Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2021. Injury in Australia: assault and homicide. Canberra: AIHW. Viewed 20 October 2021, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/injury/assault-and-homicide
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2021). Injury in Australia: assault and homicide. Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/injury/assault-and-homicide
Injury in Australia: assault and homicide. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 10 March 2021, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/injury/assault-and-homicide
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Injury in Australia: assault and homicide [Internet]. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2021 [cited 2021 Oct. 20]. Available from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/injury/assault-and-homicide
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2021, Injury in Australia: assault and homicide, viewed 20 October 2021, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/injury/assault-and-homicide
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Intentional violence between two or more people resulting in hospitalised injury or death is captured in AIHW statistics as instances of assault and homicide. Hospitalised injuries caused by assault are most often caused by bodily force; males are much more likely to be hospitalised for assault or die from homicide than females and fracture is the most common type of injury sustained in hospitalised injury cases.
In some cases, people who seek health care due to assault choose not to disclose that their injuries were caused by an intentional act. This may be because the perpetrator is related or known to the injured person and because assault is a criminal act. For these reasons, intentional assault injury cases can be difficult to identify in hospital statistics—they may instead be coded as a type of unintentional injury such as a Fall or Contact with an object—or details of the cause of the assault may be incomplete or unspecified. For more information, see Technical notes.
In 2017–18, 4.1% of hospitalised injury cases were due to assault and 1.4% of injury deaths were due to homicide.
In 2017–18, assault and homicide resulted in:
22,058 hospitalisation cases
89 per 100,000 population
0.7 per 100,000 population
This article only includes data on injuries that result in hospital admission or death. If a person dies from an injury after being admitted to hospital, both the hospitalisation and the death is included in this report. For more information, see Defining injury hospitalisation cases and injury deaths.
Rate (per 100,000)
Bodily force (includes assault and sexual assault) (Y04–05)
Blunt object (Y00)
Sharp object (X99)
Other or unspecified (X85–93, X95–98, Y01–03, Y06–09, Y35–36)
Source: AIHW National Hospital Morbidity Database.
For more detailed data, see Data tables B21–22.
Since 2008–09, there has been:
Annual average rate changes are calculated using modelled age-standardised rates (see Technical notes for more details).
Because of changes in data collection methods, hospitalisations data for 2017–18 should not be compared with those of previous years and are not included in Figure 1 (see Technical notes for more details). Deaths data for 2017–18 are comparable with rates for previous years.
The visualisation features 2 matching line graphs on separate tabs, 1 for hospitalisation cases and 1 for deaths. The 3 lines represent the trend for males, females and persons from 2008–09 to 2016–17 for hospitalisation cases and to 2017–18 for deaths. The reader can select to display rate per 100,000 population or number, and can select by life-stage age group including all ages.
For more detailed data, see Data tables C1–4 and E1–4.
Assault injury hospitalisation and homicide death rates differ for males and females, especially for certain age groups (Figure 2).
The visualisation features 2 matching column graphs on separate tabs, 1 for hospitalisation cases and 1 for deaths. The columns represent sex within 6 life-stage age groups. The reader can select to display either age-specific rate per 100,000 population or number. The default displays males and females and the reader can also select to display persons.
For more detailed data, see Data tables A1–3 and D1–3.
Assault hospitalisation cases were most commonly caused by a perpetrator known to the victim (that is, a spouse or domestic partner, parent, other family member, carer, acquaintance or friend). The perpetrator was unspecified in a large number of cases (37%) (Figure 3). This is often because the victim and perpetrator may have an ongoing relationship (ABS 2020).
Bar graph representing categories of relationship of perpetrator to victim, by sex. For males the most common category was unspecified person, followed by person unknown to the victim followed by acquaintance or friend. For females it was spouse or domestic partner, followed by unspecified person followed by other family member.
For more detailed data, see Data tables B23–24.
Three measures that may indicate the severity of hospitalised injuries are length of stay, percentage of cases with time in an intensive care unit (ICU), and percentage of cases involving time on a ventilator.
