An estimated 2.2 million female adults have experienced sexual abuse since the age of 15, according to information from the 2021-22 Personal Safety Survey (PSS) released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
In the PSS, sexual violence is defined as any incident involving the occurrence, experience or threat of sexual violence from the age of 15.
The survey found that 22 percent of women had experienced sexual violence by men and less than one percent of women.
Women were more than three times more likely to experience sexual assault by a man they knew than by a man they did not know.
Will Milne, the ABS’s head of crime and justice statistics, said: “We found that approximately two million women have been sexually assaulted by a man they know and around 600,000 by a man they don’t know.”
In the most recent sexual assault on women by a man, the perpetrator was most often an intimate partner (53 percent) and the incident most often occurred in the home (69 percent).
Fifty-seven percent of the women sought advice or support after the incident, with most turning to a friend or family member.
The data also reveal the impact of sexual violence on women.
“In the 12 months following the attack, two-thirds of women felt anxious or fearful about their personal safety, and one in nine had to take time off work,” Mr Milne said.
“We acknowledge the lives and experiences of people affected by sexual violence that are represented in this report and thank those who took part in the study. Their input added valuable information to the government’s briefing and service responses,” Mr Milne said.
If you or someone you know is in need or in crisis, please call the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Advice Service on 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732) or Lifeline (13 11 14).