Domestic violence  costs  jobs
Picture: Sharon Smith/The West Australian

More than half domestic violence victims have had to switch jobs or reduce their working hours as a result of being abused, WA researchers have found

The Curtin University and University of South Australia study found that of 175 female domestic violence victims - including a sample of WA women - at least half had left their jobs.

About 30 per cent had also moved out of their home towns or interstate after being abused.

UniSA lead researcher Sarah Wendt said the results were "staggering" and showed the long-term effects of domestic violence, believed to affect a third of all Australian women.

"We will argue domestic violence affects their ability to be able to live freely in a society and the impacts are felt years later," she said.

The study found 65 per cent of those who moved jobs did so because they wanted to escape the perpetrator or felt they could no longer perform their job properly because of confidence issues.

Dr Wendt said some women reported having being constantly phoned or visited by their abusers while in their workplace.

Many women had reduced their hours or taken casual work to try to evade their abusers.

"That affects the housing that's then available to them and it affects their mental health," Dr Wendt said. "We're finding these things connect quite intimately."

The study also found that before the domestic violence happened many of the women had jointly owned a home with their partner.

But since leaving their partners because of the violence, they had to rent privately and struggled to keep on top of bills and the cost of raising their children on one income.

Curtin University professor Donna Chung said there was little other research into how domestic violence affected the opportunities for women long-term.

The researchers plan to interview 80 of the surveyed women to get an in-depth view on the effects of domestic violence on women.

The West Australian

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