What Happens To Your Report - Formal Report

In most circumstances to make a report of sexual assault, you will need to travel to your local police station. When you arrive at the police station you should ask to speak to the Detectives or a Duty Officer in private You can give your story in a room away from the public. If you’re not comfortable in the area where you’re speaking with the officer, its ok to tell them so they can try and find an alternate location.

You can find your police station here.

However, if the offence has just happened, or in an emergency, police will come to you.

We understand that approaching a police station can be an intimidating and upsetting experience. When someone reports a sexual assault, they will be dealt with by police officers who will be respectful, non-judgemental, supportive and understanding. If they think a government agency has not helped them they can contact the Victims Services for help on 1800 633 063.

You can decide after you report to police that you don’t want any further action taken,. This is OK. By providing the information you have helped police record the crime. This may assist with future investigations. It may also help prevent someone else being harmed .

When a report of a sexual assault is made to police, the victim will be asked to make a statement. This will be done in a private area at the Police station, away from other members of the public and day to day police operations. (Please note that Police Stations can sometimes be noisy and crowded, depending on the location and time of day).

The process will involve remembering and recounting, as best as possible, the assault in detail. Police know that this can be difficult and traumatic, but it is important to tell them everything that took place. If some details are withheld, it may negatively affect the case. Victims can have a support person with them while they are making their statement, however this person cannot join in or assist with the interview itself. If you happen to remember something else later on, please call the officer who took your statement so this can be added to your evidence.

Police may also request that a Sexual Assault Investigation Kit (SAIK) forensic medical examination be undertaken. This will be completed at a Hospital by a specially trained medical practitioner and involves swabs and other physical evidence being collected. The SAIK process may be critical in assisting police to identify the person responsible and/or corroborating what has taken place. Once completed, the victim will be asked to sign a consent form to enable the SAIK to be released to police so the samples taken can be analysed. The evidence obtained may be used in future court proceedings.

NSW Health have trained and experienced counsellors who are available to assist you.

Alternatively, there are the highly experienced counsellors at the NSW Rape Crisis Service who you may wish to speak with privately. This service is available 24/7 and may be contacted on 1800 424 017, or through the online service at www.nswrapecrisis.com.au.

The Useful Contacts section of this fact sheet outlines a list of other counselling, support and resource centres to assist both adult and child victims.

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.

It is important to know that the NSW Police Command closest to where the incident occurred will have carriage to investigate this crime. If this has occurred in another state in Australia, this information can be forwarded to that Police Force. Additionally, if you were assaulted in another country, it is important to report it to the Police in that country as soon as possible. If you are unsure what to do, please speak to NSW Police who will be able to advise you on your options.

What Happens To Your Report - SARO

It is an easy questionnaire containing a series of questions written to obtain specific information from the victim about the offence and the offender. You can access SARO here.

There is a section where you can provide a summary in your own words about what happened.

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

The questionnaire can be completed in writing 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 to Police of any forensic evidence obtained from you during the SAIK. 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 you 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 you feel safe.

All information received will be treated with the utmost confidentiality and recorded on a secure and restricted NSW Police Force data base

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 you decide, after completing a questionnaire, that you wish to make a formal complaint to police, you still can at your nearest Police Station.

Call a support service
You can call the NSW Rape Crisis Centre on 1800 424 017. A list of other support services is available.