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‘Horrifying’ sexual assault, domestic violence statistics in Hunter

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Maitland, Port Stephens and Newcastle LGAs have all registered “alarming increases” in sexual assault, domestic and family violence (DFV) cases.

Across the state, the two offences trended upwards over the past five years, according to the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOSCAR).

Sexual assault soared by 7% every 12 months on average, while domestic violence-related assault rose by 3%.

And, following the release of BOSCAR’s NSW Recorded Crime Statistics quarterly update, December 2022, the latest data makes for devastating reading throughout the Hunter.

In the Maitland LGA, over the past two years (January 2021-December 2022), domestic violence-related assault rocketed up 35.6%.

Sexual assault climbed by 14.9% between January 2018 and December 2022.

It was a similar result for the latter offence in Port Stephens, which experienced a surge of 12.4% (January 2018-December 2022).

Newcastle also faced a 5.9% escalation in domestic violence-related assault and 10.5% in sexual assault (January 2018-December 2022).

Newcastle Domestic Violence Committee chairperson Lisa Ronneberg said every person in the region should be “horrified by the statistics”.

“While not all LGAs registered increases, their stats were stable, meaning that sexual assault and domestic and family violence wasn’t decreasing across the Hunter,” she stated.

“We also know there is a significant percentage of DFV and sexual assault victims-survivors who do not report.

“So, the actual rates in our region are much higher.

“We need an immediate, long-term increase in funding for specialist domestic and family violence and sexual assault services to support victims-survivors.

“And, we have to throw everything at prevention; generational, structural and attitudinal change; behaviour screening and assessment; early referrals and intervention; prevention programs; and services working with men who have used violence.

“If we don’t address a long-term increase in funding, then nothing will change, and those upward trends will continue.”

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