Rise in reported assaults

The increase appears to be due to a temporary rise in victim willingness to formally report sexual violence.

Jackie Fitzgerald

Reported cases of assault have risen in the past 12 months in the Cowra local government area, according to the latest statistics.

The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research's (BOCSAR) quarterly update shows an increase in the amount of reported domestic violence related assaults, non-domestic violence related assaults and sexual assaults.

86 domestic violence related assaults were reported between March 2020 and March 2021. In comparison, 61 incidents were reported the 12 months prior.

Non-domestic violence related assaults rose from 69 to 73 in the past year.

Eight more cases of sexual assault were reported last year, increasing from five to 13.

Reported incidences of indecent assault, acts of indecency and other sexual offences however decreased slightly in the last year, from 17 to 14.

The figures are in line with statewide statistics, which show a sharp jump in sexual assaults reported to NSW Police in March 2021.

Police recorded 940 sexual assaults in March 2021; 300 more than in February 2021 and 61 per cent more than the monthly average.

In the Central West, there was a 52 per cent increase in the monthly average of sexual assaults in March 2021.

According to Jackie Fitzgerald from BOCSAR, "the increase appears to be due to a temporary rise in victim willingness to formally report sexual violence".

"The timing of the increase closely aligns with saturation media coverage of numerous sexual assault allegations in late February and March 2021," she said in her report.

Rates of reported robberies remained low, while there was a decrease in the number of "break and enter dwelling" cases, which fell from 99 to 87.

Reported incidences of "break and enter non-dwelling" also fell from 44 to 40 on the previous 12 months.

There were varied results in terms of rates of reported theft, with a slight increase in the amount of motor vehicle thefts, from 33 to 38.

Reported cases of "steal from motor vehicle" dropped from 60 to 49 in the past year, as did "steal from retail store", 28 to 20.

Incidences of "steal from dwelling" increased slightly from 51 to 53 while reported cases of "steal from person" remained steady.

Fraud rates also decreased from 61 to 50, while there were 164 reported cases of "malicious damage to property" in both time periods - from March 2019 to March 2020 and March 2020 to March 2021.