MEN need to break the silence that surrounds sexual offences in Australia if the nation is ever going to end its horror run of assaults, advocacy groups have said.
A bombshell report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Thursday showed a nation in the grips of a sexual abuse crisis.
The data, collected from police sources, found that reports of sexual offences have increased every year for the past 10 years.
Greater Bendigo recorded a more than 28 per cent increase in reports of sexual offences in the past year, data from the Crime Statistics Agency of Victoria showed.
It found that there were 485 sexual offences reported in Greater Bendigo - up from 377 the previous year.
Chief executive officer of non-profit organisation Our Watch Patty Kinnersly said men needed to be part of the solution.
"It's not a 'women's issue' - it's a whole-of-society issue," she said. "It requires society to change and change a lot and we know it's ambitious, but we do believe we can have an Australia where women live free from violence."
Tarang Chawla, ambassador for Our Watch, said men's reluctance to speak about sexual violence was stifling progress.
"We rarely see men in the public eye speak out about sexual assault," he said.
"For too long, a lot of issues of men's violence have been left to women to speak about, but men play a key role in speaking out and changing behaviours."
A Victorian government spokeswoman said all people had a responsibility to prevent violence against women.
"More than $3.7 billion has been invested by Victoria to prevent and respond to gendered violence since the Royal Commission - more than every other state and territory combined," she said. "Every instance of gendered violence is entirely preventable."
If you need help please call the Centre Against Sexual Assault on 03 5441 0430 or the Centre for Non-Violence: 1800 844 292
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