Media Release by Senator the Hon Amanda Vanstone

Sexual assault in South Australia

Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women, Senator Amanda Vanstone, today outlined how South Australia will benefit from the recent Federal Budget measures to combat sexual assault. Senator Vanstone’s remarks followed on from comments made yesterday by the Police Commissioner, Mal Hyde, on the higher incidence of sexual assault rate in South Australia.

“The Federal Government will provide extra funding of $16.5 million over four years to facilitate a national approach to combat sexual assault against women,” Senator Vanstone said.

“The Government has been working since 1996 on the prevention of violence in the lives of women. Primarily this has happened through the highly successful $50 million Partnerships Against Domestic Violence programme.

“Now that the work on prevention of domestic violence has been thoroughly established, the Government has turned its attention to combating sexual assault in the Australian community. Sexual assault against women is occurring at unacceptable levels.

“Next month, government officials from all the States, including South Australia, will come together to discuss ways to combat the alarming prevalence of sexual assault.

“The Federal Government is seeking to establish partnerships that will develop, test and implement strategies to address the increasing incidence of sexual assault in the community.

“This initiative will also include campaigns to promote community awareness, mechanisms to share information on sexual assault, the promotion of ‘best practice’ across jurisdictions and agencies, and the funding of various projects.

“The 1996 ABS Women’s Safety Survey estimated that 15 percent of Australian women had experienced a sexual assault since age 15 and a further 4.9 percent had experienced a sexual assault threat. Most sexual assault against women goes unreported.

“This measure aims to increase women’s safety and build safer communities by reducing the incidence of sexual assault. Women all over Australia, including South Australia, will benefit from this initiative,” Senator Vanstone said.