Latest Crime Survey Reveals Surprising High Levels of Unreported Sexual Violence

New figures from the Ministry’s New Zealand Crime and Victims Survey (NZCVS) show worryingly low levels of reporting of sexual violence - 94% percent of sexual assaults were not reported to Police.

Read the latest NZCVS Cycle 2 (2018-19) Core Report [PDF, 1.7 MB]

The survey reveals that almost 30 percent of New Zealand adults experienced intimate partner violence, or sexual violence, at some point in their life, with women three times more likely to experience sexual violence than men.

There’s been no significant change in the level of crime in New Zealand in the past year. The 2019 report found instances of crime were largely experienced at similar levels to the 2018 report.

The findings also reinforce a 2018 finding that a small proportion of the population experiences the majority of crime instances. Just two percent of victims experienced 33 percent of all offences and for interpersonal violence, just one percent of adults experienced 53 percent of incidents.

The report also found a clear link between victimisation and socio-economic conditions. There is a higher level of victimisation for those under financial pressure, living in more deprived areas, unemployed and not actively seeking employment, and those in single parent households.

Victims are most like to be aged between 20-29, Māori, never married, have moderate-to-high levels of psychological distress, lower life satisfaction ratings and lower feelings of safety.

Given the timeframe for the survey interviews (2018-2019) the latest report doesn’t consider the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. A “Pulse” survey is available on our website, which takes a snapshot of experiences of crime during the COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown period.

The NZCVS findings are used by a range of Government bodies, for example, the Government agencies involved in the Joint Venture to target family and sexual violence are using this data.

Further specialist reports using analysis from the 2019 NZCVS will be released later this year. If you would like to receive these reports, please send your and email address to:

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