New research shows relationship between gambling & domestic violence against women

A new ANROWS research report, titled The relationship between gambling and intimate partner violence against women, shows that while gambling does not directly cause intimate partner violence (IPV), it exacerbates it in serious ways.

Led by Professor Nerilee Hing from Central Queensland University, the project showed that gambling reinforces the gendered drivers of violence.

“Where you already have rigid gender roles, men’s control of decision-making, limits placed on women’s independence, and men condoning violence towards women, then a gambling problem greatly intensifies the frequency and severity of IPV,” explained Professor Hing.

Many of the women interviewed for the study described having an already abusive male partner whose gambling then greatly increased his violent behaviour.

Economic abuse emerged as a particularly common tactic of violence when connected to gambling. Nearly all of the women in the study whose partner had a gambling problem described being subjected to severe economic abuse, including economic control and economic exploitation.

The research also showed that gambling-related harm—including economic abuse—is being enabled by gambling operators. Many women and service providers in the study criticised gambling venues for largely ignoring problem gambling behaviours.

Intimate partner violence against women also increased when it was the woman who had the gambling problem. Men frequently used women’s gambling problems as an excuse for insults, threats, punches, slaps, stalking and rape.

The study found that some women seek out gambling venues as safe spaces: this feeds a cycle that reinforces both their gambling and the violence they are experiencing. In many geographic locations the women said they had no alternative safe place to go.

Despite the prevalence of both gambling problems and IPV in Australia, both are highly stigmatised. The research found that the shame associated with these experiences compounds women’s distress and acts as a barrier to seeking help.


If you, or someone you know is experiencing domestic, family or sexual violence, DVConnect can help you find a pathway to safety, away from violence. The DVConnect helplines are:

  • Womensline 1800 811 811, available 24/7
  • Mensline 1800 600 636 available from 9am – midnight, 7 days
  • Sexual Assault Helpline 1800 010 120, available from 7.30am – 11.30pm, 7 days.
  • For more visit www.DVConnect.org.

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