A problem largely hidden from view
Family violence against children is a problem largely hidden from view. In Australia there is no national research that provides definitive insight into the full scale of the issue. It has been estimated that 935,600 Australian women and 824,300 men had their first experience of physical abuse before the age of 15, with a parent reported as the largest proportion of perpetrators. Further, 568,700 women in Australia, and 99,400 men, report that children in their care saw or heard the violence they experienced by their former partner. While these figures are confronting, they only tell part of the story. Violence against children can be physical, mental, emotional or sexual and can be inflicted by any family member.
Any child who witnesses, or is a direct victim of, abuse can be left traumatised for life. Just one incident is enough to set that child up for a lifetime of psychological, behavioural, health and socioeconomic challenges. The StepsTogether Ultramarathon aims to bring the story of those children to the forefront of the national conversation about family violence.
1: Sourced from Appendix 9 Australian Human Rights Commission 2015, Children’s Rights Report 2015, based on ABS Personal Safety Survey 2012 data.
2: Australian Bureau of Statistics (2013). Personal Safety Survey, Australia, 2012 (Cat. no. 4906.0)
3: Clements, Oxtoby & Ogle 2008; Methodological issues in assessing psychological adjustment in child witnesses of intimate partner violence. Trauma, Violence & Abuse 9(2): 114–127.