Sexual violence statistics

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) published data collected through the 2021–22 Personal safety survey (the survey) of men and women aged 18 years and over about the nature and extent of violence experienced since the age of 15.

Key statistics from the survey show that:

  • 22% of women and 6.1% of men have experienced sexual violence since the age of 15
    • of the women who experienced sexual violence, 20% experienced sexual assault and 5.5% experienced sexual threat
    • of the men who experienced sexual violence, 5.1% experienced sexual assault and 1.4% experienced sexual threat
  • 1 in 6 women and 1 in 18 men have experienced physical or sexual violence by a cohabitating partner
  • 13% of women and 4.5% of men have experienced sexual harassment.

According to national statistics on sexual assault :

  • an estimated 8% of women who experienced sexual assault said the police were contacted about the most recent incident, either by themselves or others
  • the majority (92%) of women who experienced sexual assault did not report the incident to the police
  • most sexual assaults occurred at a residential location (69%), most commonly a private dwelling
  • 93% of sexual assaults did not involve the use of a weapon.

The latest data has shown that in 2022 in Queensland:

  • 86% of victims of sexual assault were female
  • 56% of victims were under the age of 18 at the date of the incident
  • 65% of victims knew the offender
  • more than one third of sexual assaults occurred in the context of domestic and family violence.

Although attitudes towards sexual violence are improving, the most recent National community attitudes to violence against women survey 2021 (NCAS)—undertaken every 4 years—shows that our society still has some concerning beliefs:

  • 34% of people believe it’s common for sexual assault allegations to be used as a way of ‘getting back at men’, with 24% believing allegations are due to women regretting a consensual sexual encounter
  • 25% believe that it’s biologically difficult for men to regulate their sexual behaviour because once aroused, they may not realise a woman doesn’t want to have sex
  • 7% believe that only ‘genuine’ victims report sexual assaults immediately
  • 7% think if a woman meets up with a man she met on a dating app, she is partly responsible if he forces sex on her
  • 10% believe that women often say ‘no’ when they mean ‘yes’
  • 21% believe that if a woman sends a nude image to her partner, she is partially responsible if he shares it without permission
  • 10% regard non-consensual touching as understandable because some women are so sexual in public.

Sexual violence is a violation of human rights and is unacceptable. The Queensland Government is committed to working towards a vision that ‘everyone in Queensland lives free of the fear, threat or experience of sexual violence’. Find out more about Prevent. Support. Believe. Queensland's framework to address sexual violence.