Sexual assaults increase for tenth year in a row
The number of police recorded victims of sexual assault 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%).
Further information about sexual assault and a range of other selected offences can be found in Recorded Crime – Victims available as a free download from the ABS website.
“The key finding was the reporting of sexual assaults by police is now at its highest level since the ABS started collecting this information back in 1993, so we’re sitting at now over 31,000 victims for that crime.
We also looked at population growth and the impact of that, and we found that the rate of sexual assault victimisation has also increased to its highest level, so we’re looking at 121 victims per 100,000 Australians, and this compares with 69 victims per 100,000 back in 1993.
This change in that rate equates to about a 75% increase in the rate of victimisation over the past 30 years.”
“We found that almost two-thirds of victim-survivors were under the age of 18 when the sexual assault occurred.
We also found that there were six times more female victim-survivors of sexual assault than male survivors. So we’re looking at 27,000 females versus 4,500 males.”
“Other key information we found was that most reported the incident of sexual assault to police within the year, we also found that the majority occurred at someone’s home, so that’s about 20,000 victims.
The report also showed us that over a third, so 37% of sexual assaults were family and domestic violence-related, and that’s just under 11,400 victims.”
“What we did find was that the number, and the rate of police recording of sexual assaults has been increasing steadily each year for the past 10 years. And just in the past 12 months, we have seen a 13% increase in the number of victim-survivors of sexual assault recorded by police. So that’s a 3,600 increase in victims.”
“Contrasting this to 2020, when covid-19 restrictions were in place, during then we saw really large decreases in property crime recorded by police, so things like motor vehicle theft and house break-ins.
Since then, we started to see some small increases in these property crimes. For instance, in the last 12 months alone, we’ve seen a 4% increase in the number of property break-ins, to just over 139,000 burglaries. Motor vehicle thefts increased by 3% to just under 50,000 cars reported stolen, and we saw a 1% increase in other theft, so that includes things like stealing from retail outlets, to just over 440,000. But when we contrast that to pre-covid time, these property crimes are still much lower than that recorded in 2019.”
- 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.
- For the purposes of this release, a specified family or domestic relationship includes partner, ex-partner, parent, other family member (e.g. child, sibling) and non-family members (e.g. carer, guardian).
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