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Sexual assault cases skyrocket in NSW: Australian Bureau of Statistics


The number of victims of sexual assault in New South Wales has skyrocketed to a 10-year high, according to new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Data from 2019, released on Thursday, shows an 8 per cent increase, from 10,241 victims in 2018 to 11,009 in 2019 – the highest number of victims in the past 10 years.

Of those, one in five were male – the largest proportion of male victims in the country.

Half of the male victims were under the age of 15, while more than a quarter of female victims were between 15 and 19 years old.

More than three-quarters of people knew their attacker, and 60 per cent of assaults took place at a home.

Nearly a third were acts of family violence.

The ACT was the only other state to record an increase, with their assault rate spiking by 18 per cent to a total of 327 victims in 2019.

Similarly to NSW, most victims were female and knew their attacker. More than a third of assaults were acts of family violence, and two-thirds of all attacks took place at a residence.

Our Watch CEO Patty Kinnersly told NCA NewsWire while it was a positive step that more victims appeared to be reporting assaults committed against them, domestic and family violence and sexual assault cases were still “vastly underreported”.

“Increased awareness and greater public discussion which enhances the community’s understanding of what constitutes violence against women is definitely a positive development,” she said.

“It wasn’t that long ago that domestic violence was seen as a ‘private’ issue not to be discussed in public.

“Greater reporting and awareness also mean that survivors will not feel stigmatised or discouraged from reporting their experiences and thus will add weight to the momentum required to make important legal and cultural changes that will continue to keep women safe.”

Ms Kinnersly added that more action needed to be taken to address the underlying drivers of violence against women, with prevention strategies that reach everyone in the community, before numbers would drop.

As NSW and the ACT grapple with their rising crime figures, sexual assaults in South Australia hit a four-year low.

SA Attorney-General Vickie Chapman attributed the drop, the first since 2016, to a new government focus on the issue.

“This government has been focused on implementing policies in the domestic and family violence space since being elected, and it’s pleasing to see some of these policies translating to lower rates of crime such as sexual assault,” she said.

Nationally, victims of robbery increased for the fourth consecutive year to 11,775 victims, and motor vehicle theft hit a seven-year high.



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Australian News

Collingwood’s Jordan De Goey charged with indecent assault over alleged 2015 incident



Collingwood star Jordan De Goey has been charged with indecent assault over an alleged incident from 2015.

The Magpies confirmed the charge in a brief statement on Saturday afternoon, saying it related to “an historical incident”.

“At Collingwood’s insistence, and with full-co-operation from De Goey, the matter was investigated by the AFL Integrity Unit and Victoria Police in 2018. No charges were laid,” Collingwood said in the statement.

“De Goey will remain in the Collingwood football program while the legal process takes its course.

“Neither Collingwood nor De Goey is in a position to make further comment.”

Victoria Police said that two men would face court on October 30.

“Detectives from the Sexual Crimes Squad have charged two people in relation to a reported sexual assault,” a Victoria Police spokesperson said.

“Two 24-year-olds, one from Hampton East and one from Clematis, have both been charged with indecent assault and bailed to appear at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court.”

The 24-year-old De Goey was part of the Magpies side that lost to Essendon on Friday night.

The sixth-year player was taken by Collingwood at pick five of the 2014 AFL Draft.

He led the Magpies goalkicking list in 2018, kicking three goals in Collingwood’s grand final loss to West Coast.

The Magpies will leave Victoria next week as all Melbourne-based clubs relocate due to the state’s new COVID-19 outbreak.

They will face Hawthorn in a round-six clash on Friday night at Giants Stadium in Sydney.

ABC/AAP



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Local News - Victoria

CFMMEU official in hospital after alleged assault at Hawthorn East site


A spokeswoman for the CFMMEU said two officials had arrived on site with “all their paperwork in order” when they were “attacked and jumped” by up to seven men.

She said one of the men was knocked unconscious after being struck in the back of the head with some kind of object. He was taken to hospital and has since woken up but was “not in great shape”, she said.

The investigation is now in the hands of police. They are on site investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident.

Toorak Road is closed in both directions between Auburn Road and Tooronga Road due to the incident.



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Kids to give evidence in assault case


Four children are set to be called as witnesses when former MasterChef contestant Ben Ungermann challenges allegations of sexual assault against a teenager.

The Queensland-based chef and reality show contestant is accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl in Melbourne in February.

Ungermann, 36, will challenge charges in a contested hearing, scheduled in Melbourne Magistrates Court on October 22.

Prosecutors said four children would give evidence in the matter.

A preliminary hearing was run online on Thursday because Ungermann has returned to his home state.

RELATED: MasterChef star denies charges of sexual assault

RELATED: Ungermann wiped from family business website

Prosecutors took no issue with the fact that despite being on bail he was not present for the hearing.

There appears to be no prospect of the matter resolving and a contested hearing would likely take between five and seven days, the magistrate was told.

