The Family Violence Prevention Foundation of Australia


The cost of family violence in Victoria

The Department of Social Services in Canberra has released a 2016 report by KPMG that estimates the national cost of violence against women and children as $22 bn each year.

Download the summary report here

KPMG also believes that a further $4 bn in costs may be incurred for vulnerable groups such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, but it does not yet have adequate data for such groups to be confident of the figure. This is a significant increase from a 2009 KPMG report, which estimated $13.6 bn.

KPMG says that part of the increase is due to widening the definition of emotional abuse and stalking as forms of violence, in line with changes by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The definition of violence used includes both domestic and non domestic violence, such as street and workplace violence. Violence Free Families estimates from the KPMG reports that the probable cost of family and domestic violence was about $16.5 bn pa in 2016, up from its previous estimate of $9.3 bn.

KPMG has also prepared a more detailed report for the Victorian Government that can be accessed here.

The programs work, they work well and they work in the long term.

Families affected by violence received good news on Monday 1 May, 2017, when the report a long-running study by Monash University into the outcomes of men’s behaviour change programs was launched by the Hon Marcia Neave, AO at University House, Melbourne. The study showed that the programs work, they work well and they continue to work in the long term.

Ms Neave, Judge in Residence at the Melbourne Law School and former Chairperson of the Royal Commission into Family Violence, related the research to the recommendations of the Royal Commission enquiry and formally launched the report at a function at University House, Melbourne University.

On Monday night Dr David Smyth, Chairperson of Violence Free Families, hosted a launch of the report of this very significant research. Professor Emeritus Thea Brown & Dr Catherine Flynn with assistants from the Monash University Department of Social Work carried out the study on behalf of Violence Free Families.

The Hon Marcia Neave, AO, launching the report with Professor Thea Brown and Dr David Smyth

The study collected data from 270 men over 2 or more years, with 71 remaining in the study at the end – a significant result in a study of this kind.

The men showed a sharp reduction in the nature and severity of violence over the duration of the programs and this reduction is maintained and improved upon in subsequent months and years. Most of the men become violence free or almost violence free two years after their program.

This continued reduction in violence is not without effort. Men fear relapsing and often seek further help. This does not negate the value of the programs, which set them on this path.

There is no evidence that one type of violence is transferred to another, eg, physical to psychological. All types reduce together.

In acknowledging the many supporters of this, the first major study of its kind in Australia, Dr David Smyth, chairperson of Violence Free Families, made special mention of the role of Rotary in supporting the creation of Violence Free Families in 2009 and the early stages of the research and of the generous philanthropists who contributed, The study costs in excess of $500,000 in cash and kind and was entirely funded from charitable sources.

It is a study of international significance. A summary and the full report may be found at

Violence Free Families works for the elimination of all forms of family violence. We believe that Research, Innovation and Education can help improve the lives of vulnerable children and women, and help curb the incidence of family violence.