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Sexual assault in Australia – statistics

I have to admit it bothers me when I hear men – Australian men – talking about how terrible it is for women overseas and how sexist the men are … certain countries, rape culture etc. I’m not saying I don’t care – not the case at all! I just feel it’s a bit too easy for Australian men to turn the focus onto the country overseas while ignoring what is going on in their own backyard.

A study released this year by the World Health Organisation described violence against women as being a ‘global health problem of epidemic proportions’. When they said global, believe it or not, they weren’t only talking about countries other than Australia. They weren’t even talking about only the third world countries. They actually meant global.

While the worst areas with regard to violence against women were indeed developing areas, the first world (the high income countries) still showed very high rates.

Africa and Southeast Asia, with over 40% of women suffering from some form of sexual violence came out the worst but what prevalence rate do you think the high income areas had?

Try 32.7%.  That is, 32% of women in high income countries will experience sexual violence in their lifetime. (See further figures at bottom of page)

Now perhaps we can talk about the issues right here on our doorstep…

In Australia:

  • One woman every week is murdered by a partner or ex-partner
  • Family violence affects 1 in 5 women in Victoria (Victorian Government, Office of the Premier, A New Approach to Reduce Family Violence, Media Release, 27 April, 2007)
  • One in seven women are sexually assaulted by a current partner
  • One in six women are sexually assaulted by another male as reported to the Police (Australian component of International Violence Against Women Survey, 2004)
  • One in three girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused in some way before the age of 18 years. (Australian Institute of Criminology, 1993)
  • Indigenous girls report sexual assault approximately twice that of non-indigenous girls
  • (The Robertson Report (1999) found that) 88% of rapes in Indigenous communities go unreported (what does this do to the figure above?)
  • Women with an intellectual disability or psychiatric illness are more likely to be subjected to a sexual assault

None of this is OK!


Figures from the WHO study for combined intimate partner and non-partner sexual violence or both among all women of 15 years or older, prevalence rates were as follows:

  • Africa – 45.6%
  • Americas – 36.1%
  • Eastern Mediterranean – 36.4%* (No data were available for non-partner sexual violence in this region)
  • Europe – 27.2%
  • South-East Asia – 40.2%
  • Western Pacific – 27.9%
  • High income countries – 32.7%
2011 women's physical security: Is medium level really enough for us?

2011 women’s physical security: Is medium level really enough for us?

Read Men who’ve killed their partners 

Read Murder in Logan – wrong place, wrong time?


(all content © Aus Crimes, unless otherwise stated)

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