Reporting to police

 




  

  



Select a link below for more information about reporting the sexual assault to police.

 

I want to report the sexual assault now

 

Can I report it later?


I am under 18 years

Gathering forensic medical evidence

 

It was a long time ago


Reporting and medical care options

 

You can choose whether or not to report the sexual assault to police. It is your decision.

The sooner you report the crime to the police then the more likely any evidence may be found.

To report a crime in an emergency phone 000 or contact your local police station.

In a non-emergency you can contact the NSW Police Force Customer Assistance Unit on: 13 14 44

If you are unsure whether to report it, you can talk to police without giving your name, or you can talk to someone in a support organisation such as the Victims Access Line or a Sexual Assault Service.

I want to report the sexual assault now

If the sexual assault happened recently:

  • contact police by phone or go to any police station as soon as possible.
  • police will take you to a private area, and a senior police officer will explain the process to you
  • police will allocate a detective who is specially trained to speak to victims of sexual assault, who will work with you
  • police will arrange for a support person to be with you, ensuring that you feel comfortable and safe with that support person.
  • police will arrange for urgent medical treatment, if required
  • police can arrange for the collection of evidence by specially trained doctors. Evidence is best collected within 72 hours of the sexual assault, but can be collected up to a week later. Evidence can be used if an offender is charged.
  • do not wash, eat or drink. If you change your clothes, do not wash them. Put them in a bag to give to the police.
  • tell the police immediately if you suspect you may have been drugged or had your drink spiked. The police will arrange for blood and urine tests. The sooner samples are taken, the better the chance of drugs or alcohol showing up. If you do pass urine, collect it and take it to the police.
  • take a change of clothes if you go to the police station immediately
  • be aware that you can:

-  ask to see a male or female police officer

-  take a support person with you to the police station

-  ask the police to organise an interpreter if required

-  have an interpreter, if English is not your first language

-  tell the police if you are worried about your safety.

  • if the child or young person is under the age of 18 years, a report will also need to be made to Community Services. Phone 132 111
  • you can still report the sexual assault regardless of whether you have had contact with the police before, or have outstanding warrants, are on bail or probation.

The police will take a statement from you about what happened and then carry out an investigation. If, later, you decide not to go ahead, whilst your wishes may be taken into account, the police may continue with their investigation.

Alternatively, you can complete the Sexual Asault Reporting Option questionnaire where vital information on the assault is provided to police without the matter being formally investigated. For more information see the Adult Sexual Assault page on the NSW Police Force website.

Can I report it later?


If you're not sure and you think you might want to report it later, then:

  • if you are considering having a forensic medical examination do not wash, eat or drink until you have contact with the sexual assault service to arrange one. The forensic medical examination is an important part of the investigation.
  • remove your clothes and put them in a paper bag. Do not wash them. Your local Sexual Assault Service can arrange for specially trained doctors to collect evidence for possible future handing to police (only with your permission). The evidence is held in a locked room until you have decided whether you want to report the assault to police.
  • You can contact the Victims Access Line, NSW Rape Crisis Centre or your nearest Sexual Assault Service to discuss your situation and options.

You might choose to report the sexual assault for the following reasons:

  • what happened to you is a crime
  • to stop the offender from harming you again or harming someone else
  • to regain a sense of control by seeing the offender held to account for their actions.

I am under 18 years and have been sexually abused or assaulted


You have the same options as adults.

However, you may want to tell a parent, or friend, or someone you trust, who can support you.

For children and young people under the age of 18 years, a report will also need to be made to Community Services.

Gathering forensic medical evidence


A forensic examination is a medical examination that can only be conducted by specially trained doctors. Its purpose is to collect any physical evidence and specimens that may be used as evidence if criminal charges are laid. This is done best within 72 hours of the sexual assault, but can be done up to a week after.

The forensic medical examination is an important part of the investigation.


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I was sexually assaulted a long time ago


Many people have experienced sexual assault a long time ago. Some people who have experienced sexual assault have not discussed their experience with anyone but still think about the sexual assault and are affected by it.

Just because the sexual assault happened more than a week ago, or many years ago, doesn't mean that you can't do anything about it. You can still report it. 

Remember, you have a range of options for medical and legal action.
 

Options for reporting and medical care


The following list of options for reporting and medical care is specifically for NSW. It has partly been adapted from an online resource managed by the Brisbane Rape and Incest Survivors Support Centre.

You can choose to report right away. The police will need to gather evidence of the assault, which will include a forensic medical examination. They can support you to access medical care. Police can help with protection/ safety needs. They can also support you to make a statement but you don't have to do this right away if you're not feeling up to it.

Where possible a full forensic exam is most effective within 72 hours of the assault or within one week.

If you want to report to the police, you can call 000 or contact your nearest police station. You can ask to speak to a female officer

Report to police, access medical care and request no further legal action

You can choose to report to police and access medical care and forensic medical examination, but withdraw your complaint at a later time if you feel unable to proceed.

Where possible a full forensic exam is most effective within 72 hours of the assault or within one week.

If you want to report to the police, you can call 000 or contact your nearest police station. You can ask to speak to a female officer

Police can also help with protection/safety needs

Access medical care and forensic exam if undecided about whether to report 

You can keep your options open by having a forensic medical examination and asking that the Sexual Assault Service store the evidence (for up to three months) while you decide if you want to proceed with legal action.

Where possible a full forensic exam is most effective within 72 hours of the assault or within one week.

You can contact your nearest Sexual Assault Service or go to your nearest hospital or emergency department, the Victims Access Line on (02) 8688 5511 or Freecall from outside metropolitan Sydney on 1800 633 063 for referral to your nearest medical care facility where you can access a forensic medical examination.

Access medical care and not report assault to police  

You can choose not to report to police but still get a medical check done.

Medical care can involve dealing with the physical and psychological impact of the assault, as well as any concerns about pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections. Please note that morning after pills are most effective taken within 72 hours of the assault.

You can contact your nearest Sexual Assault Service or go to your nearest hospital or emergency department.

You could also see a general practitioner/ doctor if you don't want a full forensic exam. Women's Health Centres, Sexual Health Centres and Family Planning Clinics can also offer medical support/ follow up.

No medical care or reporting 

You can choose not to report to police or get a medical check done.  This option does not include medical support or legal action.

You can contact your nearest Sexual Assault Service or go to your nearest hospital or emergency department, the Victims Access Line on (02) 8688 5511 or Freecall from outside metropolitan Sydney on 1800 633 063.