EXPERIENCED SEXUAL VIOLENCE
Sexual violence is any unwanted, coerced, or forced sexual act which you did not consent to. It can happen to anyone and it's not your fault. Nothing you said or did meant you deserved for this to happen.
Sexual assault is about power and control, not sex. The offender is often someone you trusted such as an intimate partner, friend, family member, or someone you'd just met in a club or online.
What if it happened a long time ago?
It doesn't matter whether your experience of sexual violence was yesterday or 50 years ago there are still a range of options and support available to you.
It is quite common for victim/survivors of sexual assault to take some time to speak out or come forward to report. This can be for many reasons, remember it was not your fault and you are not to blame.
Even if you were assaulted many years ago, you can still report it or talk to police, which will result in a historical investigation.
If you have been recently assaulted you also have the option of 'Just in case forensics' which can be conducted at the hospital.
If the incident is happening now or the offender is still near you, please contact triple Zero, 000.
It can be hard to decide what you want to do after an experience of sexual violence. Sometimes you might feel like you don't want to do anything or just try to forget it happened. Whether or not you choose to report to police you can still receive counselling and support.
If you are living on the Gold Coast:
You can call us on 5591 1164 (Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm) to discuss your options
If you are living in another part of Queensland or need support outside our office hours:
Visit the Queensland Sexual Assault Network website to find a service in your area.
Call Queensland Sexual Assault Helpline on 1800 010 120 (7 days a week, 7.30am - 11.30pm)
If you are anywhere in Australia and/or need support that is available 24 hours:
1800RESPECT Sexual Assault, Domestic & Family Violence counselling & referrals line on 1800 737 732 (24/7 National)
If you are in immediate danger please call 000
1. Reporting to police
You can phone the police on 131444, or attend any police station to make a report. You can also make a report online which means the police will conduct an investigation which may result in court proceedings.
A formal report may be accompanied by a forensic medical examination and initial interview at the hospital.
You will be supported by a social worker at the hospital who will help you understand the process. The police and hospital can also refer you to us for follow up support.
2. 'Just in case' forensics
You can request to have a forensic medical examination without reporting to the police.
The evidence collected during this exam is stored for 12 months in case you decide to report to police in the future.
(more info below)
3. Anonymous reporting
You can choose to provide police with the details of the assault anonymously through the Alternative Reporting Options (ARO) website.
This will not result in a police investigation and does not require any court processes.
While no action will be taken the information may assist police strategies to target offenders or reduce repeat offending.
4. No report
You can choose not to report the incident. Whatever decision you make you can still access counselling and support.
You might also like to write down everything you can remember about the sexual assault or rape including:
• What happened
• Where it happened
• Who was there
• Any other details
More on 'Just in case' forensics
A forensic medical examination is best completed within 72 hours of the assault. After this time there may not be enough eveidence to proceed with the exam.
If you choose this option, a forensic medical examination will take place and any samples collected will be stored by Queensland Health's Forensic and Scientific Services. The samples will not be tested unless you proceed with a formal police statement within the next 12 months.
During the examination, you will be asked to briefly describe what happened to you and then a physical exam will be done to assess any injuries and collect any samples. This examination is done by a specially trained doctor or nurse using a Sexual Assault Investigation Kit (SAIK). Samples could be collected from your hair, skin, mouth, or private parts.
Best completed within 72 hours of the assault
Collected samples are stored for 12 months, they are not tested during this time
It is your responsibility to contact police if you decide to make a formal report