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).

Report: Gay and Transgender Prejudice Killings in NSW in the Late 20th Century

ACON, May 2018

Australia has a long history of violence towards people from sexual and gender minorities, stretching from colonisation to the present day. This Report looks at what has been a tragic and shameful episode in Sydney’s history.

ACON, in conjunction with key partners, has undertaken a review of the initial list of 88
homicide cases that occurred during the period t from the 1970s through to the 1990s.

The key findings from this review include:

1. Homicides occurred in three main spaces, with majority of victims being killed in their own homes, followed by beats, and other locations which mostly include gay and other social spaces.

2. In general, there was little or no pre-existing relationship between assailants and their victims.

3. Where killings happened in the victim’s house, the victim was more likely to be known to the assailant, albeit in a minor way, whereas there was generally no existing relationship between the victim and assailant where the killing occurred at the beat or gay social spaces.

4. Generally, spaces where people were murdered were private, secluded or isolated, which meant the assailant was less likely to be interrupted, and this impacted the victim’s ability to call out for help.

5. The scenarios in all the spaces were commonly sexualised, or where people could be disinhibited by the consumption of alcohol and other drugs.

6. Assailants employed a variety of killing methods and, in general, inflicted several forms of violence upon their victims. The type of attack and the weapons used varied according to the location where the killings was carried out, whether in the victim’s home, at a beat or in gay social areas.

7. There is evidence of serial killings by gangs of young men as well as lone assailants.

8. From available information, it appears groups of assailants tended to kill their victims at beats or social spaces whereas individual assailants killed their victims in private residences.

9. There is information to indicate homophobia was likely involved in approximately 50% of listed cases; however the two cases involving transgender women do not appear to have been motivated by transphobia.

10. Of the initial 88 cases on the original list, approximately 30 remain unsolved.

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.

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