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Byron Shire
February 27, 2021

Sexual assault an issue for Byron Bay

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The police are reminding the public that if a person ‘is impaired by either alcohol or drugs then regardless of what they say or do, they cannot legally consent to sexual intercourse’ .

Brendon Cullen, detective chief inspector at the Tweed Byron local area command (TB LAC) told Echonetdaily that in the six months since July 2017 there have been nine reported sexual assaults in Byron Bay and three people have been charged and are currently before the courts.

According to detective inspector Cullen, there is a current investigation in to a sexual assault that occurred in Byron Bay in February and was reported in March. A statement has been taken. 

Responding to social media concerns that ‘five men’ assaulted the woman ‘in public’, he said that while a member of the public did help the victim, no assault was interrupted and they currently have no incidents that involved multiple perpetrators.

Detective inspector Cullen emphasised that no victims would be sent away if they came to report a sexual assault, however he said that some people are unsure at the time about whether they want to lay charges. 

‘Our victim is our primary concern and they are immediately offered counselling services and medical treatment prior to making a statement. All our hospitals offer sexual assault services.

‘A lot [of victims] don’t make a claim,’ he said, ‘and that doesn’t include the ones we don’t know about who go straight to receive medical treatment and don’t chose to report the incidents to the police.’

There can be numerous reasons why people chose not to report or withdraw a complaint of sexual assault Detective inspector Cullen continued. 

‘Alcohol plays a big part in sexual assault. Byron is a bit of a hot spot because of the alcohol and people from all over the world. Because of the relaxed party atmosphere and availability of alcohol seven nights a week in pubs and clubs.’ 

‘If anyone is impaired by alcohol or drugs then regardless of what they say or do, they cannot provide consent.’

For more information or to talk about a sexual assault contact NSW Rape Crisis or phone 1800 424 017.


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5 COMMENTS

  1. If you look at the boscar crime reports they state that Byron Bay has actually averaged between 22 and 37 reported sexual assaults each year over the last 10 years and compared to the state numbers for reported sexual assaults and populace and that puts sexual assaults in Byron to between 500%-700% higher than the state average. That is a seriously concerning statistic! And especially considering that we already know that sexual assaults here go mostly unreported, so the true numbers could be staggering. It’s probably time that we had some real figures on crime for this area published to the populace, so that we can start to genuinely look at just how far from the norm Byron Bay is in all areas of crime, alcohol & other drugs, mental health, suicide and more. Byron is essentially a very sick town and we need to start to look at some serious remedies and cures, but more importantly, the locals need to know the reality of what is going on here. Byron is not the idillic tourism destination that so many picture it as, it is a bloody dangerous place to be after dark in particular.

  2. Well not so long ago there would be an average of nine sexual assalts in Byron Bay every New Year’s Eve.
    The consumption of alcohol must be going down.

  3. Well said Nicqui Yazdi!
    It is an issue in our town and something needs to be done to make it a safer place for our children growing up here.

  4. There were once minimal sexual assaults in Byron Bay, certainly no more than anywhere else That was until the council drove out the alternate lifestyle that made Byron what it was and what made it once such a popular tourist destination, and they decided to bring in thuggish police, put surveillance cameras and paid parking everywhere and open late night drinking clubs in attempt to turn the place into Ibiza. Now it is a destination shunned by any tourists not looking for anything more than a 24 hour party; it is possibly the most expensive town in Australia to live or even shop for basic food items; the quality of life for locals has deteriorated to the point that people are looking for new places to relocate in droves; and it is now a destination blacklisted by many travel websites as a ‘dangerous – do not visit town’ …. Politicians have completely, methodically, destroyed what was once beautiful Byron Bay.

    The Byron Council must be very proud. ….

    One fix would be to sack the entire council and replace them with human beings

  5. Shocking stats and well done everyone for pointing them out.Perhaps a little more press coverage of the underbelly of Byron wouldnt go astray.
    Yes to the plea from Niqui and any sane persons approach, not sure I can personally blame council members for sexual assault stats but perhaps for the omission of the actual unsavoury events that turbo charged tourism brings.
    By its nature rape is somewhat under reported but this shoudnt stop police and press from issuing warnings.It doesnt have to be a lifestyle choice to be raped and abused..We all have to wake ip to this and the more it is publicised the more we will.

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