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Most hospitalised female assault victims attacked by partners

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More than half of all women and girls who end up in hospital being treated after an assault have been attacked by their partners.

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The disturbing finding features in the latest snapshot of assault and other injuries suffered by tens of thousands of Australians each year.

Of the 20,000 people hospitalised after an assault between 2013 and 2014, nearly a third were women and girls, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) said in a report released today.

Those aged in their early 30s had the highest rates of assault among the 6293 women and girls whose injuries were treated in hospital, while for males it was 20-24 year olds.

Not all of the female patients told hospital staff who assaulted them but domestic violence was linked to most cases.

Of the three quarters who specified their attacker, nearly 60 per cent said they were assaulted by their spouse or domestic partner, most of whom had used some kind of bodily force such as punching.

“Parents and other family members accounted for nearly half the remaining cases where the type of perpetrator was specified,” the AIHW report said.

Head and neck injuries were the most common among female victims of domestic assault, and in almost a quarter of cases, a blunt or sharp object was used.

More than two thirds of all the females hospitalised had been at home when they were assaulted, while eight per cent were pregnant.

“Pregnant women and girls who were assaulted by their spouse or domestic parnter had a larger proportion of injuries to the trunk (33 per cent) compared with their non-pregnant counterparts (12 per cent),” the report said.

The total number of women hospitalised for assault was nearly double that for patients admitted after DIY mishaps, the AIHW said.

Female assault patients also dwarfed the 4000 Australians admitted to hospital for dog-related injuries and the 338 treated for firearm-related injuries.

Four-in-five of the 3318 people hospitalised for DIY injuries that occurred as a result of falls or mishaps with tools and machinery were males aged 15 and over.

Men aged 55-74 made up the largest number of DIY patients, with falling off ladders accounting for more than a third of injuries overall.

ASSAULTS AND INJURIES IN AUSTRALIA

– 20,111 Australians were hospitalised for assault in 2013/14

– 6293 of patients (31pct) were female

– Highest rates of assault: women aged 30-34 and men aged 20-24

– 69pct of assaults against females were in the home

– Of those who specified their attacker, 59pct were assaulted by spouse, partner

– 67pct of females assaulted by partner/spouse had bodily forced used on them

– Open wounds and fractures among most common domestic assault injuries

– 3972 Australians hospitalised for dog-related injuries – 92pct of those resulted from a bite

– 3318 Australians over 15 hospitalised for DIY injuries

– Four-in-five patients were male, with 597 men aged 65-74

(Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare)

National domestic violence helpline: 1800 737 732 or 1800RESPECT. In an emergency call triple-zero.

– AAP

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