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Assault rates dropping in the Illawarra, new data reveals

The rate of domestic and non-domestic violence assaults in the Illawarra have been steadily decreasing over the last five years, new crime statistics show.

The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) has released five-year reports that contain the nature and locations of the 17 major offences, including stealing from a motor vehicle, breaking and entering, and murder.

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Line graph showing trends the 17 major offences in Wollongong between 2013-2017.
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Line graph showing trends the 17 major offences in Shellharbour between 2013-2017.
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Line graph showing trends the 17 major offences in Kiama between 2013-2017.

The statistics reveal that domestic violence rates are significantly lower than non-domestic violence assault rates across Wollongong, Shellharbour, and Kiama.

Between the three, Kiama saw a steep decline in reported non-domestic violence assault rates. In 2016, 272.2 incidents per 100,000 people were reported – which was a large spike compared to previous years. This dropped to 140.6 in 2017, showing a decrease of 48.3 per cent.

Shellharbour saw a 19.8 per cent decrease, with 336.1 incidents per 100,000 people reported in 2016 falling to 269.5 in 2017.

Wollongong had the highest non-domestic violence assault rates across the five years, with a slight increase between 2016-2017. There were 391.1 incidents per 100,000 in 2016. This increased by 1.7 per cent in 2017, with 397.7 incidents reported.

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Non-domestic violence rates in the Illawarra.

Assault can be defined as domestic or non-domestic violence. A classification of domestic violence is dependant on the relationship the offender has with the victim.

According to the Australian Institute of Criminology, “if the offender and victim are currently (or have been previously) in a domestic relationship (ie intimate partners, family members, etc), the assault is defined as domestic violence related.” Non-domestic violence related assaults occur when the offender has never had a domestic relationship with the victim.

The data show that Kiama has the lowest rate of domestic violence, with an average incident rate of 154.7 per 100,000, compared to Wollongong (352.9) and Shellharbour (357.9).

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Domestic violence rates in the Illawarra.

The figures for each year are based on when the incident is reported as opposed to the actual offence date, so the data may not be entirely representative of crime at the time as it could include historical offences.

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