Rate of physical assault remains stable

Media Release

The rate of physical assault remained stable in 2019-20, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Results from the 2019-20 Crime Victimisation Survey found an estimated 2.3 per cent of persons aged 15 years and over experienced physical assault in 2019-20, which was similar to the rate in 2018-19 (2.4 per cent).

“Just under half a million Australians (467,800) were physically assaulted in 2019-20,” said Will Milne, Director of the ABS’ National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics.

“Although men and women were equally likely to have experienced physical assault (both 2.3 per cent), women were more likely than men to have experienced three or more incidents – 36 per cent of female victims compared with 24 per cent of male victims,” added Mr. Milne.

The proportion of people reporting their most recent incident of physical assault to police also remained stable at just over half (52 per cent), and was similar for men (50 per cent) and women (53 per cent).

The rate of household crime also remained stable in 2019-20, though the survey found a difference in the rate between households in the most socio-economically disadvantaged areas compared with those in the most advantaged areas.

“Households in the most socio-economically disadvantaged areas were more likely than households in the most advantaged areas to experience break-in (3.1 per cent compared with 2.1 per cent), attempted break-in (2.7 per cent compared with 1.4 per cent), and malicious property damage (6.2 per cent compared with 4.0 per cent),” added Mr. Milne.

Experiences of crime victimisation during the COVID-19 pandemic are unlikely to feature prominently in the 2019-20 survey results, as the majority of the information was collected prior to March 2020.

The Crime Victimisation, Australia publication provides information about people’s experiences for a selected range of personal and household crimes, including the socio-demographic characteristics of people experiencing the offences, whether the most recent incident was reported to police, and other characteristics of the most recent incident.

Media notes

  • Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) is a classification developed by the ABS that ranks areas in Australia according to relative socio-economic advantage and disadvantage. SEIFA uses a broad definition of relative socio-economic advantage and disadvantage in terms of people's access to material and social resources, and their ability to participate in society.
  • When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.
  • For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Media Team via media@abs.gov.au (8.30am-5pm Mon-Fri).
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