Nursing Home Assaults, Sex Attacks: How to FOI your Region or Town’s Statistics

Article published 12 September 2017

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Media Release

Every November, the Australian Department of Health publishes the national nursing home reportable assault statistics. The Department does not provide a breakdown, let alone the names of the homes where these assaults occurred.

The Department of Health has finally been compelled to release a break-down of these statistics following an FOI application by CPSA.

The CPSA application was for reportable assault stats in the Gold Coast area, but it can be replicated for any area, provided applications are structured like the CPSA application.

To apply for reportable assaults statistics for a particular region,do the following:

  1. Define the area of interest by postcode;
  2. Access the current service lists of nursing homes operating in Australia published by the Department of Health;
  3. Isolate service list entries corresponding with the postcodes making up your area of interest;
  4. Formulate your request as follows: I seek access to a document containing the aggregate for the whole of [formal or colloquial name of area of interest] defined by the following postcodes [list postcodes] of reportable nursing home assaults as defined in section 63.1AA of the Aged Care Act 1997.

Section 63.1AA of the Aged Care Act 1997 defines reportable assaults as “…unlawful sexual contact, unreasonable use of force,or assault …” Statistics on reportable assaults on nursing home residents exclude assaults by non compos mentis residents and repeat assaults.

There were 2,862 serious assaults and sex attacks on nursing home residents over 2015/2016 according to a report published by the Australian Government. The Australian Government tries to downplay the obvious horror of such numbers by expressing them as a proportion of the number of residents during any given year. Over 2015-2016, the Government report says there were 234,931 residents in care, which means that ‘only’ 1.2 per cent of nursing home residents were viciously assaulted.

Information obtained by CPSA under FOI showed that reportable assaults on the Gold Coast, a prime retiree area, was 2 per cent, or 67 per cent higher than the national average.

The full report can be found here.

YearNursing home placesReportable assaults
2008 - 2009228,0381,411
2009 - 2010237,1641,488
2010 - 2011247,3791,815
2011 - 2012252,8901,971
2012 - 2013254,8482,256
2013 - 2014263,7882,353
2014 - 2015273,5032,625
2015 - 2016234,9312,862

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