Sexual Assault In Australia Essay

1044 words - 4 pages

Sexual assault is the act of sexual intercourse without consent of the other person according to New South Wales Consolidation Act of 1900 (Austlii 2011) and is also described by the Australian Standard Offence Classification as ‘non-consensual’ acts or intents of sexual nature (ASOC 2008, p. 31) has become one of the most predominate crimes creating social harm in Australia. Social harm is defined as the negative influence through consequences impacting from the individual to the living conditions of the surrounding public (Cain & Howe 2008, p. 26). Sexual assault poses a social threat to all aspects of community, spreading insecurity in the 9000 victims across Australia and 1900 victims in NSW alone as indicated in the Australian Bureau of Statistics Crime Victimisation Report (ABS 2011, p. 40). This is supported by the victimization rate of all sexually assaulted victims between ages 10 to 14 being 4 times greater than all the other age groups (ABS 2010). Another major issue within the boundaries of sexual assault is that it holds one of the lowest prosecution rates with only 1 in 10 incidents able to prosecute the offender as guilty (Fitzgerald 2006, Pg. 1). The abundance of statistics and reports conducted all imply that sexual assault is still a predominate issue of crime within Australia.
The vast amount of research has provided several explanations to account for the behavior of the offenders and the low rate in which sexual assault cases initiate criminal proceedings through a variety of theoretical perspectives. These include the classical approaches that focus on the individual who has committed sexual assault and the positivist approaches that aim to explain the social factors that influence the prosecution rates that occur from the individual’s behavior. The classicalists were concerned with issues such as personality, childhood development and the biological makeup of the person under biological and psychological approaches. This differs from positivists who believe that driving social risk factors impact the individual as they consider the crime to be environmentally deterministic. There are a wide variety of explanations to for the abnormal behaviors of the sexual assault perpetrators and the reasons why some avoid conviction and criminology has provided approaches to understand this.
Both biological and psychological aspects of the individual are often associated with crime by the classical school of criminology and this is reflected in the profiling of sexual assault offenders. Perpetrators of crime are associated with low intelligence in verbal and performance as discovered by a survey of adolescent offenders in NSW prisons. (Allerton 2003) In addition psychologists have brought in influences that are deterministic to the individuals’ behavior, for example Sigmund Freud indicated through a psychodynamic approach that disruption in childhood development could lead to abnormal and antisocial behaviors that eventuate into...

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