Media Release

Research looking at scale and nature of sexual violence and barriers to seeking assistance – report findings and actions

26 September 2022

For some years we have been aware of the absence of Tasmania-specific data around sexual violence. In mid-2021, through the generous support of the Elsie Cameron Foundation, we were able to commission the Tasmanian Institute of Law Enforcement Studies (TILES) at University of Tasmania to undertake a targeted research project in a select number of communities in Southern Tasmania.

“We have seen constant and significant growth in the number of referrals for our counselling services” says Jill Maxwell, CEO of SASS.

“However, we felt it was important to gather some empirical evidence through independent research. The study conducted by TILES focused on a select number of communities, with interviews from members of the public providing deep and considered insights drawn from lived experiences.” 

TILES’ Dr Jess Rodgers, lead researcher for the project says, “The project examined experiences of people from Hobart, Rokeby/Clarence Plains, and Huonville. Through community and stakeholder interviews we were able to identify types of sexual violence common in communities, service needs, and a variety of great suggestions for ways of addressing these issues.”

“While our multidisciplinary team conducted the research, it was the engagement from community members and stakeholders that informed the recommendations that will lead to service delivery improvements.”  

Sexual violence in Southern Tasmania: research report for Sexual Assault Support Service, July 2022 has been endorsed by the SASS Board. 

“The recommendations include how SASS, government and other non-government organisations can address the issues identified” says Jill. “We will be sharing this report with the Premier’s and Minister’s offices, and also with the project team for the MultiDisciplinary Centre.”

“Internally, we have developed an action plan to commence, or in some cases continue, to implement the recommendations.” 

Jill continues, “The targeted nature of the research has provided some great insights. It’s also demonstrated a scope for potential further research in other areas around the state.” 

Actions to address the report recommendations include:

  • Training and community education and awareness on prevalence of sexual violence in intimate partner and family relationship contexts, including specific issues around consent, stigma, shame and harm in these contexts:

  • Expanding workshop offerings for first responders, particularly in regional areas; and

  • Explore opportunities for expanding SASS outreach services, including embedded in with other local services where appropriate.

SASS would like to acknowledge the generous support of the Elsie Cameron Foundation which enabled this research to be conducted. A copy of the research report and briefing papers can be access at the links below. 


Released for Sexual Assault Support Service by Jo Bailey, Manager – Marketing & Communications, @email


Interview / photo opportunity:

SASS CEO Jill Maxwell is available for questions from media, including speaking to camera, about this research and the follow up recommendations:

Date:                  Today, Monday 26 September 2022

Time:                  11am to 1pm  

Where:               SASS, 31 Tower Road, New Town


For further information contact:                       

Jill Maxwell, CEO                     or               Jo Bailey, Manager – Communications

@email                       @email


Dr Jess Rodgers, TILES


Ph: 0432 612 037


Report and briefing papers