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Police to investigate historic sexual abuse at ACT institutions

By Canfan - 4 February 2015 0

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ACT Policing has established Operation Attest to investigate allegations of historical sexual abuse at institutions within the ACT.

 On 31 October 2013, the Crimes Legislation Bill 2013 was introduced by the ACT Legislative Assembly. This amendment removed the statute of limitations which now allows prosecution of certain historical sexual offences committed between 1951 and 1985.

Operation Attest gives victims a streamlined process of reporting historical sexual offences at institutions, should they wish to do so.

The Operation Attest team has been in consultation with a criminal law firm which has had ongoing contact with some victims of institutional abuse.

In correspondence to be issued by the law firm, police have enclosed an open letter (below) advising potential victims of their ability to now pursue criminal charges, should they wish to do so.

“The role of the Operation Attest team is to provide a point of contact to these victims and any other person who has been a victim of sexual abuse at any institutions within the ACT,” Detective Sergeant David Crowe said.

“If you believe you are a victim of sexual abuse within any institution in the ACT, and you have not received the open letter, please contact Operation Attest via e-mail Op-Attest@afp.gov.au

“We believe that the victims of this predatory criminal behaviour may have been as young as 11 or 12 years old when the offences occurred.”

“Operation Attest members will always respect the privacy of those that contact them. Our primary responsibility is to ensure that victims are made aware of their right to seek criminal redress, and to present them with their options should they choose to do so.”

Victims seeking further information relating to Operation Attest can do so by visiting http://www.police.act.gov.au/

OPEN LETTER

Information for victims of sexual abuse involving institutions in the ACT.

On 31 October 2013, the Crimes Legislation Amendment Bill 2013 was introduced by the ACT Legislative Assembly. This amendment has removed the statute of limitations and now allows prosecution of certain historical sexual offences committed between 1951 and 1985.

In response the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, ACT Policing has established Operation Attest to investigate allegations of historical sexual abuse at institutions within the ACT.

Operation Attest is a small team of highly trained members who have extensive experience in investigating historical sexual abuse matters. They will assist any victims who may wish to report incidents of sexual abuse they were the victim of, or witness to.

If you are a victim of, or witness to, sexual abuse at any institution in the ACT, and you wish to make a report to police, you can contact members of Operation Attest in the following ways:

1)   The dedicated e-mail address  Op-Attest@afp.gov.au

2)   Calling ACT Police Operations on 131 444. When speaking to the operator state you wish to speak with a member of Operation Attest and leave your contact details. A member from Operation Attest will then make contact with you.

3)   Via mail addressed to:

Operation Attest
Winchester Police Centre
GPO Box 401
Canberra ACT 2601

The only information that needs to be included is your name, contact details and the best method and time to make contact. A member of Operation Attest will make contact with you once your report is received.

ACT Policing understands these are sensitive issues and does not want to place any further pressure upon victims. If you require further information before making a report please do not hesitate to contact Operation Attest. Be assured criminal investigations will not commence without your consent.

Justine Gough
Deputy Chief Police Officer – Crime
ACT Policing

(ACT Police media release)

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