A survey has brought out some dismal statistics that in a day a minimum of six girls report being raped or sexually assaulted in New South Wales, and the perpetrator most often happens to be someone they know.
Police and experts have revealed that the real figure was at least three times higher, as most of the young women are too frightened or distressed to report such crimes.
Of the 3779 female sexual assaults reported to police, 42 or 54 percent involved females aged 10 to 19 years.
"The true level of sexual violence is certainly much higher than police figures indicate," the Daily Telegraph quoted NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics head Don Weatherburn as saying.
"The last national survey indicated that only about 30 percent of sexual assaults are reported to police," Weatherburn stated.
One of the country's leading experts on violence against women, Associate Professor Moira Carmody of the University of Western Sydney, said young women were usually attacked by people they knew.
"Most of what I see is sexual assault by way of coercion or pressure, especially in the 16-to-25 age group," she said.
"There are young females who tell how they were drunk or at a party and had a bad experience. They are inexperienced and think that is what happens. It is normal," she stated.
Sex crimes squad head Superintendent John Kerlatec agreed that sex assaults were under-reported.
"The number of cases of fathers or stepfathers involved in the assaults is staggering, hard to believe," he said.
Kerlatec said society needed to address the issue with both victims and offenders.
"Parents need to know what their children are doing and we need strong role models for males so they know how to treat women," he added.