The latest figures regarding the nature behind and extent of sexual abuse in Australia.
Statistics carry significant power and persuasion. At one level they appear to provide an instant and accessible way of grasping the nature and extent of social issues. Yet any statistic has a complex methodological history, which affects how it can, and should, be used.
This is important to remember when attempting to determine the extent of sexual assault. A range of factors such as barriers to disclosure, the low rate of reporting to police, varying definitions of sexual assault and abuse, 1 and the complexity of recording and counting such information make this a particularly hidden type of violence. Understanding the types of statistics available and what they are measuring is therefore very important.