Gender-based violence is any act of abuse committed against someone because of their gender. The United Nations define it as 'physical, sexual or psychological harm'.

Breaking down gender-based violence

The gender-based violence tree breaks down the connections between the social contexts or 'root' causes of gender-based violence, the definitions that relate to the contexts where violence and abuse take place, and the manifestations of gender-based violence or fruits of the tree. 

The drivers of violence

Gender-based violence is a product of the patriarchy; a system that benefits and prioritises men and does not give women the same opportunities.

Intersecting forms of oppression drive gender-based violence, but these social contexts lay under the surface of society and can be harder to see. These social contexts that allow gender-based violence to occur include. the patriarchy, transphobia, cisnormativity, class discrimination, ableism, racism and colonialism, ageism, homophobia, biphobia and heteronormativity.


Not everyone is impacted equally. Gender inequality is also heightened by overlapping forms of discrimination and oppression faced by marginalised groups, including First Nations communities, LGBTQIA+ people, and people living with disabilities.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women

Are 3.1 times more likely to experience violence.

Adults who experienced abuse or witnessed violence as a child

Are about twice as likely to experience emotional abuse.

Women and girls
with disabilities

Are 65% more likely to experience violence. 

Multicultural women

Experience violence that is heightened by intersecting forms of inequality and discrimination.

LGBTQIA+ people 

Experience violence at similar or higher rates to heterosexual cisgender women.

Older women

Are more likely to experience violence from a wider range of perpetrators.


Want to learn more about gender-based violence, the drivers of violence, and how to be an active bystander and ally? Watch our End GBV series to learn more.

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