Reporting to the Police

Do I have to report to the police?

The decision whether or not to report a sexual assault to the police is up to you. If you do not report the sexual assault then the person who sexually assaulted you will not be charged with the offence.

Reporting a sexual assault to police is not an easy option. It is common for people to experience increased anxiety as a result. Remember your recovery is your main priority.

Is there any way to make reporting to the police easier?

Reporting to the police can be hard and it can be scary. But you can always have support people with you and take breaks while giving your statement. For more information about the legal process involved, see the ‘what happens when‘ page. After reporting, remember to ask police for the Event number.

It is important to keep a record of the Event number as it proves that you reported the incident to the police.

Why should I report the sexual assault to the police?

Some reasons for reporting may be:

  • You want the police to charge the perpetrator;
  • You want to tell your story officially and have it recorded;
  • You don’t want the perpetrator to do it to someone else;
  • You were injured physically or psychologically and want to apply for Victims Support (see page 33)
  • You want the perpetrator to know you are going to tell people about it;
  • Many people find they feel better just for having made a report to the police, especially if the abuser has threatened them not to go to the police.

Reporting to the police may show the perpetrator that you cannot be intimidated by threats and that what they did was wrong.

Telling the police does not mean you will have to go to court but you may need to go if they charge the perpetrator with an offence – see Going to court.

I don’t want to report to the police just yet. What else can I do to record what happened to me?

There are a few options for you:

NSW Police Sexual Assault Reporting Option (SARO)

If you are unsure whether you want to report to the police you could use their online Sexual Assault Reporting Option (SARO). If you think you might decide to go to the police later it is a formal way of recording what happened and it might help you decide what you want to do. If you don’t have a computer at home you can ask your local women’s health centre, library or women’s refuge if they can let you use their computer. The SARO can also be done anonymously – you do not need to use your name on the form. You can also print the form and post it into the police if you prefer.

For more information on this option see the police website

Write it down

Some people find that writing down what happened to them can be helpful. Keeping a personal diary or journal notes with details such as times and places that the assaults took place may help if you later change your mind about reporting to police.

Report to a GP, counsellor, sexual assault service or other service

Another way to record what happened to you, if you decide not to tell the police, is to tell a doctor or sexual assault worker at a public hospital or public sexual assault service. You can have a SAIK done without reporting to police at the time.

If you have not reported to the police, telling your local GP or counsellor is no longer sufficient evidence if you want to apply for some types of financial assistance through Victims Services. Victims Services also provides free counselling which is available without a report to police or other service. See ‘Other legal stuff you might need to know’ for details on the NSW Victims Support Scheme available through Victims Services.

Mandatory reports to Community Services: Child or Young Person at Risk

If you are under 16 years of age then a health professional or school has a duty to inform Community Services about the sexual assault. This may result in an investigation by the police.

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