Department of Family and Community Services

2.1 Sexual assault

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Sexual assault incidents recorded by NSW Police

Current position

In NSW in the 12 months to September 2012, 84 percent of sexual assault victims were women or girls: there were 3,959 recorded sexual assaults against females, compared to 743 against males.

Gender gap

  • Females are more than five times as likely as males to experience sexual assault.
The direction of
change over time

While the proportion of sexual assault victims who are female has remained stable between October 2005 and September 2012, at an average of 84 percent, the number of female victims of sexual assault in NSW has risen at a faster rate than the number of male victims.

The number of female sexual assault victims rose 22 percent in the seven years between October 2005 and September 2012 (from 3,242 to 3,959), while the number of male victims rose by 11 percent (from 669 to 743) in the same period.

Discussion

For both female and male sexual assault victims in NSW in the 12 months to September 2012, the highest proportion of alleged offenders were people they knew, but with no familial relationship (39 percent for both females and males).

For female victims, the next highest category of alleged offenders was partners (including ex-partners), who accounted for 13 percent of offenders. For male victims, the second highest category of alleged offenders was parents or children, who made up 14 percent of cases.

Male victims were twice as likely to be sexually assaulted by a sibling as female victims (45 out of 743 males, compared to 101 out of 3,959 females).

Female victims were twice as likely as males to be sexually assaulted by a stranger: 9.2 percent (females) compared to 4.8 percent (males). See Table 6.2.

‘Sexual assault’ covers offences where a person has sexual intercourse with another person without the consent of the other person, and knows that the other person does not consent. ‘Partner’ includes boyfriends/girlfriends and ex-boyfriends/ex-girlfriends.

Year collected: October 2011 to September 2012 and previous years.
Data source: BOCSAR, NSW Recorded Crime Statistics October 2005 to September 2012, unpublished (BOCSAR ref: kg12-10963; kg12-10964; BOCSAR, NSW Criminal Court Statistics 2007 to 2011 (unpublished). More information is available at www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au

Table 6.2 Sexual assault victims by sex and relationship of alleged offender to victim, NSW, Oct 2011 to Sep 2012

Women 

% 

Men 

% 

Total 

Parent/Guardian/Child (including step or foster) 

378

9.5

104

14

482

Sibling 

101

2.6

45

6.1

146

Member of family – other 

275

6.9

98

13.2

374

Carer 

24

0.6

7

0.9

31

Spouse/Partner (including ex-partner) 

514

13

24

3.2

538

Household member (including former member) 

46

1.2

13

1.7

59

Person in authority 

30

0.8

39

5.2

70

Other known person – no relationship 

1,563

39.5

287

38.6

1,850

Not known to victim 

366

9.2

36

4.8

402

Missing/Unknown/ Not stated 

662

16.7

90

12.1

753

TOTAL 

3,959

100

743

100

4,705

Note: Relationship of offender to victim is subject to high error rates and should be used with caution. ‘Total’ column includes those victims for whom gender was not recorded.
Population: Victims of sexual assault between October 2011 and September 2012, recorded by NSW Police.
Source: BOCSAR, NSW Recorded Crime Statistics October 2005 to September 2012, (BOCSAR ref: kg12-10964).