Sexual assault: How common is it in Australia?

Sexual assault: How common is it in Australia?

Sexual assault: Calls for changes to the legal systemWhat is the legal process for rape cases?Sexual assault: What action is being taken?

Australia has one of the highest rates of reported sexual assault in the world, at almost 92 people per 100,000 of the population, according to the United Nations.

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 Another survey has quoted the Australian rate at more than double the global average.

According to the UN, Australia ranks below on South Africa in rates of reported rapes.

Countries such as Swaziland, Canada, Jamaica and Sweden follow with rates of reported rape per 100,000 of the population coming in at 76.1, 68.2, 50.8 and 40.6 respectively.

Neighbouring New Zealand reported a rate of 32.2 per 100,000 of the population, ahead of England and Wales at 25.6.

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But making global comparisons is difficult, with survey results varying greatly. Comparisions are also particularly difficult with many developing countries and those suffering from war, as police records often don’t exist and reporting assault to authorities might not be an option.

In Australia rape and sexual assault statistics are collected by state.

In NSW there were 3,951 separate sexual offence incidents reported to police in 2013. In that year 715 people were charged and 374 were found guilty, a conviction rate of 52 per cent for the state.

Of those 374 found guilty, a total of 168 people received a full time prison sentence, representing approximately four per cent of the incidents originally reported to police.

The figures show the likelihood of a sexual assault offender serving a prison sentence is pretty low, especially because it’s believed that most sexual assault incidents are not reported to police.

It should be noted that in a 2010 review into the handling of rape complaints in the UK, Vivien Stern warned that the focus on the conviction rate could have a negative effect because it may deter victims from reporting incidents.

Baroness Stern said rates could be “misleading and deeply unhelpful”, particularly in regards to encouraging women to report offences and work with authorities. She said the treatment and recognition of victims by authorities could be viewed as on par with a conviction.

But in Australia there are calls for changes to the court system to address the disparity between the numbers of alleged offences and convictions.

Rape support workers say many victims are put off pursuing charges because of lengthy court processes and difficulties with meeting the extensive requirements for proof.

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The traumatic experience of the court system has also been blamed for the high rate of underreporting, with one Canberra support worker describing rape as “the most underreported crime in our community”.

According to figures issued by the Australian Institute of Criminology, an estimated 70 per cent of sexual assaults incidents are not reported to police.

Associate Professor Heath said international figures were just as bad, suggesting that only about 15 to 25 per cent of sexual offences were reported.

She said even when reported, only a fraction of those that get to court result in conviction.

“The best national data suggests we have a reporting rate of 15 per cent of all sexual assaults victims say took place, while only 11 per cent of those reports to police result in convictions,” she said.

“Eleven per cent of 15 per cent means the actual conviction rate relative to the number of offences committed is minuscule.”

Around Australia

Figures from Victoria Police show a 51 per cent increase in reported rapes over a 10-year period between 2004 and 2013-14, which recorded a total of 2,095 offences across the state’s four types of rape (including common law).

Increases in reported rape could be due to a variety of reasons, according to the Australian Institute of Criminology, including a greater awareness about what sexual assault is.

Rates in other states have remained relatively steady, with NSW annual reporting figures ranging between 3,951 and 4,255 in the eight year period to 2013.

South Australia was similarly steady, with reported cases ranging from 697 in 1994 to 691 in 2007.

How we compare: Rate of reported rapes per 100,000 of the population

Women who are experiencing sexual or physical violence are encouraged to ring 1800-RESPECT, a national telephone support line.

Incidents debated after AFL draw

Incidents debated after AFL draw

Two controversial umpiring calls and two fluffed shots on goal are the focus of attention after St Kilda’s AFL draw with Geelong.

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Saturday night’s result at Etihad Stadium was a blow for the Cats’ finals hopes, but the two points keep them in the hunt with two rounds left.

It was effectively a loss for Geelong, who usually have found a way to win such tight matches over the last few years.

By contrast the Saints were rapt, especially given they had made seven forced changes for the match.

In the frenetic last term, Cats star Steve Motlop was denied a booming goal on the run because the umpire ruled he had run too far without bouncing the ball.

“It was just a mistake – the coaches made mistakes, the players made mistakes, the umpires made mistakes,” said Cats coach Chris Scott.

“It happens every week … you can’t control that.

“The reality is, they don’t make many mistakes – the players and coaches make more than they do.”

But Saints coach Alan Richardson disagreed.

“The decision was a good one, they got that one right,” Richardson said.

Then, with about a minute left, Saints player Maverick Weller marked a Cats kick out of defence.

Cory Gregson ran at Weller and it looked like he should have suffered a 50m penalty, putting Weller in range of goal.

Instead, Savage snapped an other behind with 14 seconds left to tie the scores.

