Australian Institute of Criminology

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Reporting violence to police

Crime facts info no. 140

ISSN 1445-7288
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, January 2007

The Personal Safety Survey (PSS) was a national survey of people aged 18 or older conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2005, following the Women's Safety Survey (WSS) carried out in 1996. The content of the two surveys was kept largely consistent, although the WSS included approximately 6,300 female respondents while the PSS sampled approximately 11,800 females and 4,500 males. The PSS estimated that since the age of 15, 20 percent of women had been physically assaulted by a male and five percent by a female, while 28 percent of males had experienced assault by another male and nine percent by a female. Around 67 percent of the physical assaults by males on females were committed by a partner, including a current or previous partner or boyfriend/date. Both surveys found that women were less likely to report recent assaults by a male to police if they were by a current partner or boyfriend/date than by a stranger, previous partner or other known man. However, the percentage of physical assaults reported to police increased between 1996 and 2005 irrespective of the relationship with the perpetrator, from 19 to 36 percent.

Reporting the most recent assault by a male to policea (percent)

a: Of those who had been physically assaulted since the age of 15

b: Data for previous partner, boyfriend/date and current partner not available due to small numbers