One in six Australian women experience abuse before they are 15, data shows

Damning new data about Australia’s rates of domestic and sexual violence reveal that one in six women experience abuse before they are 15 and one woman is killed by her partner every nine days.

Based on national population surveys and set against a backdrop of declines in overall violence, rates of partner violence and sexual violence have remained relatively stable since 2005, a new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows.

Recording of sexual assaults in Australia reaches eight-year high

Australian Bureau of Statistics, June 28th 2018

The number of sexual assault victims increased by 8 per cent across Australia from 2016, reaching an eight-year high in 2017, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today.

ABS Director of Crime and Justice Statistics William Milne said that there were almost 25,000 victims of sexual assault recorded by police in 2017.

“This is the sixth consecutive annual increase in the number of victims recorded for this offence and the highest number recorded since the time series began in 2010,” he said.

More than four in five sexual assault victims were female (82 per cent or 20,556 victims).

Out of sight: the untold story of Adelaide’s gay hate murders

SBS, Oct 17th, 2016

For decades, gay bashers operated with impunity. Sometimes, they killed their victims. The police often didn’t care. Sometimes, they were said to be doing the bashing.

A culture of indifference meant the bodies piled up as the world looked the other way. But little is known about gay hate crimes outside those now widely documented in NSW. This SBS investigation explores alleged gay hate crimes in South Australia.

Read more: here

Listen to podcast episodes: 

Late one night in 1992, Rex Robinson pulled his car into one of Adelaide’s most notorious beats. High beam on, Rex sees a man lying face down, motionless in the middle of the road. It’s the night that embroiled Rex in a vicious bashing case which made headlines and outraged the gay community, leaving him without a job and wishing he’d never gone to the police.

Dr. George Duncan’s body was pulled from the River Torrens in 1972. At the time, homosexuality was illegal. Police were the suspects in the murder. It’s a case that’s gone on to become one of South Australia’s most notorious unsolved murders, altered history for all gay men in the state.

Beats are secretive places – they provide anonymity for men seeking sex, but this secrecy also provides a cover and protection for their attackers. “Todd” ran away at 16 and lived on the streets of Adelaide. The street kids he hung out with used to head to beats and used Todd as bait to lure men into the bushes because of how young he looked. This wasn’t the only group targeting homosexuals at beats.

David “John” Saint was an ordinary guy. He worked, bought three houses, did them up and sold them. On April 16, 1991, he was found covered in blood on a main Adelaide street by a passer-by. He didn’t make it. From day one, police said publicly that robbery was the motive. But this didn’t sit well with the gay community.

There is a way you can take a gay murder and make it not a gay murder. You get a good lawyer. This is what happened in 2011 to the brutal killing of Andrew Negre that continues to bounce around the legal system.

Measuring & addressing the prevalence & health impacts of intimate partner violence in Australian women

ANROWS,  30th October 2016

Intimate partner violence, including violence in both cohabiting and non-cohabiting relationships and emotional abuse:

  • is prevalent–affecting one in three women since the age of 15. One in four women have experienced violence or abuse from a cohabiting partner. If we only consider physical and sexual violence, then one in six women have experienced at least one incident of violence by a cohabiting partner;
  • has serious impacts for women’s health–contributing to a range of negative health outcomes, including poor mental health, problems during pregnancy and birth, alcohol and illicit drug use, suicide, injuries and homicide;
  • contributes an estimated 5.1 percent to the disease burden in Australian women aged 18-44 years and 2.2% of the burden in women of all ages;
  • contributes more to the burden than any other risk factor in women aged 18-44 years, more than well known risk factors like tobacco use, high cholesterol or use of illicit drugs;
  • is estimated to contribute five times more to the burden of disease among Indigenous than non-Indigenous women;
  • is estimated to make a larger contribution than any other risk factor to the gap in the burden between Indigenous and non-Indigenous women aged 18-44 years;2 and
  • has serious consequences for the development and wellbeing of children living with violence.

There has been no decrease in the prevalence or health burden of intimate partner violence since both were last measured in Australia.

Intimate partner violence and its health impacts are preventable.

Download report here 

Out of Character? Legal responses to intimate partner homicides by men in Victoria 2005–2014

Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria, 2016

Over a 10-year period (2002–2012) in Australia, 488 women were killed by an intimate partner or ex-partner. These homicides are the extreme end of a continuum of violence against women and children in families. Domestic and family violence (hereafter referred to as family violence) has become the focus of increasing communityconcern in Australia over recent years. There is a growing awareness of the scale, impact and costs associated with family violence.

Research and death reviews in Australia and internationally over the last two decades have highlighted that systemic failures in legal responses to family violence contribute to these deaths. Intimate partner homicides, whether perpetrated by men or women, generally occur in the context of men’s violence against the woman in the relationship.

Following a review by the Victorian Law Reform Commission, changes to homicide laws were enacted in Victoria in 2005. The reforms sought to reduce excuses for men’s violence against women and to better accommodate the experiences of primary victims who kill violent family members . Further reforms were made in 2014.
In 2010, Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria  and Monash University
identified a shared interest in reviewing intimate partner homicides to examine whether the spirit of the reforms was being realised.
The first stage of the project examined cases of women who killed their intimate partners with a focus on whether, and to what extent, the reforms had improved the recognition of family violence and legal understandings of the circumstances in which women kill
in response to violence. The second stage of the project explores legal responses to men who have killed in the context of sexual intimacy since the implementation of the reforms in 2005.

This report outlines the findings of this second stage of the research.

Download report (PDF) here

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