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Understanding Sexual Assault in Australia: Statistics, Laws, and Victim Protections

Most victims, 65%, knew the perpetrator.

In recent years, there has been an increasing awareness and discussion surrounding sexual assault in Australia. As criminal lawyers, we are keenly attuned to the complexities of this issue. In this blog post, we will delve into sexual assault statistics in Australia, explore the relevant Queensland legislation, and discuss the legal considerations and protections available to both victims and individuals accused of such crimes.


Sexual Assault Statistics Australia & Queensland

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) recently released findings from the 2021–22 Personal Safety Survey, a comprehensive study examining the prevalence of violence experienced by individuals aged 18 and over since the age of 15.

Key statistics from the survey shed light on the prevalence and nature of sexual violence in Australia:

  • Approximately 22% of women and 6.1% of men reported experiencing sexual violence since the age of 15.
  • Among women who experienced sexual violence, 20% endured sexual assault, while 5.5% faced sexual threats. For men, the figures stood at 5.1% for sexual assault and 1.4% for sexual threats.
  • Alarmingly, 1 in 6 women and 1 in 18 men have experienced physical or sexual violence from a cohabitating partner.
  • Additionally, 13% of women and 4.5% of men reported experiencing sexual harassment.

National sexual assault statistics paint a sobering picture:

  • Only around 8% of women who experienced sexual assault reported the incident to the police, with the vast majority, a staggering 92%, choosing not to involve law enforcement.
  • Residential locations, particularly private dwellings, were the most common settings for sexual assaults, accounting for 69% of cases.
  • Notably, 93% of sexual assaults did not involve the use of a weapon.

Furthermore, Queensland sexual assault statistics in 2022 reveal:

  • A significant majority, 86%, of sexual assault victims were female.
  • More than half, 56%, of victims were under the age of 18 at the time of the incident.
  • Most victims, 65%, knew the perpetrator.
  • Disturbingly, over one-third of sexual assaults occurred within the context of domestic and family violence.


Understanding Queensland Legislation: Sexual Assault Laws

In Queensland, legislation pertaining to sexual assault is outlined in the Criminal Code Act 1899. Under Section 349 of the Act, sexual assault is defined as any act of a sexual nature carried out without the consent of the victim. This includes a wide range of offences, from non-consensual touching to rape.

Moreover, Queensland law recognises the seriousness of sexual assault and imposes severe penalties for offenders. Offenders convicted of sexual assault may face lengthy prison sentences to protect victims and send a clear message that sexual offences will not be tolerated.

More can be found about the types of sexual offence charges and their penalties in our blog post on sexual offences in Qld.


Need Legal Support?

Sexual assault charges are serious allegations that require careful consideration and effective legal representation. If you or someone you know has been charged with sexual assault, it’s essential to seek legal guidance as soon as possible to ensure you have the support system you require. At Guest Lawyers, we offer confidential consultations to discuss your case and explore your legal options, whether you’ve been charged with drug offences, sex offences, assault and violent crime, or a number of criminal offences. We also represent clients in the local, district courts and Supreme Court as well as the court of criminal appeal throughout South-East Queensland. Our team is here to provide the support and representation you need during this challenging time.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you.