Number Of Sexual Assault Victims In Tasmania Skyrocketed In 2021

New ABS figures

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New Australian Bureau Statistics (ABS) figures have revealed Tasmania experienced the biggest jump in sexual assault cases across the country in 2021.

The 53 per cent rise meant there were 470 victims of sexual assault recorded, up 153 victims from 2020.

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It is the highest recorded number of victims for the state in the 29-year time series recorded by ABS.

The ABS revealed 83 per cent (or 402) of the victims were female, while 88 per cent (or 415) knew their offender.

Sixty per cent (or 280) of the victims were under the age of 18 at the date of the incident,

Almost three quarters of the assaults occurred at a home or residential location and did not involve the use of a weapon.

CEO of Tasmania’s Sexual Assault Support Service (SASS) Jill Maxwell told the Mercury the ABS’ figured reflected those collected by the organisation’s own data.

She said that numbers had skyrocketed in the last decade.

“For instance in 2011, we had a monthly average in referrals of 33 people,” she said.

“The year just finished, 2021 -2022, we’ve got an average of 95. So it’s tripled.”

She believed the increase in numbers was not due to an increase in sexual assault instances, rather it reflected more the courage from victims to speak up.

“We’ve known for years that sexual assault is really prevalent and it’s under-reported because it’s such an intimate crime,” she said.

“People are starting to realise that whether they’re in a relationship or not, without consent, it’s rape.

“There’s still a lot more people out there that aren’t reporting.”

Across Australia, the ABS figured also revealed the number of sexual assault victims jumped 13 per cent from 2020 to 2021, with almost 90 victims a day.

There were 31,118 reports of sexual assault in Australia in 2021.

The ABS said restrictions imposed during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic may have also influenced the reporting and prevalence of all crimes.

If you, or anyone you know needs help with domestic and/or family violence, there are many resources available:

1800 RESPECT: 1800 737 732

Lifeline 13 11 14

Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636

If you are in need of immediate assistance, call Triple Zero (000)

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29 July 2022

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