Questions have been raised about Australia's long-term plan to reduce violence against women and children, after a review found it was unclear whether the strategy was on track.
The federal government has spent $723 million on its national response to domestic and family violence over the past nine years.
The fourth and final three-year phase of the plan is set to begin next month.
But national Auditor-General Grant Hehir said the Department of Social Services was failing to properly measure and report on the plan's progress, which meant it was unclear whether the strategy was meeting the mark.
To achieve the vision set out in the plan - that "Australian women and their children live free from violence in safe communities" - required a "significant and sustained reduction" in violence against women over the 12 year program.
But the expected outcomes "rely on long-term change that may not be fully achieved by the 2022 completion date of the national plan", Mr Hehir said.
The Australian National Audit Office review found current public reporting of the plan lacked transparency and accountability, with the release of the last two annual progress reports delayed.
While the department has recorded its performance measures linked with the plan as "met" in its last two annual reports, the audit office discovered that only meant the allocated funding had been spent, not that individual targets had been achieved.
The audit uncovered limited internal reporting also, with bi-annual and quarterly progress reports planned for the third phase of the plan scrapped after just one report, because it was too resource intensive.
Success indicators such as "increased intolerance of violence against women" were measured through surveys done every four to six years, and did not consider actual levels of violence or broader community safety, even though this data was available through the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Another indicator - that "relationships are respectful" - limited its measure of success to young people, without considering other demographics.
Social Services could also not provide assurances that the National Data Collection and Reporting Framework was on track.
Improving the evidence base around violence towards women was one of the foundation elements of the plan.
However, "the absence of a plan identifying the sequence and priority of activities needed for the [framework] to be considered operational in 2022 means the department cannot provide assurance that jurisdictions are on track to achieve this goal", the audit said.
The department accepted all five of the auditor-general's recommendations around improving its data and performance measures.
It comes after the latest National Community Attitudes towards Violence against Women Survey of young people aged 16-24 found one-quarter of respondents thought that women tended to exaggerate the problem of male violence. One in seven said women often made false allegations of sexual assault.