Asked if it was a 50m penalty, Richardson said “every day of the week”.

“I’m not sure what happened there – I presume the umpire was blinded (sic),” Richardson added.

“He (Gregson) ran over it (the mark) a long way.”

Cats star Steve Johnson had a typical Stevie J night, starring with four goals.

But he also paid dearly late in the second term for jogging lazily into an open goal, thinking there were no opponents near him.

Shane Savage brilliantly ran him down and Johnson could only manage a behind.

AFL stars throw support behind Henderson

AFL stars throw support behind Henderson

Senior AFL players have rallied around dumped Carlton forward Lachie Henderson, saying the league can be mature enough to handle in-season moves.

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Henderson was told he wouldn’t be figuring in the Blues’ final three matches of the season after he giving his intention to the club to seek a trade.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan slammed the move.

“I really don’t like him saying he wants to go somewhere else with three rounds to go,” McLachlan told 3AW.

“Its unnecessary, its undisciplined and I’ve got no idea why people feel the need to do it.”

But Henderson’s former teammate Jarrad Waite, who found himself in a similar situation 12 months ago, and Hawthorn premiership midfielder Sam Mitchell backed the forward’s response.

Waite left Carlton after 12 years with the Blues to join North Melbourne, but only made public his decision after their season ended.

The 32-year-old said Henderson was only responding to a question from the club.

“I commend the way he’s gone about it because he had the guts to say I don’t want to be here next season,” he told AAP.

“He had a lot of pressure from the club asking if he was going to sign or not.

“If clubs are going to put pressure on, they have to understand they might get an answer they don’t want.

“I feel he’s done the right thing by the club by telling them early, it gives both the player and the club a way forward.”

The Blues’ decision to shelve Henderson raised the ire of Mitchell and St Kilda coach Alan Richardson.

Mitchell lived through one of the AFL’s biggest player moves when Lance Franklin swapped Hawthorn for Sydney after the club’s 2013 grand final win.

The Hawks veteran suggested Carlton should not have stood down Henderson if he was willing to play.

“I would say ‘are you committed to what we’re trying to do?’,” he told the Sunday Footy Show.

“The two most selfless games (Franklin) ever played for Hawthorn was his last two games, a prelim and a grand final and we wouldn’t have won it without him.

“We do need to get a bit more grown up about (in-season moves).”

Richardson said it didn’t make much sense to him.

“If you are the footy club putting pressure on for that answer and that person is honest and gives you the answer, I think you’ve got to look after your people.”

US dream and gun access a bad mix

US dream and gun access a bad mix

A mix of psychological disturbance fuelled by the “American Dream” and easy gun access has meant almost a third of all the fatal mass shootings since the 1960s have occurred in the US.

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Experts who surveyed 171 countries found a link between levels of private gun ownership and the likelihood of an individual causing carnage with a firearm.

They also blamed the emphasis placed on success in the American society for the high proportion of mass shooters in the US, which is home to just five per cent of the world’s population.

The research correlated gun ownership and mass shooting incidents involving the deaths of four or more people between 1966 and 2012.

Dr Adam Lankford, an associate professor of criminal justice at the University of Alabama, said his study showed that a nation’s firearm ownership rate was the “strongest predictor” of its number of mass shooters.

“Until now, everyone was simply speculating about the relationship between firearms and public mass shootings,” he said. “My study provides empirical evidence of a positive association between the two.”

He added: “In the United States, where many individuals are socialised to assume that they will reach great levels of success and achieve the American Dream, there may be particularly high levels of strain among those who encounter blocked goals or have negative social interactions with their peers, co-workers, or bosses.

“When we add depression, schizophrenia, paranoia, or narcissism into the mix, this could explain why the US has such a disproportionate number of public mass shooters.”

The right to bear arms is written into the US constitution under the second amendment of the bill of rights.

President Barack Obama has pushed for stricter gun controls but has been frustrated by the pro-gun lobby, led by the National Rifle Association, which has many friends in Congress.

About 300 million firearms are estimated to be in the hands of civilians in the US. In 2011 a Gallup survey found 47 per cent of American adults reported keeping a gun in their home.

Dr Lankford said the US, Yemen, Switzerland, Finland and Serbia were the five countries in the world with the most private firearms per head of population.

“All five are ranked in the top 15 countries in public mass shooters per capital,” he pointed out. “That is not a coincidence.”

The study excluded domestic incidents or shootings that were primarily gang-related or involved hostage-taking or robberies .

It found that mass shooters in the US were 3.6 times more likely to have used multiple weapons than those in other countries.

The Mass Shooting Tracker, an online database run by gun opponents in the US, has listed 231 American mass shootings – involving four or more people shot – over the past year up to August 10.

Another big-event flop for Breen

Another big-event flop for Breen

Out of form and bereft of confidence, Australian record holder Melissa Breen figured it would take a miracle to make it out of the 100m heats at the world athletics championships on Sunday.

