The second option, for victims that decide not to make a formal report to police, is to submit a SARO questionnaire.

The questionnaire is easy to complete containing a series of questions written to obtain specific information from the victim about the offence. There is a section where the victim can provide a summary in their own words about what happened to them. The more accurate detail recorded on the form the better.

The questionnaire is easy to complete and contains a series of questions designed to obtain specific information from the victim about the offence. There is also a section where the victim can provide a summary in their own words about what happened to them. The more accurate detail recorded on the form the better.

The questionnaire can be completed using neat handwriting or typed using a computer and sent to the Child Abuse & Sex Crimes Squad by either mail or email. Victims can choose to provide their contact details or make the
report anonymously.

There is also an option on the questionnaire to authorise, where applicable, the release of a SAIK to police.  Doing so may provide information capable of identifying the offender, and/or linking them to other offending.

Police understand that completing the questionnaire may be difficult, because it requires a victim to recall, in some detail, what happened.  If the services of a counsellor are being utilised, it may be useful to talk with them before doing so.  It is also recommended that the form be completed in a private place where the victim feels safe.

All information received will be treated with the utmost confidentiality, and recorded on a secure and restricted NSW Police Force data base. Completed questionnaires will also be kept securely at the offices of the CA&SCS.

Importantly, the submission of a SARO questionnaire is not the same as making a formal report to police and will not automatically result in a criminal investigation being commenced.  

The primary purposes of a SARO is to make a record of what occurred, in addition to allowing the NSW Police Force to gather information on sexual offences and offending.  

If a victim decides, after completing a questionnaire, that they wish to make a formal complaint to police, they can still do so at their nearest Police Station.

Police are mandatory reporters under section 27 of the Children and Young Persons (Care & Protection) Act. If a report is received concerning the sexual assault of a child or young person, police must also notify the Department of Family & Community Services (FaCS) Child Protection (CP) Helpline. This is however entirely separate to any subsequent NSW Police Force criminal investigation response.