Causes of Domestic Violence

Domestic/family violence is complex.

We know from international evidence that the major cause is inequality between women and men – that is, the unequal distribution of power, resources and opportunities. Stereotypical ideas about the roles of women and men in society and the way they should behave fosters an environment for violence against women to occur.

Gender inequality plays out in society in many different ways, including:

  • ‘Everyday sexism’ such as sexual and verbal harassment of women and girls.
  • Demeaning and sexualised portrayals of women and girls in the media.
  • Fewer women in leadership roles, giving men more control over decision‐making.
  • The gender pay gap, caused by men being paid more than women for the same or similar work.
  • Women’s sport attracting less sponsorship, prize money and media coverage compared to men’s.

In individual relationships, this inequality plays out in the belief that a man is entitled to exercise power and control over his partner and children. Individuals – both women and men – are more likely to condone, tolerate or excuse violence against women when they do not believe women and men are equal, or see them as having firmly set roles or characteristics.

'Change the Story: Violence against women in Australia'