A Federal Government report has revealed that 20 per cent of Australian women have experienced sexual violence at some point in their lives. Furthermore, one in six have suffered domestic violence – either physical or sexual – at the hands of a former or current partner.
The damning statistics are just some of the findings from a comprehensive Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) study that examined family, domestic and sexual violence in the country.
Published last month, the report revealed that one woman is killed by a former or current partner every week, on average, in Australia. A man dies every month in similar circumstances.
According to the AIHW, some demographics are particularly vulnerable, including females who are young, Indigenous or pregnant.
The effects of sexual violence on Australian women
Louise York, a spokesperson for the AIWH, said the study highlighted the significant impact that family and domestic sexual violence can have on victims.
“People who experience domestic violence are likely to need time off work as a result, and women affected by domestic violence experience significantly poorer health and mental health than other women,” Ms York explained.
The study showed 96 per cent of female sexual assault survivors report their attacker as men, while just 49 per cent of male victims said the perpetrator was female.
The research comes at a time when sexual violence and harassment issues are taking centre stage in the media, both in Australia and overseas.
Following revelations of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual misconduct against dozens of women, the Me Too movement and other social media campaigns have quickly gained momentum.
Meanwhile, sexual harassment and assaults on university campuses in Australia have been hitting the headlines regularly, while well-known TV stars such as Don Burke and Craig McLachlan have faced impropriety allegations.
Pursuing compensation for sexual violence crimes
Compensation is available to survivors of sexual assault and harassment in Australia. In NSW, the state government offers recognition payments to victims of violent acts to acknowledge the trauma they have experienced. These payments range from $1,500 to $10,000 for sexual assaults or attempted sexual assaults.
Survivors of sexual violence can also pursue damages from institutions that failed to protect them from perpetrators. For example, religious groups, schools and government organisations can be found liable if they foster or create environments where sexual violence is allowed to develop or even ignored or covered up.
At Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers, we offer a kind and compassionate service to people who have suffered sexual abuse and similar trauma. Please contact us today for a free consultation.