Ungermann appeared in early episodes of this season’s Network 10 cooking show, but disappeared from television screens in May.

“Due to a personal matter, Ben has had to leave the competition and he will not be returning,” show judge Jock Zonfrillo told contestants.



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Local News - Victoria

No charges for Robert Doyle after two-year probe of sex assault claims


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“If any further information is provided to police in relation to these or any other matters then appropriate investigation will take place,” she said.

“Victoria Police is committed to investigating matters of sexual assault and bringing those responsible to justice.”

Three women came forward claiming Mr Doyle sexually harassed and indecently assaulted them.

In late 2017, former City of Melbourne councillor Tessa Sullivan accused the then-lord mayor of sexual misconduct against her and colleague Cathy Oke.

A third woman, Kharla Williams, later accused him of touching her leg and making offensive remarks to her at a Melbourne Health awards ceremony in 2016.

Mr Doyle resigned as mayor and as chairman of Melbourne Health after the allegations were aired, and was hospitalised for some time due to stress.

An independent report for the City of Melbourne written in 2018 upheld four allegations of misconduct against Mr Doyle, concluding that he sexually harassed Ms Sullivan and Ms Oke on separate occasions after drinking red wine.

He strenuously denies claims of sexual misconduct.

If you or anyone you know needs support, you can contact the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732), Lifeline 131 114, or beyondblue 1300 224 636.



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NT government scraps sexual assault gag laws


Sexual assault survivors in the Northern Territory have finally won the right to speak out under their real names, without risk of prosecution, following the passing of landmark new laws today.

Until now, it has been a crime for all sexual assault victims in the Northern Territory to self-identify in media, and journalists who named survivors – even with their full consent – could face up to six months jail, heavy fines, or both.

In 2018, news.com.au launched the #LetHerSpeak campaign in partnership with End Rape On Campus Australia and Marque Lawyers.

The campaign was created to call for an immediate overhaul of archaic victim gag-laws which silenced sexual assault survivors in both the Northern Territory and Tasmania.

In April this year, the Tasmanian Government reformed their laws, and the NT Government has now followed suit.

“It feels amazing, as up until now I was treated like I was criminal” says Adriana*, a sexual assault survivor from the NT whose story will be published in full, in coming weeks.

“I’ve wanted to share my story and I wasn’t able to. It’s been so hard for me, and also for other women who have also had to wait.”

Sandra*, another sexual assault survivor from the NT, says she feels “relieved” and “overwhelmed” by today’s news.

“This gives me back a bit more freedom. It’s been such a long journey and when you’re sitting in a courtroom it doesn’t feel like anything positive will ever come out of what you’ve been through.”

In 2017, Sandra was raped at work, during a bucks night just outside of Darwin.

The offender was found guilty and sentenced to three years and six months jail, to be suspended after nine months. Sandra has been waiting to tell her story ever since.

“The amount of times I’ve wanted to write something on Facebook to explain to people what happened to me, my true feelings, and why I fell off the face of the earth … but I couldn’t even do that,” she told news.com.au.

“It made me feel even more isolated, like I was the bad one who did something wrong. So I’m glad that other (sexual assault survivors) aren’t going to have to worry about that anymore, when they should be worried about focusing on getting better.”

Michael Bradley, who represents both Adriana and Sandra, and is the managing partner of Marque Lawyers, says that the reform “restores the balance to where it should be”.

“It’s been really rewarding working directly with the survivors along with End Rape On Campus to make this happen. This is a great day for survivors.”

Grace Tame, who became the first female sexual assault survivor ever to win the right to self-identify in Tasmania, said that she was thrilled that the #LetHerSpeak campaign had achieved “another victory”.

“This is a testament to the power of teamwork. This is what is achievable when we band together in support of one another,” she said.

The NT Attorney-General, Natasha Fyles, praised those sexual assault survivors who wish to tell their stories.

“The retelling of (survivor) stories no longer attracts the stigma of shame or embarrassment and can be an important part of the healing process – our legislative amendments are an important mechanism to allow survivors to do that.”

If you or someone you know has been impacted by sexual violence, support is available by calling 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732.

Nina Funnell is the creator of the #LetHerSpeak campaign in partnership with news.com.au, NT News, The Mercury, Marque Lawyers and End Rape On Campus Australia.

Nina was awarded the 2020 Our Watch award by the Walkley Foundation for the #LetHerSpeak campaign.



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Local News - Victoria

Man dies after assault near Noojee


The next night, about 9pm on Sunday, the pair returned to the hotel seeking medical help as the victim had become disoriented.

The hotel staff called for an ambulance and paramedics arrived shortly after, but the man died on the way to hospital.

Police believe the man first arrived with his dog at the Toorongo Falls camp in Noojee, in the Yarra Ranges National Park, East of Melbourne last Monday June 15.

Police believe several campers witnessed the original dispute between the man and a group of people late Friday night or early Saturday morning and are calling on them to come forward.

