were recorded by police as present at or affected by a family violence incident between 1 July 2014 and 30 June 2019.

For further information please contact:
Melanie Millsteed, Assistant Director, Research & Analytics
Phone: 8684 1828
Email: (External link)