National Strategy to Achieve Gender Equality - Discussion Paper

This discussion paper has been developed to support discussion and reflection on gender equality in Australia to inform the National Strategy to Achieve Gender Equality.

Women experience high levels of gendered violence

Gender inequality is a driver of violence against women. Women in Australia continue to be disproportionally impacted by family, domestic and sexual violence. On average, one women is killed by an intimate partner every 10 days. Violence against women and girls is a manifestation of inequality and discrimination based on gender, race and other power imbalances. It is rooted in historically unequal power relations that view women and girls as subordinate to men and boys.[25] While women and girls across Australia are unsafe, we will not be able to achieve gender equality.

Some cohorts of women are more likely to experience violence in their lifetimes including First Nations women and women with a disability. Women who identify as lesbian or bisexual experience higher rates of sexual violence than heterosexual women, while trans people report higher rates of sexual assault than the general population, and trans women of colour report higher rates of assault by strangers. A woman is also more likely to experience violence at particular life stages, such as while pregnant or while separating from a partner. Women are also disproportionally targeted by technology-facilitated gender based violence (TFGBV). Examples of TFGBV include online sexist hate speech, online sexual harassment, technology-facilitated coercive control, image-based abuse, gendered online misinformation and disinformation, and digital misogyny.

There are significant economic costs resulting from violence. Gender based violence costs Australia $26 billion a year.[26] Gendered financial abuse is estimated to cost $10.9 billion a year – with $5.7 billion of that cost borne directly by victims.[27]

In October 2022, the Government launched the National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-2032 (National Plan) to ensure that communities are safe for all women and children. The National Plan sets out a 10-year national framework for ending gender‑based violence and will guide Commonwealth, state and territory actions on prevention, early intervention, response, and recovery and healing to help break the cycle of violence and support victim-survivors. Practical actions to implement the National Plan will be outlined in two underpinning five-year Action Plans and a dedicated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Action Plan.

The Government is working in partnership with First Nations communities, through the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Council, to develop an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Action Plan under the recently released National Plan, to be released in 2023.

The Action Plan will address the immediate safety needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities. It will provide the foundations needed for longer-term change through the development of a standalone First Nations National Plan.

The Government is also taking ongoing action to stop sexual harassment at work by implementing all the recommendations from the Respect@Work Report.[28]


Australia has a National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children – how could the strategy contribute to ending violence and supporting the Plan?

[25] A joint state and territory Government Initiative, National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022‑2032, (2022) P 32, accessed on 14 February. The National Plan is available on the DSS website.

[26]KPMG, The cost of violence against women and their children in Australia – Final Report, KPMG, 2016.

[27]Deloitte Access Economics (2022) The cost of financial abuse in Australia, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, accessed on 7 March 2023.

[28] The Respect@Work Report can be found on the human rights website.