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Non-reporting and hidden recording of sexual assault: an international literature review

Denise Lievore
ISBN 1 877042 41 2
June 2003

A report prepared by the Australian Institute of Criminology for the Office of the Status of Women.


As part of the Commonwealth Government's National Initiative to Combat Sexual Assault, the Commonwealth Office of the Status of Women commissioned the Australian Institute of Criminology to undertake research on sexual assault and the criminal justice system. The initial phase of the project comprised an international literature review on the non reporting and hidden recording of sexual assaults perpetrated against females aged 16 years and older. Drawing on research conducted in Australia, England and Wales, Canada, New Zealand and the United States since 1992, the literature review discusses the following subjects: data sources and their limitations; the extent and common characteristics of sexual assault in Australia; factors affecting the decision to report sexual assault, including barriers to reporting; attrition and hidden recording; sexual assault of Indigenous women and women from non English speaking backgrounds; sexual assault in rural Australia; sexual assault and women prisoners; recording in other systems; and implications of the findings.