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That miracle never looked like happening, with Breen trailing home second-last in her heat in 11.61 seconds – making it the fourth straight time at a global event where she has failed to advance to the semi-finals.

“I knew that it would probably take 11.20 to get out of the heats,” said Breen.

“I’ve really struggled ever since (the Stawell Gift in early April) to be honest – domestically was awesome but we really struggled to repeat that overseas.

“There was only one year we’ve been able to do that and that was London (in 2012).

“It just wasn’t meant to be.

“It just didn’t come together which sucks and it could be time for a bit of a break and then restart again.

“I am extremely motivated for next year and I have eight more years in this sport which is awesome but gee, it would be so good to get out of the heats at a major.”

Breen, 24, admitted it had been a mistake to remain in her home base in Canberra during the Australian winter, rather than head to Europe to pit herself against the world’s best.

“I’ve been going every year since I was 17 and I just wanted a break from that,” she said.

“I probably won’t be doing that again but I’m glad at least that I tried it.

“I really struggled (at the pre-championships training camp) in Japan this year, like really struggled mentally.

“I felt pretty good today but obviously I’m just not there.

“And that sucks – but it is just running and I didn’t have it today.

“That doesn’t mean I won’t have it next year.”

Breen broke Melinda Gainsford-Taylor’s longstanding 100m national record with a time of 11.11 last year and has a 2015 best of 11.26 – but significantly, both of those times were recorded early in the year on home soil.

Multiple Olympic and world champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce from Jamaica and rising US star Tori Bowie topped the qualifying charts with 10.88.

MEL BREEN’S SORRY RECORD AT MAJOR CHAMPIONSHIPS

* Eliminated in 100m heats at 2012 London Olympics

* Eliminated in 100m and 200m heats at 2013 world championships

* Eliminated in 100m heats at 2015 world championships

* Eliminated in 100m semi-finals at 2010 (11.78 seconds) and 2014 (11.45) Commonwealth Games.

Relationships better with shared childcare

Relationships better with shared childcare

Model husbands who carry out a fair share of child care duties are likely to be rewarded with better marital relations, research has shown.

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US sociologists who studied more than 900 heterosexual married couples found that those who split child caring equally reported more satisfaction with their sex lives and relationships.

When women were mostly or wholly responsible for childcare, the quality of relationships and sex was lowest for both parties.

Researcher Daniel Carlson, from Georgia State University in the US, said: “What we find is that there’s generally little to no downside to men being largely responsible for childcare.

“We conclude that being an engaged father is very important to men. If it weren’t, we wouldn’t see such a high level of satisfaction. It suggests that father engagement and sharing childcare with one’s partner is important to both sexes.”

There was one caveat, however. A man taking on the majority of the child care duties seemed to set the stage for problems in the bedroom.

In that situation, while wives exhibited the highest satisfaction with their sex lives, men demonstrated the lowest.

The findings were presented at the American Sociological Association’s annual meeting in Chicago.

Mr Carlson said the study was limited in that it only included heterosexual couples and did not examine who fed or bathed the child, which has traditionally been seen as a mother’s responsibility.

Further research would look deeper into the reasons why couples who shared child caring got on better together.

“We are trying to understand what it is about sharing that couples view so positively,” Mr Carlson said.

Ennis-Hill closes in on gold, Fraser-Pryce cruises

Ennis-Hill closes in on gold, Fraser-Pryce cruises

Elsewhere on the second morning at Beijing’s Bird’s Nest Stadium, defending champion and favourite Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce eased through the opening heats of the women’s 100 metres in a very comfortable 10.

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88 seconds.

“Today is just about getting through the rounds,” she said, sporting long green hair and a sunflower headband.

The champion was joined in Monday’s semi-finals by a nervous American contender Tori Bowie (10.88), who put down a marker by easily beating former Olympic champion Veronica Campbell-Brown (11.04) of Jamaica in the opening heat.

“I wanted to stay relaxed. This is my first major championships and I came out here extremely nervous today,” Bowie said after a quick heat time.

The experienced duo of Olympic champion Kirani James (44.56 seconds) of Grenada and U.S. world champion LaShawn Merritt (44.51) barely strained as they safely negotiated the men’s 400m heats.

“I handled business like I was supposed to in the first round,” Merritt said. “I was a little conservative, but just enough to win. I know what to do in these championships.”

Prodigious American talent Shamier Little endured a tricky opening heat in the women’s 400m hurdles, though, with the world junior champion just slipping through to the semi-finals in fourth after losing her stride on the home stretch.

American Joe Kovacs finished top of the shot put qualifiers with a throw of 21.36 metres, just ahead of double world champion David Storl (21.26) of Germany with the final later on Sunday.

