Sexual assaults increase for tenth year in a row

Media Release

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.

Media notes

  • 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).
  • 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 (8.30am-5pm Mon-Fri).
  • Subscribe to our media release notification service to get notified of ABS media releases or publications upon their release.
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