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Med J Aust. 2009 Nov 2;191(9):481-5.

Victims of violence among Indigenous mothers living with dependent children.

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  • 1Melbourne School of Population Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.



To identify individual and household factors associated with violence among Australian Indigenous women with dependent children.


Univariate and multivariable analysis of data from the 2002 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, stratified by area.


Self-reported experience of being a victim of violence in the previous year.


One in four Indigenous women living with dependent children younger than 15 years reported being victims of violence in the previous year; this corresponds to an estimated 24 221 Indigenous mothers (95% CI, 21 507-26 935) nationwide. Violence was more prevalent in regional areas and cities than remote areas. In remote areas, mothers who had been removed from their natural families during childhood had nearly threefold greater odds of being victims of violence (odds ratio [OR], 2.90; 95% CI, 1.82-4.61); in non-remote areas, the odds were 72% greater (OR, 1.72; 95% CI, 1.23-2.39). Older maternal age (> or = 45 years) was associated with lower odds of experiencing violence in both non-remote areas (OR, 0.39; 95% CI, 0.25-0.60) and remote areas (OR, 0.46; 95% CI, 0.30-0.70). Women with partners residing in the household faced lower odds of violence in both non-remote areas (OR, 0.54; 95% CI, 0.41-0.72) and remote areas (OR, 0.46; 95% CI, 0.32-0.67).


The prevalence of violence against Indigenous mothers with young children is alarmingly high across remote and non-remote areas. This study identified distinctive characteristics of victims, but further research is needed to assess potential risk factors, such as history of removal from natural family.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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