On the night of the assault, up to 25 different groups of people were camping at the grounds, which are approximately five kilometres north east of Noojee.

Detective Inspector Tim Day said the assault appeared to be unprovoked.

Police on Tuesday have launched a public appeal for anyone who stayed at the campsite over the past week who may have information, especially anyone who witnessed the altercation.

Witnesses have told police that by Saturday afternoon many of the campers had left the site, but that a dozen groups remained.

Police hope that anyone who was in the area at the time recognises the victim's campsite.

Police hope that anyone who was in the area at the time recognises the victim’s campsite.

The victim camped at the Toorongo Falls camp ground for almost a week before his death.

The victim camped at the Toorongo Falls camp ground for almost a week before his death.

“We know that people witnessed the incident and those people will be able to assist us in identifying those responsible for the assault,” Detective Inspector Day said.

Images of the victim, his vehicle and two images of the site where he had set up camp have been released in the hope that anyone who was in the area at the time recognises them.

The Springvale victim's car.

The Springvale victim’s car.

“Police are also asking anyone who may have seen the victim at the Noojee Hotel on either Saturday or Sunday evenings or witnessed the assault to contact police,” said Detective Inspector Day.


Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential crime report at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au

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Channel Seven star charged for assault against girlfriend


Channel 7 star Ryan Phelan has been charged with assault occasioning bodily harm against his girlfriend Chelsea Franklin.

The alleged assault took place on Saturday night.

Phelan last night presented himself at Manly Police Station to be interviewed by police.

The TV presenter and his girlfriend live together at a house on Sydney’s northern beaches which they purchased earlier this year for $2.6 million.

Phelan’s contract with Channel 7 was set to end this Friday after the network made the decision to axe The Daily Edition which Phelan co-hosts with Sally Obermeder.

But as a result of the assault charge, Phelan has been dropped from the show with Channel 7 saying in a statement: “Ryan Phelan will not be returning to The Daily Edition effective immediately”.

Phelan wrote an emotional post on Instagram three days ago about The Daily Edition’s axing, paying tribute to his co-host and telling fans he hoped to be back on TV soon.

“Firstly, I can’t express what a gift from god @sallyobermeder has been,” he wrote. “Every single day she is such a joy to sit alongside, I love her so dearly and am so grateful to have slipstreamed her talent.

“My mate @tomwilliams70 helped build this show, and I’m so grateful for his ongoing friendship.

“The production and behind the scenes team are some of the best and passionate I’ve worked with and will miss them all.

“And last but not least, thank you to everyone who watched, loved and supported the show. Hope to see you on the telly again soon.”

The Daily Edition will continue for the remainder of the week without Ryan Phelan on Channel 7 at 2pm





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Local News - Victoria

Victorian detective charged with false imprisonment and indecent assault


A Victorian detective has been charged with false imprisonment and indecent assault dating back 15 years.

The detective senior constable was charged on Friday after an investigation by Victoria Police’s professional standards command.

The officer, from the Southern Metro Region, was charged with the distribution of an intimate image, indecent assault and false imprisonment.

A police spokeswoman said the charges relate to alleged incident in June 2005 and another in May last year.

“The member was off duty at the time of the alleged incidents,” she said.

The detective has been summoned to appear at court at a later date.



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Child abduction and sex assault charges heard in Sydney court today


A man accused of abducting and raping a 12-year-old girl in Sydney’s north will remain behind bars after he declined to apply for bail.

Brett John Callaghan, 37, did not appear before Parramatta Local Court on Thursday as his case was heard.

He did not apply for bail and it was formally refused by magistrate Miranda Moody.

His alleged victim visited a Sydney shopping centre with friends on Tuesday before going to a nearby skate park where she was allegedly abducted by Callaghan and sexually abused.

The girl was reported missing about 5.30pm that day after she failed to meet up with her parents at Hornsby Westfield.

Police say the girl was seen leaving the Thornleigh skate park with a man she did not know and a child.

Detective Superintendent John Kerlatec says the other young girl was used by Callaghan to build trust with the alleged victim.

The two children didn’t know each other.

“We’re not sure but we can suspect this other young girl was with this male … that gave her a sense of comfort, sense of safety to say, this guy may be a parent and it’s OK to leave with them,” Detective Superintendent Kerlatec said on Wednesday.

Police do not believe Callaghan and the victim had been in prior contact but he and the girl with him are known to each other.

Following extensive inquiries, detectives arrested Callaghan at a home in Dural, where the girl was located about 1.15am on Wednesday, NSW Police allege.

Police also allege the girl was sexually assaulted by Callaghan while in the vehicle on the way to the Dural property and at the home.

That victim is now in the care of family members.

Callaghan has been charged with taking and detaining with intent to obtain advantage, aggravated sexual intercourse with a child between 10 and 14 years, and sexually touching another person without consent.

His case will return to court on May 14 in relation to a forensic order made by police and a potential bail application.

AAP



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