The morning drama, though, came in the heptathlon where Johnson-Thompson, an excellent long jumper, had trailed Ennis-Hill by 80 points in second place and was looking for a big jump to aid her quest for gold only for her keenness to result in three fouls and no points.

The British team appealed the narrow decision on the 22-year-old’s third jump but later withdrew the protest after viewing all evidence, ending her medal hopes.

Dutchwoman Nadine Broersen moved second after a javelin throw of 53.52 metres in the penultimate discipline, with Canadian Brianne Theisen-Eaton, the 2013 silver medallist and wife of decathlon world record holder Ashton Eaton, third on 5612 points.

Ennis-Hill, who gave birth to her son 13 months ago, offered 42.51m in the javelin and with 5705 points, will take an 86-point lead in to the last event, the 800 metres, in a Sunday evening session headlined by the battle between Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin for men’s 100m gold.

(Writing by Patrick Johnston in Singapore; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

RTS writes himself into NRL records

RTS writes himself into NRL records

Trent Robinson issued a bittersweet prediction that Roger Tuivasa-Sheck was only going to get better as the Sydney Roosters maestro wrote his name into the NRL record books.

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Tuivasa-Sheck set a new benchmark for the most running metres in a season with a monster 268-metre effort in Saturday’s 12-10 win over Brisbane.

He passed his Roosters No.1 predecessor Anthony Minichiello’s 2004 mark of 4590m as he took his tally to 4717m with two rounds remaining.

He also became the first player since records started being kept in 1999 to run for 250-plus metres on five occasions and eclipsed Jarryd Hayne’s 2009 mark for most 200-plus metres games in a year with 11.

Robinson was in awe that Tuivasa-Sheck has set so many new records all within 24 rounds.

The Roosters coach says we haven’t seen the best of the 22-year-old but he made the prediciton in the knowledge Tuivasa-Sheck will leave Moore Park at the end of their 2015 campaign.

It would pain him to know that one of his players has blossomed into one of the game’s best attacking weapons at a time he was winding up his stay in Australia.

“This will sound funny but I think Roger can get better than where he’s at the moment,” Robinson said.

“But that running record, the way he brings the ball back, it’s changed the way that we attack out of the back field.

“It’s been enormous the way that he’s carried. And he doesn’t have an off-switch when it comes to carrying the ball.

“We had two (carries) in that corner – Dylan Napa had the first one and Roger had the second to get us out of trouble. They were huge plays.

“Roger works so hard. Setting that record after round 24, he’s learnt some things off Mini and pushed his limits.

“I still reckon Roger’s got some (improvement) in him as well.”

One of the highlights of the night was a monster step that Tuivasa-Sheck put on Brisbane captain Justin Hodges.

The Australian three-quarter compared him to livewire greats Preston Campbell and Matt Bowen and revealed he was an unabashed fan.

“He’s good on his feet,” Hodges said.

“I love watching him play, he’s a freak of a player.

Russian GP could become night race in 2017

Russian GP could become night race in 2017

“We’ve talked about it.

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Maybe in 2017 — So you know you can book your tickets for the next 10 years,” Ecclestone told reporters at the Belgian Grand Prix.

The race in Sochi has a contract to 2020 but Alexander Saurin, vice-governor of the Krasnodar region, and Russian GP chief executive Sergey Vorobyev said an extension was already being discussed.

“Bearing in mind the significantly growing popularity of Formula One in Russia, we are considering extension of the contract,” Saurin, speaking through Vorobyev, told reporters after meeting Ecclestone.

“We are assessing the idea (of a night race) from a commercial perspective and now we are calculating the cost of that,” he added. “But we are working towards having a night race some time in the future. Not earlier than 2017.”

Last year’s race in the Black Sea resort was Russia’s debut on the calendar but it is set to move from an October slot to May 1 next year at the organisers’ request to fit in with Russia’s major holiday period.

Saurin said ticket sales for this year’s race on Oct. 11 would exceed last year and had been boosted by the success of Red Bull’s Russian driver Daniil Kvyat, who finished second in Hungary last month.

“Even last year he was attracting a huge interest….having a local hero is transforming also the event for the people for whom Formula One is a new sport,” he said.

“We expect and are finding ways to have even more people this year. The second place for Daniil Kvyat in the previous race has helped greatly. We have seen a huge rise in ticket sales right after that.”

The Russian Grand Prix was held up as a legacy of the breathtakingly expensive 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and the track snakes around the park that housed some of the venues.

Saurin said the race, and the use of the circuit for other events, had lived up to expectations for post-Olympic development.

“From the previous event (grand prix), we’ve had more than 70 big corporate and sporting events,” he said. “The circuit is constantly working so this is a major legacy.

“We believe that in 2016 we will have at least one or two other international series coming.”

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Patrick Johnston)