26 September 2023

New statistics reveal abusing trends

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The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released the first article in a new series exploring the prevalence and characteristics of sexual violence in Australia.

Director of the National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics at the ABS, Will Milne said new analysis of the ABS’s Personal Safety Survey (PSS) and Recorded Crime – Victims data was the focus of the article and shed light on the experiences of victim-survivors of sexual violence.

“Women who experienced childhood sexual abuse were three times more likely to experience sexual assault later in life compared with women who had not been sexually abused as children (43 per cent compared with 13 per cent),” Mr Milne said.

“For men, the risk was five times greater (18 per cent compared with 3.4 per cent),” he said.

“Around 2.2 million women (23 per cent) and 718,000 men (eight per cent) aged 18 years and over have experienced sexual violence in their lifetime, including childhood sexual abuse or sexual assault since the age of 15.”

Mr Milne said the data analysis revealed that police agencies recorded 144,797 victims of sexual assault between 2014 and 2019, most of whom were female (83 per cent) and nearly two-thirds were under the age of 18 (63 per cent).

He said less than half of recorded sexual assault victims reported the incident to police within a week of the incident occurring.

“The study found 48 per cent of female victims and 39 per cent of male victims reported the incident to police in less than one week.

“By the one-year mark, this proportion had increased to 76 per cent for female victims and 63 per cent for male victims.”

Mr Milne said nearly one in five male victims of sexual assault (19 per cent) and one in 17 female victims of sexual assault (5.9 per cent) who reported the incident to police said it occurred 20 years or more ago.

“The proportion of male victims who were reporting an incident that occurred 20 years or more ago was highest for those who experienced sexual assault in a religious location (72 per cent) followed by an educational location (39 per cent),” he said.

Mr Milne said further results from the new analysis were presented in the article Sexual Violence – Victimisation.

He said subsequent articles in the new series, to be released later this year, were to focus on criminal justice outcomes for sexual assault perpetrators and sexual harassment.

The report summary Sexual Violence – Victimisation can be accessed on the ABS website at this PS News link.

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