Australian Institute of Criminology

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Trend in sexual assault

The ABS defines sexual assault as a physical assault of a sexual nature, directed toward another person who:

  • does not give consent, or
  • gives consent as a result of intimidation or fraud; or
  • is legally deemed incapable of giving consent because of youth or incapacity.

There were 19,781 recorded sexual assaults in Australia in 2007, with 94 victims per 100,000 of the population.

As with assault data, sexual assault data for 2007 have been aggregated using ABS data from New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia and included in the chart regarding details of location. Of all sexual assaults recorded in 2007, 95 percent occurred in these states. National data on the age and gender of victims of sexual assault cannot, as it was in previous years, be presented here, due to incompleteness of published state and territory age data, particularly on victims aged 45 or more. Similarly, the absence of more recent data on victim–offender relationships prevents presentation of the relevant chart this year.

Sexual assault victims from 1995 to 2007 (number per month)


  • Reported sexual assaults have increased by 51 percent since 1995, at an average of four percent each year.
  • The number of recorded sexual assaults by month is typically highest from January to March and from August to November and lowest from April to July.

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