NEARLY one-third of those hospitalised due to an assault in 2013-14 were women and children, according to a new analysis of data on injuries released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
The data also showed that more than half (59 per cent) of the nearly 6,500 women and girls hospitalised were assaulted by a partner or spouse in the home (69 per cent), with injuries to the head most common (61 per cent). For women aged 15 years and older, eight per cent were also pregnant at the time.
Parents and other family members accounted for nearly half of the remaining cases where the type of perpetrator was specified although in about one-quarter of cases, perpetrator details were not recorded.
The AIHW has recently expanded its work on domestic, sexual and family violence, with a comprehensive statistical picture due for release later this year.
AIHW spokesperson Professor James Harrison said that while the data showed women were hospitalised as a result of assault at less than half of the equivalent rate for men (56 cases per 100,000 females compared with 121 cases per 100,000 males), the patterns of injury seen for females were different to that seen for males.
"The most marked difference is who the assailant is and where that assault occurs," he said.
"The thing that really came home to me as a result of focusing on these assaults on women and girls, is the claustrophobic idea of where do you go for help when the assault happens at home, and by spouse or a family member."