Australia records a huge increase in violent sexual assaults – with child abuse cases rocketing by 20 per cent
- Significant increase in sexual assault cases across New South Wales since 2018
- Largest increase was among child victims which row by 21 per cent year on year
- Most other types of crime including property and violent assaults has fallen
- Comes as 1000s of women marched across Australia against gender violence
Crime across most of NSW has remained stable or fallen except for sexual assault, which has had a significant increase.
The latest quarterly report from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research reveals that crime across most of NSW has remained stable or fallen in the two years to December 2020.
Property and many violent crimes fell sharply last April, in line with lockdown and other measures to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 during the height of the pandemic.
Since then violent offending has returned to pre-pandemic levels but many property offences, including car theft, break and enter and retail theft, remain below pre-pandemic levels.
The crime figures showing an increase in sexual assault in NSW comes just days after women’s rights activists took to the streets across Australia (pictured, a protester in Sydney on Monday)
The only major offence to rise significantly in the 24 months to last December was sexual assault, with reports rising 10 per cent year on year (up by 642 incidents).
Reports significantly increased in three categories of sexual assault: child victims reporting current sexual assaults went up 21.3 per cent or 390 incidents; historical child sexual assault reports went up 11.2 per cent or 137 incidents; while adults 16 and older reporting sex offences went up by 4.4 per cent of 115 incidents.
BOCSAR executive director Jackie Fitzgerald said the social upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic last year had interrupted typical crime patterns.
While violent crime and property crime fell dramatically, sexual assaults increased (pictured, women at the Sydney march on Monday protesting for women’s rights)
Overall property crime fell 18 per cent in 2020, she said on Wednesday.
‘Break-ins, robbery, shoplifting and stealing remained low throughout the year so these offences are now at historic lows,’ she said.
Violent crime, by comparison, was more stable last year.
‘Reports of both domestic and non-domestic assault are consistent with pre-pandemic levels. The continued increase in sexual assault reports remains concerning,’ she said.