Some people may find the contents of this section confronting or distressing. Support services are available:
Dimension: Living peacefully and feeling safe
Proportion of people who have experienced physical or sexual abuse before the age of 15 years
Why does this matter
Childhood experience of abuse has severe impacts on mental health and health risk behaviours throughout a person’s life. The Australian study found that of people (aged 16 years and above) who experienced childhood maltreatment, were 2.8 times more likely to experience a form of mental health disorder – at least one of four assessed in the study – than those who have not experienced maltreatment.1
Has there been progress
The number of people who experience abuse before the age of 15 is unacceptably high. The ABS Personal Safety Survey in 2021–22 found 14.1 per cent of people aged 18 years and over have experienced abuse during their childhood. The proportion of women who experience abuse before the age of 15 is higher at 17.5 per cent compared 10.6 per cent for men in 2021‑22.