Revenge porn, family violence and the reporting of decades-old sex offences have been blamed for a significant spike in sex crimes in Victoria.
Sexual offences have risen 17.9 per cent in the year to September 2017, the state’s Crime Statistics Agency revealed on Thursday.
Of the 2000 cases reported, 25 per cent were historical sexual offences, most likely spurred by the child abuse royal commission, while 40 per cent were linked to family violence, Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Andrew Crisp said.
“It’s almost bittersweet … the fact that the offence is occurring in the first place is wrong, it’s terrible, but we need to take some comfort that these offences are now being reported to us,” he said on Thursday.
Child pornography and revenge porn – when people share sexualised images without consent – are also included in the sexual offences category.
“There was one case in September where one person was charged with more than 250 offences related to images,” Mr Crisp said.
“That made up 10 per cent of the sexual offences figure.”
He warned social media users to take care using dating apps, with some sexual assaults linked to meet-ups.
Family violence made up 17.5 per cent of all crime in the state and remains the top concern for both Victoria Police and the state government.
“I hope we are not losing sight that family violence is happening every single day in homes across Victoria,” Police Minister Lisa Neville said.
“It’s the silent crime that leaves a lifetime of legacy for people.”
Police estimate 2000 extra family violence offences will happen in December and January.
They are also concerned about the increase in aggravated burglaries of convenience stores and jewellery stores, with more than 55 businesses targeted.
Despite the bad news, overall crime rates dropped five per cent, with fewer car thefts and burglaries across the state.
Criminal Incidents in Victoria
- Sexual offences up 18 per cent
- Robbery up 12.6 per cent
- Deception up 8.5 per cent
- Arson down 24.6 per cent
- Property damage down 4.1 per cent
- Burglary and break and enter down 9.7 per cent
- Theft down 11.5 per cent
Source: Crime Statistics Agency Victoria
National domestic violence helpline: 1800 737 732 or 1800RESPECT. In an emergency call triple-zero.