Sexual violence

Sexual violence occurs across all age and sociodemographic groups, however women are overwhelmingly the victims. Understanding the nature and prevalence of sexual violence can inform the development and evaluation of policies, programs and services. Data on the prevalence of sexual violence in Australia is available from the ABS Personal Safety Survey (PSS) which collects information on the experiences of violence for women and men in Australia. This measure relates to sexual violence perpetrated by anyone, including strangers.

The visualisation below allows users to explore the estimate and proportion of Australians aged 18 and over who have experienced sexual violence at least once since the age of 15 (lifetime prevalence) and at least once in the last 12 months (12 month prevalence), by sex of respondent, and relationship with perpetrator.

Prevalence of sexual violence, by sex , 2016

Column chart visualisation shows estimates of the prevalence of sexual assault over lifetime (age 15+), and in the last 12 months, for female, male and all (persons) victims. 

Visualisation not available for printing

Source data: Sexual violence tables

Time series

Examining the prevalence of sexual violence over time can help to identify patterns in incidents, and evaluate the impact of relevant policies and programs.

The visualisation below shows the proportion of Australians aged 18 and over who have experienced sexual violence at least once in the last 12 months, by sex, and over time. It shows that sexual violence increased between 2012 and 2016 for women.

Proportion of people who have experienced sexual violence, by sex, 2005, 2012 and 2016 

Column chart visualisation shows estimates of the prevalence of sexual assault over lifetime (age 15+), and in the last 12 months, for female, male and all (persons) victims. 

Visualisation not available for printing

Source data: Sexual violence tables

Population groups

Examining the prevalence of sexual violence across different population groups can help to identify those groups that are at higher risk. This information can be used to inform the development of more targeted programs and services for victims and perpetrators of sexual violence.

The visualisation below shows the estimated number and proportion of women aged 18 and over who have experienced sexual violence at least once in the last 12 months for various population groups.

12 month prevalence of sexual violence against women, by population group, 2016

Column chart visualisation shows estimates of the prevalence of sexual assault over lifetime (age 15+), and in the last 12 months, for female, male and all (persons) victims. 

Visualisation not available for printing

Source data: Sexual violence tables