Reports of sexual assault reach six-year high in Australia

Australian Bureau of Statistics, 13 July 2016

Reports of sexual assault have reached a six-year high on the back of a three per cent rise since last year, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

There were 21,380 victims of sexual assault recorded by police during 2015. This was an increase of three per cent on the previous year, and the highest number of sexual assault reports seen in six years.

Nationally, over four in five sexual assault victims were female. Females aged between 15 and 19 years were seven times more likely to have been a victim of sexual assault compared to the overall population

Most sexual assaults had occurred at a residential location and did not involve the use of a weapon.

The number of sexual assault victims in South Australia increased by 2.9% in 2015 to a six-year high of 1,590 victims. The victimisation rate for sexual assault was 93.6 victims per 100,000 persons in 2015, up from 91.7 victims per 100,000 persons in 2014.

Four in five sexual assault victims in South Australia knew their offender in 2015 (80% or 1,277 victims) – the equal highest proportion along with Tasmania. In SA, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people had a higher victimisation rate for sexual assault than non-Indigenous people (298 per 100,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons compared to 85 per 100,000 non-Indigenous persons)

This Recorded Crime – Victims release also includes experimental data about victims of family and domestic violence (FDV) – related offences, which reveal that over a third of all sexual assault victims in 2015 experienced victimisation within a family or domestic relationship (7,464). Similarly, more than a third of all homicides recorded by police in 2015 were FDV-related (158).

For both sexual assault and homicide, the majority of FDV-related victims were female (84 per cent and 65 per cent respectively).

  • Download report Recorded Crime – Victims, Australia, 2015 here
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