By Holly McGuinness
Recent Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Crime data has revealed a 13 per cent increase in reported sexual assaults in the year to 2021.
This is an additional 3,580 victims of sexual assault, it will be the tenth year in a row this figure has risen and the largest number since the ABS began recording this data 29 years ago.
A 61 per cent majority of these victims were under 18 years of age when the reported incident occurred and the reported number of female victims of assault was six times higher than that of men.
ABS, head of crime and justice statistics, William Milne said “the rate has risen from 83 to 121 victims per 100,000 people since 2011, and that accounts for population changes,”
Full Stop Australia’s Director of Counselling Services and sexual assault frontline worker, Tara Hunter is concerned over the human factor in this data, particularly on the effect on young people.
“As a trauma-specialist counsellor, we know that many young people who experience sexual assault will have interruptions to their schooling, tertiary studies, their ability to work and their overall wellbeing,” said Ms Hunter.
“Unless these victims of sexual assault get the support to recover from this trauma, it will mean tens of thousands of people who will never realise their full potential and will be more at risk of future victimisation.”
The Victorian Government has recently introduced legislation into parliament to strengthen protective laws for victims of sexual assault including affirmative consent and and the criminalisation of stealthing (the act of removing a condom during sex without the other participants knowledge) and implementing harsher laws relating to image based sexual abuse.
This legislation must be passed through both houses before it is made law.
If you or anyone you know should need support, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) or Lifeline 131 114.