There are about 54,454 recorded offences in 2011 to 2012. The notable increase was traced to family-related offences by 39.9% between 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 in contrast to 1.7% for non-family related incidents.
As per report of the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC), the crimes of assault continue to lead in the records of violent crimes. The overall trend was traced since 1996 which continue to rise at an increase rate of 55 percent between 1996 and 2007. It is followed by sexual assault which increased by 49% from 1996-97 to 2009-10. In 2010 there were 171,083 reported assault offences and 17,757 sexual assaults majority of which are committed against women (AIC 2011). It is further revealed that majority (60%) of sexual assault happened in a private dwelling and committed by a family member in a domestic violence setting.
Domestic violence generally, refers to “acts of violence that occur between people who have, or have had, an intimate relationship in domestic settings.” The acts associated with domestic violence include: physical, sexual, emotional and psychological abuse as well as economic abuse. It is usually committed by males against women. However, the act of violence may also be committed against men by their female partners and same sex partners within the relationship. It is considered a violent crime associated with hatred or a pure disregard of the value and rights of another person.
Domestic Violence and impacts on children
Children and adolescents exposed to domestic violence are the most affected members in the family. They are at risk of experiencing emotional, physical and sexual abuse. According to research, domestic violence is the leading cause in child abuse and neglect. The fact alone that the child is exposed or witnessing domestic violence is a form of child abuse, a matter which is recognized not only in Australia, but also in the international level. Above all, considering the relationship of the victim and the perpetrator, most of the time the incidence domestic violence goes unreported.
Australia pushed changes in Family Law Act of 1975
To curtail the rise of domestic violence and lessen the impact of child abuse, the government pushes changes in The Family law Act. The changes were made effective June of 2012. One of the important changes to FLA is the expansion of the meaning of the word “domestic violence.” Salvation Army's Major, Andrew Craib says, he hoped that the changes will encourage more victims of domestic violence to come out and seek more help. "They're more likely to feel now that somebody has an understanding of the circumstances that they're putting up with," he said.