27 August 2020

New online platform to give more voice to historical sexual assault

| Michael Weaver
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A new online portal will allow victims of historical sexual assault to have more options when making a report to police. Photo: File.

People in the ACT who believe they were sexually assaulted more than six months ago will be able to report the details via a new online portal launched by ACT Policing today (26 August).

The online portal will give survivors of historical sexual assault more options when making a report to police.

ACT Policing Deputy Chief Police Officer Michael Chew noted that not all survivors want their matters investigated further or for court proceedings to occur.

“The new portal will outline what level of information is required for such proceedings to happen and give victims the choice to proceed with a criminal investigation or not,” Commander Chew said.

“It is important to remember that any victim can report any incident of sexual assault to police, regardless of how long ago it happened.”

Commander Chew said those making a report can be assured that information would be handled securely and the survivor would have control over what happens next.

“If you would like the matter progressed police will contact you and make that happen,” he said.

“If you don’t want to be contacted and just want to report for reporting purposes that is your choice, so no further contact will be made.

“We know that it takes a lot of courage to recount traumatic experiences and we are hopeful that by making reporting online an option some people may come forward who until now were not comfortable discussing what they have been through via the traditional face to face or phone setting.”

The new online portal will complement existing reporting avenues and enable survivors to make informed decisions about their disclosure.

There are currently a number of avenues to report sexual assault in the ACT, including attending a police station, contacting ACT Police Operations for patrol attendance or via referrals from external stakeholders such as the Domestic Violence Crisis Service.

If a report is made via the online portal, the information will be sent directly to ACT Policing and they will be in contact with the person making the submission.

The Historical Sexual Assault Online Reporting Portal is accessible on the ACT Policing website.

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