Women experiencing multiple instances of money stress are three times more likely to become a victim of violence in the following 12 months, Australian research has found.

The study by UNSW Adjunct Professor Don Weatherburn shows that women who have experienced three or more instances of financial stress, are 3.5 times more likely to be a victim of violence within the next 12 months than women who have had no money problems.

Four or more instances of personal stress increased women’s risk of being a victim of violence by almost three times.

Examples of personal stress included; being unable to pay bills, death of a spouse or loss of a job.

Dr Weatherburn, Director of the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, says while the link between stress and violence has long been known researchers had been “unable to tell the cause from effect”. This research answers that question, he says.

The findings will be presented at the three-day 2013 Australian Social Policy Conference at UNSW on starting today.

Other highlights of Monday’s program:

  • Dr Megan Blaxland, UNSW Social Policy Research Centre,presents researchshowing that low-income families don’t access early education because of the complexity of subsidy schemes.
  • Dr Jennifer Skattebol, UNSW Social Policy Research Centre, reveals older children and young teenagers aren’t as egocentric as many people believe. The Australian Child Wellbeing Project shows for eight to 14 year olds the welfare of their family comes first and finding time to be together is all-important.
  • Ms Elizabeth Broderick, Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner will launch Combining Paid Work and Family Care, which looks at the social implications internationally of an increase in people in the workforce who also have responsibility to care for partners, older relatives and disabled or ill children.
  • Professor Hal Pawson, UNSW Faculty of Built Environment,examines Australia’s move away from public housing to community-run housing and whether tenant choice is being adequately addressed.
  • Jude Tiecke will present the findings of The Benevolent Society's longitudinal evaluation of its aged and disability community care. The evaluation examined the impact of services on the psycho-social wellbeing of clients and carers, and found high levels of psychological distress and social isolation among evaluation participants.

The 2013 Australian Social Policy Conference (16-18 September), will address the theme, Contemporary Challenges for Social Policy. This is the 14th ASPC hosted by UNSW’s Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC). The biennial conference is the country's leading event for the discussion and dissemination of social policy. The full conference program is available here.

Media contact: Fran Strachan | 02 9385 8732 | 04294 16070 | fran.strachan@unsw.edu.au