4530.0 - Crime Victimisation, Australia, 2012-13 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 12/02/2014   
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For this survey, physical assault is defined as an act of physical force or violence by a person against another person. It includes:

  • being pushed, grabbed, shoved, slapped, kicked, bitten, choked, shot, burnt
  • being hit with something such as a bat
  • being dragged or hit deliberately by a vehicle
  • assault which happens in the line of work.

Physical assault excludes:
  • incidents that occurred during the course of play on a sporting field or organised sport
  • verbal abuse
  • incidents where the person did not encounter the offender face-to-face
  • incidents of sexual assault or threatened sexual assault which also involved physical assault.

WHO EXPERIENCED PHYSICAL ASSAULT IN 2012-13? (see Data cube 3, Table 9)

During the 12 months prior to interview, an estimated 498,000 people experienced at least one incident of physical assault in Australia (2.7% of the population), with more males estimated to have experienced physical assault than females (3.2% and 2.2% respectively).

The physical assault victimisation rate for persons aged between 15-19 years (5.1%) and 20-24 years (5.0%) was higher than the rate for persons aged 35-44 years (3.3%), 45-54 years (2.2%), 55-64 years (1.3%) and 65 years and over (0.5%).

Victims of physical assault were more likely to live outside capital cities, with an estimated victimisation rate of 3.1% (204,600 victims) compared to 2.5% (293,400 victims) for people living in capital cities.


Victims of physical assault were most likely to experience a single incident in the 12 months prior to interview (47.2%), with an estimated 21.2% experiencing two incidents and 30.3% experiencing three or more incidents.

Male victims of physical assault were more likely to experience a single incident than female victims (52.1% of male victims compared to 40.1% of female victims), whereas female victims of physical assault were more likely to experience three or more incidents (35.7% of female victims compared to 26.5% of male victims).

REPORTING RATE (see Data cube 3, Table 9)

In the 12 months prior to interview in 2012-13, an estimated 247,700 victims of physical assault (49.7% of all physical assault victims) reported the most recent incident they experienced to the police.


This section discusses characteristics of the most recent incident for persons who were victims of physical assault in the 12 months prior to interview.

In the most recent incident of physical assault experienced by victims:
  • The offender was more likely to be male (for 82.5% of victims, or 411,000 victims) than female (for 11.1% of victims, or 55,400 victims)
  • The offender was known to 58.1% of victims (or 289,500 victims), with the offender most likely to be a family member (for 11.9% of victims, or 59,200 victims)
    • When the offender was known, the victim was less likely to be living with the offender at the time of the incident (16.5% of victims, or 82,200 victims) than not living with the offender (41.6% of victims, or 207,300 victims)
  • The location was most likely to be the victim's home (for 29.9% of victims, or 148,700 ), followed by work/place of study (22.7% of victims, or 113,200)
  • where the incident was not reported to police, the main reason given was:
    • the incident was considered too trivial/unimportant (12.8% or 63,500 victims)
    • it was believed there was nothing the police could do (8.6% or 43,000 victims).

    1 All comparisons discussed have been tested for statistical significance with a 95% level of confidence that there is a real difference between the two populations being tested. Only data with a relative standard error (RSE) of less than 25% is referred to in the text of this publication. For further information, refer to the Technical Note.