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The Royal Commission into Family Violence: Trends in the Reporting of Intimate Partner Violence and Help-Seeking Behavior
journal contributionposted on 2021-12-01, 00:00 authored by Lata SatyenLata Satyen, John ToumbourouJohn Toumbourou, J Heerde, Meu SupolMeu Supol, Archna RanganathanArchna Ranganathan
There is a dearth of research investigating whether public inquiries such as Royal Commissions trigger community behavior change or awareness about targeted health and social issues within the general community. This study examined trends in the reporting of intimate partner violence (IPV) and help-seeking behavior before and during the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence. Six hundred seventy-seven women across Australia, including 172 migrant and 505 nonmigrant women, completed surveys on their experience of IPV and help-seeking behavior over a 4-year period. Prevalence estimates were weighted to the Australian Census data to reflect the Australian population breakdown for age and migrant status. Results showed levels of IPV reported by participants significantly increased during the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence in 2015. Similarly, the perceived need to seek help for abuse significantly increased from the start of the Royal Commission; this was, however, evident for nonmigrant, but not migrant women. The findings are discussed considering the influence of the Royal Commission into Family Violence, its public profile, and the pervasiveness of the information about family violence during this time that could have led to an increasing trend in knowledge about family violence and the perception of requiring assistance in the general community. It is recommended that future Royal Commissions prepare for predictable changes in community behavior and institutions organize their resources to address the potential increased disclosure of the problems addressed.