Your safety comes first
If you think making a SARA report will put your safety at risk, do not do make a SARA report.
SARA software assigns each report a number and notes the time and date the report was made. A SECASA worker reads each report. Your report will then be passed on to the Police with all the information you have provided except the IP address and your contact details.
SECASA has no control over SARA information once it has been given to the Police. Any decision to investigate further is at the discretion of the Police.
Our duty worker will call the number provided within 48 hours or on the next business day. SECASA’s caller ID will come up as ‘private number’ (we block our ID for your safety).
If the duty worker has not been able to speak with you, she will send you a SMS message that SECASA is trying to contact you, she will give you her name and a phone number. Please ring this number to speak with us.
The duty worker will speak with you about how you would like to proceed. You may wish to speak with a counsellor, you may like assistance reporting to the police, or you may wish to take no further action at this time.
Like most websites, SARA collects non-personal site traffic information. This includes various log information such as the pages you have visited on the SARA site, the type of browser you are using and the date and time of your visit. It also collects the internet protocol (IP) address of the computer you are using. This IP address is not passed on to Police. Non-personal information is not capable of identifying the individual user.
The information you have given us may be stored and used for research purposes.
Even if the assault happened a number of years ago we would be pleased to receive the information. You can always speak with a CASA counsellor about an event that happened in the past. If you want to make a report to the Victoria Police there is no time limit on reporting sexual assault.
Sexual assault is any type of unwanted sexual behaviour that makes you feel uncomfortable, intimidated or afraid. This includes forcing you to do something of a sexual nature against your will including:
- Putting a penis, object or other body part in your vagina or anus, or putting a penis in your mouth
- Contact between the mouth and genitals
- Being touched on the genitals by the abuser
- Being forced to touch the abuser on their genitals
- Being forced to look at, or pose for, pornographic photos/videos
- Being forced to perform sexual acts while the abuser watches
- Being forced to watch while the abuser performs sexual acts
- Being touched over your clothes
- Being forced to touch someone over their clothes
Sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual behaviour, which may include:
- Staring or leering
- Sexual comments or jokes
- Sexual insults
- Asking repeatedly for dates when it is unwanted
- Asking for sex
- Getting too close physically when this is unwanted
- Inappropriate questions about your private life or your body
- Posters, magazines, screen savers, calendars and other items of a sexual nature
- Inappropriate email messages or video attachments, or downloading and printing pornographic material
It is still considered sexual harassment if these behaviours are happening where you are exposed to them, even if they are not directed specifically at you. For example, if someone at your workplace displays pornography.
Being sexually assaulted can affect how you feel and behave.
Common feelings are:
- Sadness or depression
- Feeling nervous, worried or anxious
You might go from feeling sad and afraid, to feeling angry – and then back to feeling sad again, or even numb. You may behave differently such as changes to your social habits, changes in your sexual behaviour, engaging in risk taking behaviour like excessive drinking or taking drugs.
There is no “right or wrong” way to feel. If you are having trouble with any of these feelings there are agencies and people who can help you. Look at ‘Where can I go to get help?’ directly below for useful contacts.
- A counsellor at a Centre Against Sexual Assault 1800 806 292.
- Your GP who can refer you to a psychologist or social worker who knows how to work with people who have experienced sexual assault.
- 1800 RESPECT – National sexual assault number with chat facilities on their website.
- Kids helpline 1800 55 1800 with chat facilities on their website.
If you wish to be contacted by a CASA worker, you will be contacted by a female counsellor specially trained in the area of sexual assault. The counsellor will offer support and information and help you explore your feelings, concerns and options.
You can receive information in relation to medical and legal services and discuss what you might like to do. The counsellor will be able to arrange an appointment for you at the nearest CASA.
This meeting will take place at a safe place. In some areas this will be in a hospital Emergency Department. The following will be available to you:
- emotional crisis support
- information about medical and legal rights
- appointments for future counselling
- members of a Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Team if you wish to have them contacted
- a forensic medical examination
- a support person such as a friend, relative or counsellor
- you can request to be seen by a male counsellor if you choose
If you want the police to investigate, you will need to make a statement. If you are under 18, you must have an adult with you while you make your statement.
Making a statement can take a few hours. Depending on what happened and whether it happened once or many times. You can ask for breaks when you want.
As you tell the police person what happened, they will type what you say. They will stop often to ask if what they have typed is correct. A statement is a legal document and signing it means that you agree that all the information is true and correct so it is important to tell them if they have something wrong. For a person under 18, a parent or guardian will sign the statement.
After the statement has been taken, the police can start their investigation.
If you’ve recently been sexually assaulted it's important that you have a medical check-up. The Doctor will:
- Look for any injuries you might have and treat them
- Prescribe emergency contraception
- Discuss the risk of sexually transmitted infections
If you want to report to the Police, forensic evidence can usually only be collected if the assault happened within the last 72 hours.
If you have been assaulted and are unsure as to the course of action you wish to take, talk to a Centre Against Sexual Assault and we will help you work out the best option for you. However, if you are undecided about legal action, it is better if you can:
- resist the urge to shower, bath or douche
- try not to disturb the scene of the crime
- keep the clothes on that you were wearing during the assault
- not clean your teeth, drink or eat if there was oral penetration
If you choose to go to a CASA, bring a change of clothes with you to meet the counsellor as your clothes may be kept for evidence. The CASA will be able to provide you with a change of clothes if you would prefer that.