The average duration of a hospital stay for assault injuries was shorter than the average for all injury hospitalisations and the percentage of assault cases that included time in an ICU was lower than the overall percentage for hospitalised injuries. The percentage of assault cases that involved continuous ventilator support was slightly higher than for all hospitalised injuries (Table 2).
All hospitalised injuries
Average number of days in hospital
% of cases with time in an ICU
% of cases involving continuous ventilator support
Note: Average number of days in hospital (length of stay) includes admissions that are transfers from 1 hospital to another or transfers from 1 admitted care type to another within the same hospital, except where care involves rehabilitation procedures.
In 2017–18, the head and neck was the body part most frequently injured in hospitalised assault accidents (Figure 4). In part, this may reflect the inherently serious nature of head and neck injuries—injuries to other parts of the body may be less likely to result in admission to hospital.
Note: Body part refers to the principal reason for hospitalisation. Number and percentage of injuries classified as Other, multiple and incompletely specified body regions or Injuries not described in terms of body region not shown—see Data table A11.
For more detailed data, see Data table A11.
Fractures and open wounds were the most common type of injury for people who were hospitalised due to an assault (Figure 5).
Bar graph showing type of injury sustained by category and by sex. Fracture was the most common for males, while open wound was for females. The reader can select to display either the crude rate per 100,000 population or the number of cases. The default display shows data for males and females, and the reader can also select to display for persons.
For more detailed data, see Data table A12.
In 2017–18, among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people:
Rate (per 100,000)
n.p. Not publishable because of small numbers, confidentiality or other concerns about the quality of the data.
Note: Rates are crude per 100,000 population.
Source: AIHW National Mortality Database.
In 2017–18, Indigenous Australians, compared with non-Indigenous Australians, after adjusting for differences in population age structure, were:
The age-specific rate of hospitalised assault cases was highest among the 25–44 life-stage age group for Indigenous Australians and the 15–24 age group for non-Indigenous Australians and (Figure 6). Deaths data are not presented because of small numbers.
Column graph representing hospitalisation data for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians by 6 life-stage age groups. The reader can select to display age-specific rate per 100,000 population or number. The reader can also select to display data for persons, males or females.
For more detailed data, see Data tables A4–A6 and D4–D8.
In 2017–18, people living in Australia’s Very remote areas, compared with those living in Major Cities, using age-standardised rates, were 19 times as likely to be hospitalised due to assault (Table 7). These differences in assault injury hospitalisations rates partly reflect the higher proportion of Indigenous Australians living in remote areas of Australia.
Homicide death rates increase with remoteness as well, but readers are advised to use these data with caution due to relatively small numbers (Table 8).
n.p. not publishable because of small numbers, confidentiality or other concerns about the quality of the data.
Note: Rates are age-standardised per 100,000 population.
The highest age-specific rate of hospitalised assault cases was among the 25–44 life-stage age group living in Very remote areas of Australia. (Figure 7).
Deaths data are not presented because of small numbers.
Column graph representing hospitalisation data for each of the 5 remoteness categories by 6 life-stage age groups. The reader can select to display age-specific rate per 100,000 population or number. The reader can also select to display data for persons, males or females.
For more detailed data, see Data tables A7–A9 and D9–10.
For information on how statistics by remoteness are calculated, see Technical notes.
Technical notes—read about how the data were calculated.
Data tables—download full data tables.
ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) 2020. Crime victimisation, Australia. Viewed 21 December 2020. Canberra: ABS.
ACCD (Australian Consortium for Classification Development) 2017. The international statistical classification of diseases and related health problems, 10th revision, Australian modification (ICD-10-AM), 10th edn. Tabular list of diseases and alphabetic index of diseases. Adelaide: Independent Hospital Pricing Authority (IHPA), Lane Publishing.
The following list includes AIHW publications from recent years that include information on assault and homicide. See Reports for any older publications that may exist.
Research provided by Flinders University
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