Indecent assaults in the Illawarra have increased by 20 per cent over the two years to March, new crime data reveals.
The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research showed indecent assaults, acts of indecency and other sexual acts increased from 262 reports in 2019 to 316 in 2020.
The NSW Recorded Crime Statistics quarterly update, released on Wednesday, further broke down the data into local government areas.
Wollongong saw an increase from 194 in 2019 to 220 in 2020, while Shellharbour had 66 assaults in 2019 and 84 in 2020.
A NSW Police spokeswoman said the spike within Lake Illawarra and Wollongong police districts could be attributed to several factors including; increased reporting as a result of ongoing efforts to encourage victims to come forward, and reports being based on the date the offences were reported, not the date they were committed.
"The priority of police will always be the health and wellbeing of victims," she said.
"Police rely on the community to report crime, and will continue to take legal action against those responsible.
"The NSW Police Force will continue to closely monitor the data and trends published by BOCSAR, and will implement measures to respond to, disrupt and reduce crime across the state."
In the previous 24 months to March, the Illawarra recorded a significant upward trend of 4.7 per cent in violent crime, while there was a 6.1 per cent increase in property crime.
Across the state, the number of recorded domestic assaults increased by 4.1 per cent, while sexual assaults rose by 7.9 per cent.
We depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.