Nearly 30% of late teens suffer intimate partner violence

New data has found almost 30% of teens aged 18 to 19 suffered intimate partner violence over the past year.
Teenagers holding hands

New data has found almost 30% of teens aged 18 to 19 suffered intimate partner violence over the past year.

The findings are based on data from the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) ‘Growing Up in Australia’ project.

The study has been tracking some 10,000 Australians since they were born in 2004. The project monitors areas of their lives like relationships and work. Here’s what its latest report found.


Out of the 10,000 teens in the Growing up in Australia Project, AIFS found over the past year:

  • 25% suffered emotional abuse.
  • 12% suffered physical violence.
  • 8% suffered sexual abuse.
  • 29% suffered at least one form of intimate partner violence.

Emotional abuse

The most prevalent form of abuse experienced among the group of teens was emotional abuse.

Just over 16% of victim‑survivors of emotional abuse said an intimate partner had called them “crazy, stupid or not good enough”.

Around 12% of victim-survivors reported the perpetrator had blamed them for causing violent behaviours.


The report showed young women were more likely to experience at least one form of intimate partner violence than young men.

Young women were more likely to experience sexual abuse than young men, with 11% of women reporting compared to 4% of men.

Rates of emotional and physical violence were similar between young men and women.

Growing concern

Domestic violence prevention group Our Watch said the data is “alarming” and should be “taken seriously”.

CEO Patty Kinnersley said respectful relationships need to be taught in every school, adding that many adolescent boys are turning to porn and social media influencers like Andrew Tate who display ‘toxic’ versions of masculinity.

Youth mental health group ReachOut told TDA many young people don’t realise they’ve suffered intimate partner violence until after it has occurred.

CEO Ashley de Silva said, “Intimate partner violence is a very difficult and distressing experience at any age, let alone early in young people’s romantic life.

“There is no excuse for violence or abuse in a relationship.”

Healthy relationships

AIFS senior research officer Dr Karlee O’Donnell said the rates of intimate partner violence are “alarming”.

However, she said teenagers who had healthy relationships with parents, guardians, and friends were less likely to experience intimate partner violence.

Teenagers who reported high levels of trust and communication with a parent or guardian were 39% less likely to be emotionally abused, and 77% less likely to be sexually abused.

1800 RESPECT: 1800 737 732.

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