In an article titled "Quentin Bryce urges focus on gender inequality to tackle domestic violence", published on April 6th, Guardian journalist Melissa Davey claimed that "Two women are killed through domestic violence in Australia every week, and it is also the leading preventable cause of injury and death in women under 45, according to VicHealth".
Men's Health Australia wrote to the Guardian explaining the following:
- The latest data from the Australian Institute of Criminology found that, during the period 2010 to 2012, 121 females were killed by an offender with whom they shared a domestic relationship (1.2 per week). This rate would have to almost double to reach the two per week claim made by Davey.
- The VicHealth data is also seriously misrepresented. They found that intimate partner violence is the biggest contributor to ill health and premature death in women aged 15–44. 82% of this burden of disease was from poor mental health (depression and anxiety) and substance abuse, while just 2.3% was from homicide and 0.7% from physical injury. The leading cause of death for Australian women 15-44 years is malignant neoplasms, and the leading cause of injury is "other unintentional injuries".
Congratulations are due to the Guardian, who have now corrected the article in question.
The article now reads as follows:
"On average at least one woman is killed as a result of domestic violence in Australia every week, and it is the biggest contributor to preventable ill-health and premature death in women under 45, according to VicHealth."
The Guardian also published a footnote reading:
"This article was amended on 16 April to correct the reported rate at which women are killed by intimate partners. Women die this way in Australia at the rate of slightly more than one a week, according to Australian Institute of Criminology statistics – 109 in 2010-11 and 2011-12 combined. Unofficial figures for the first few months of 2015 show a similar rate."