Child witnesses of family violence

10 March 2021

This Data Snapshot provides first look at at data collected by Victoria Police about child witnesses of family violence.

Key findings include:

  • One in 50 children in Victoria witnessed a police recorded family violence incident in 2018-19.
  • Most incidents witnessed by children occurred between intimate partners and involved male aggressors and female victim-survivors.
  • Nearly two-thirds (66.1%) of child witnesses were 9 years of age or younger in 2018-19 and 35% were under the age of 5.
  • 56.1% (11,771) of incidents witnessed by children recorded multiple types of abuse. The most common type of violence was verbal abuse, which was recorded in 72.3% (17,332) of incidents.
  • The rate of incidents was 1.8 times higher in regional and remote areas than in major cities. These areas were also more likely to record situational risk factors such as drug and alcohol use, and were associated with lower ranked areas for socio-economic advantage.
  • intimate partner violence occurring in relationships with children was more likely to involve assault and repeat incidents. It was also more likely to occur over a longer period of time and involve Family Violence Intervention Orders and Safety Notices.
  • 77.2% of children who witnessed a police reported family violence incident had a future
  • interaction with the justice system within five years of witnessing an incident. 62.2% of
  • children became protected persons on Family Violence Intervention Orders, and over half
  • (53.8%) witnessed subsequent family violence incidents.


Crime Statistics Agency
Crime Statistics Agency
Date of Publication


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