New figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) through a data analysis has revealed more than 2.2 million women and 718,000 men are survivors of sexual abuse in Australia.
The data also showed women who had suffered sexual abuse as a child were three times more likely to suffer abuse again as an adult.
“One of the horrific and common effects of child sexual abuse is the increased risk of revictimisation which is a very disturbing,” Doctor Katrina Lines, Act for Kids Chief Executive Officer said.
Unfortunately, women are also eight times more at risk of sexual abuse inflicted by an intimate partner than men.
The data analysis completed by the ABS found many survivors abuse still hadn’t reported or disclosed their abuse 20 years after they were sexually abused.
“Sadly, we also know many cases of child sexual abuse continue to go unreported and often aren’t investigated by authorities, leaving survivors suffering in silence without any support long into adulthood,” Dr Lines said.
Act for Kids CEO Dr Katrina Lines says early education is key to stopping sexual abuse.
“Evidence-based protective behaviours programs in schools play an important and crucial role in empowering children to seek help when they feel unsafe.”
Act for Kids has been lobbying to all levels of government to mandate a minimum standard for protective behaviours programs in the National Curriculum, after research found current programs in schools are ad hoc and remain inconsistent across the country.
“As a country and community we must do better to protect children, so they have lifelong skills to protect themselves as adults,” Dr Lines explained.
Sadly, COVID-19 lockdowns has seen more children abused in Australia with more than 486,000 reports made to authorities throughout 2019-2020.
“Children are still being sexually abused behind closed doors and remain more at-risk during lockdowns. We must start educating children earlier about the issues surrounding consent and how to identify unsafe and safe situations and how to seek help, if we are to stop sexual abuse in Australia.”
Act for Kids has experienced a 30 per cent increase in demand for its services since lockdowns lifted last year.
If you or anyone you know needs support, please call the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732) or Lifeline 1311 14.
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