Australian Institute of Criminology

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  • Trend in assault
  • Victims of assault
  • Victim-offender relationship
  • Location of assault

The ABS defines assault as the direct infliction of force, injury or violence upon a person, including attempts or threats. It excludes sexual assault.

There were 176,427 recorded assaults in Australia in 2007, constituting 840 victims per 100,000 of the population.

Assaults from 1995 to 2007 (number per month)

 Assaults from 1995 to 2007 (number per month)

  • The trend in assaults shows an average growth of five percent each year from 1995 to 2007, four times the annual growth of the Australian population in the same period.
  • Assault is seasonal. The number of assaults peaks in the spring and summer months of October to February and is lowest from April to July.

Victims of assault

Assault victims in 2007, by age group and sex (per 100,000 of that age group and sex)

 Assault victims in 2007, by age group and sex (per 100,000 of that age group and sex)

  • Fifty-eight percent of recorded assault victims in 2007 were male.
  • Males had higher victimisation rates than females in all age groups.
  • As in previous years, males and females aged 15 to 24 experienced assault at the highest rates.

Assault victim-offender relationship

Assault victims, relationship to offender, 2003 (percent)a


a: Excludes Queensland and Western Australia (information not available). Also excludes the 9% of instances where the relationship between victim and offender was not stated or not known in the remaining jurisdictions

b: Known other includes known non-family and known but not further defined, which may include some family members

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics 1997-2007. Recorded crime, victims, Australia (various years; title varies). ABS cat. no. 4510.0. Canberra: ABS

  • Where the relationship between victim and offender was stated, 81% of female victims of assault knew the offender, compared with 49% of male victims.
  • Assaults against females were more than twice as likely to be perpetrated by a family member as those against males.
  • Male victims were much more likely to have been assaulted by a stranger (51%) than female victims (19%).

Location of assault

Assault location type in 2007 (percent)

 Assault location type in 2007 (percent)

n = 162,455 (excludes residential locations that could not be classified as a dwelling or as outbuilding/other residential land)

a: Includes transport

b: Includes unspecified location

  • Recorded assaults occurred most frequently in dwellings (42%), then on streets or footpaths (24%).
  • Retail and other community locations accounted for 13 percent and nine percent respectively of recorded assaults.
  • Recorded assaults were least likely to occur in recreational locations (6%) and residential locations peripheral to dwellings (3%).
Assault victims, type of location, 2003 (percent)(a)


a: ABS has not released state-based data on location broken down by gender since 2003

Source: Extracted from Australian Bureau of Statistics recorded crime data

  • Most male victims (70%) were assaulted in non-residential locations, whereas the majority of female victims (58%) were assaulted in residential premises.

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