Sexual assaults increase for tenth year in a row: ABS

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Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 28th July 2022

The number of police recorded victims of sexual assault nationally increased by 13 per cent in 2021, the tenth annual rise in a row, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

William Milne, head of crime and justice statistics at the ABS, said there were 31,118 sexual assaults in 2021, the largest number recorded by police in the 29 years of ABS crime data, with increases in seven states and territories.

“The rate has risen from 83 to 121 victims per 100,000 people since 2011, and that accounts for population changes,” Mr Milne said.

Almost two-thirds (61 per cent) of victim-survivors were under the age of 18 when the sexual assault occurred.

There were six times more female victim-survivors of sexual assault (26,669) than male victim-survivors (4,350). Over a third (37 per cent) of sexual assaults were recorded as family and domestic violence-related (11,367 victim-survivors).

Sexual assaults mostly occurred at residential locations (67%).

South Australian data:

There were 1,783 victims of sexual assault recorded in South Australia in 2021, an increase of 10% (158 victims) from 2020.

The victimisation rate also increased from 2020, up from 92 to 101 victims per 100,000 persons. This was the highest victimisation rate since 2007 (107 victims per 100,000).

Most sexual assault victims:

  • were female (87% or 1,555 victims)
  • knew the offender (82% or 1,466 victims)

Most sexual assaults:

  • occurred at a residential location (70% or 1,250 victims)
  • did not involve the use of a weapon (91% or 1,623 victims)
  • were reported to police within a year of the incident (74% or 1,316 victims)

Nearly half (49%) of all sexual assault victims were aged under 18 years at the date of incident (875 victims).

Nearly two-fifths (39%) of sexual assault incidents were FDV related (689 victims). Of these, the majority of FDV related sexual assault victims were female (92% or 633 victims).

📞 If you or anyone you know is in need or crisis please call the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) or Lifeline 131 114.
By J Pope

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