A recent research paper highlights the steady increase in assaults against young Australians recorded by police (Bricknell 2008). National health data also show that the incidence of assault-related injuries to young Australians that result in hospitalisation continues to increase (AIHW 2008). The assault hospitalisation rate (the number of hospitalisations due to assault per 100,000 young people - those aged between 12 and 24 years) increased by 27 percent between 1996-97 and 2005-06. The increase for males (29%) was far greater than that for females (19%). The overwhelming majority (around two-thirds) of these hospitalisations were attributed to assault by bodily force, such as an unarmed fight. Assault using a sharp object (such as a knife) accounted for 12 percent and assault with a blunt object accounted for 11 percent. Hospitalisation rates attributed to assault for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were substantially higher than for other young Australians: six times as high in 2005-06, after the figures were adjusted for differences in age structures between the two groups.
Assault hospitalisation rates for young people aged 12-24 years,1996-97 to 2005-06 (ratea)
a: per 100,000 relevant population
Source: Adapted from AIHW (2008: 34)