Sexual Abuse Statistics
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2010 there were 28,500 victims of assault in Victoria, and of these about 1,500 victims were children under fifteen years of age.
From January 2008 to August 2010 Child Protection reported some 58,500 cases of child abuse, some 30,000 per year, to the police.
There appears to be a significant disparity between the number of reported cases of child abuse, some 30,000, to the actual number of crimes recorded against children, some 1,500, in 2010, which is 5%!
Others, such as Joe Tucci of the Australian Childhood Foundation, and Leza Muza of Bravehearts, also agree that many cases of childhood abuse go unreported, which would indicate that the above figures in respect to the actual numbers of child abuse could be even much higher. There is still a pervasive culture which does not place adequate value on our children nor understand the potential damage that such abuse may have on them.
These figures seem to suggest that up to 95% of children who are at risk of being victims of abuse are unaccounted for. We need to protect our children in order to protect their future and I would call on the State Government to further consider this issue.
If you are a victim of childhood abuse or childhood sexual abuse or know someone who is kindly contact Victims of Crime Counselling and Compensation Services.
Sexual Abuse Definition
Sexual abuse or assault is defined as “any behaviour of a sexual nature that makes someone feel uncomfortable, frightened, intimidated or threatened”. Sexual assault is referred to as “an abuse of power”.
Among 3,466 victims of sexual assault 86% of those were female. 24% of sexual assault victims were victimised by a family member, including 7% who were victimised by a partner; 18% were victimised by a stranger.
Cameron Boyd, a Research Officer with the Institute’s Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault, found that a victim of sexual abuse will suffer both physical and emotional effects as a result of the offence. Emotional responses often include fear, nightmares, mood swings, feelings of helplessness, anxiety and personal shame. Victims of sexual abuse also often isolate themselves in order to avoid confronting the issue. Additionally they tend to avoid anything that is associated with or remind them of the trauma.
Boyd also acknowledged a number of factors influence the impact of this crime on the victim. Such factors are found to often include the victim’s relationship to the perpetrator, the severity of the abuse, the length of time it occurred over, the personal history of the victim etc. Responses to abuse can range from immediate to long-term impacts. Examples of immediate responses include fear of death and anxiety. Long-term impacts are more so associated with low self-esteem and isolation.
The study by Boyd also asserted that post –traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may also result from sexual abuse. Symptoms of post-traumatic stress can include nightmares, depression, avoidance behaviours and distressing recollections of the violence. In the Calhoun & Resnick study it was found that woman who experience sexual abuse are the largest group of people affected by PTSD.
Boyd also suggest that in order for a victim to recover from the effects of sexual abuse a healing process promoting resilience should be utilised. Harvey refers to survivors of sexual abuse as both “suffering and surviving”. In order to aid the recovery process strong support from families is recommended, in addition to social acknowledgement of the impacts.
Child sexual abuse is an issue of concern as a result of its difficulty to detect, often as a result of the secrecy that surrounds it. Children often remain silent as a result of fear of the consequences of disclosing the abuse. There are various behavioural indicators such as sudden changes in mood, nightmares and withdrawn activity may suggest abuse.
Victims of Crime Compensation & Counselling Services,
163 Victoria Parade Fitzroy Melbourne Victoria
1800 000 055
Phone: 9415 9492 Fax: 9415 9256
“Supporting the rights of victims of crime in Melbourne Victoria”.
Victims of Crime