More than 70,000 Australians were victims of six or more physical assaults in a single year, yesterday’s release of 2013-14 crime victimisation data reveals.


Female victims of physical assault were fewer than males, but were more likely to be victims of more than one assault, the Australian Bureau of Statistics report indicates.

Women were also more likely to know their attacker personally.

Male and female survey participants, none younger than 15 years old, gave different perspectives about the assaults in which they were victims during the 12 months before the ABS collected the data by interview in 2013-14.

“Strangers were the most common offender type [for males],” the ABS said about the survey.

“Females were more likely than males to have been physically assaulted by someone they know.

“Intimate partners and family members were the most common offender type [of female victims].”

The survey was used to draw estimates for victims of physical assault across Australia.

Homicide – it’s often the ones closest

The Australian Institute of Criminology’s latest homicide figures have a similar story to tell: the people killed knew their killers.

Their report shows that 479 people were murdered in Australia between July 2010 and June 2012, and 187 of those were domestic homicides.

Intimate partners were the most common relationship for domestic homicide to occur, the AIC said.

The proportions of men and women represented in the different categories of domestic homicide were similar, with the exception of intimate partners.

Women were over-represented in the numbers of intimate partners murdered, AIC research analyst Georgina Fuller told SBS.

“That proportion hasn’t changed significantly in the last 23 years that we’ve been conducting [the homicide report],” Ms Fuller said.

Physical assaults decline overall

The ABS Crime Victimisation, Australia, 2013-14 report says total numbers of physical assaults declined between the 2012-13 and following year’s reporting periods.

An estimated 418,200 people were victims of physical assault during the 12 months before they were surveyed in 2013-14, which represents a drop of 80,000 victims since 2012-13.

The ABS described that drop as “statistically significant”.

The drop in victim numbers between the last two survey periods was not necessarily part of an ongoing trend, Ms Fuller from the AIC said.

“It’s definitely too early to tell if it’s an ongoing trend,” Ms Fuller said.

Physical assault data was a complex area, she said.

The ABS said unemployed people were more likely than employed, and unmarried more likely than married people to report being the victims of physical assault.