A FACAA “How to” guide on seeking justice for historical child sexual offences. This information does not relate to sexual offences against children who are currently under the age of 18.
Recently FACAA attended a meeting with the head of NSW Sex crimes and a Police Superintendent and we asked them “What is the best way for the FACAA members to seek justice for their sexual abuse ?”
They were awesome and gave us some great advice and backed it up with an email packed with info that will help all survivors seeking justice for crimes committed against them.
Firstly if the sex crime has just occurred ring 000 and ask to speak to the police.
If you need medical attention then go to the hospital and they will make the report for you (if you want of course).
So this how to guide is for historical sex offences, offences that aren’t recent, but not necessarily decades in the past.
Now like anything preparation is the key, so either yourself or your support worker should ring the police station, preferably the one closest to where the offence occurred and ask to speak to the Crime Manager at the station. If you can’t do this it’s ok, but be aware it will add a delay to the proceedings.
From there you book an appointment to see them and speak with the appropriate investigator. The station’s Crime Manager will find you the best investigator for your case and ensure you only have to speak to and tell your story to one investigator, not over and over again as you go up the chain of command.
Please do not go to the desk and say, “Ï want to report my sexual assault,” as to do so would have you speaking to an officer with less experience. Now while they are usually great officers who do their job well, they are still limited to their experience.
If you work up the courage to make a report and find yourself at the police station without an appointment, ask to speak to either the sexual assault specialist officer, or ask to speak to “someone with stars on their shoulder.” This is usually the boss of the station who will be able to delegate better than the duty officer.
While you can take this option if you wish, it is not advised.
Now during your appointment you should be given a victim’s card that has :
- An event number
- Your next appointment time
- The name of the officer you are dealing with.
Also during your appointment the duty officer at the station will ensure the victim:
- Is advised that an investigation will be carried out by detectives.
- Is advised of the services provided by the Sexual Assault Service.
- Is advised that transportation can be provided to the Sexual Assault Service.
- Is not required to repeat the details of the assault to multiple police officers.
- The Investigations Manager has been notified.
- That an assessment is conducted to determine the need to call out the Detectives.
- Police Radio has been contacted and arrange for crime scene to attend.
- He/She attends the crime scene and ensures its preservation if required.
After that the Investigations Manager will :
- Appoint a Criminal Investigator to be the officer in charge of the case
- Ensure quality of all investigations.
Then the criminal investigator will:
- Liaise with the initial response officer and duty officer;
- Ensure the victim of sexual/indecent assault is informed of;
- The availability and purpose of a forensic medical examination.
- The role of counsellors within sexual assault services and the availability of Counselling
- The police role and the need for detailed statements and the use of Statements in later proceedings;
- The expected length of time the statement taking may require
- Their right to have a support person, (someone who is not likely to be a witness), present during the interview.
- The likelihood of having to recount details of the police statement if the Matter goes to court.
- The interviewing of suspects, the use of bail and Apprehended violence orders; and The court process and what is required of witnesses.
- Conduct a full and proper investigation of the offence.
- Establish a working relationship with the relevant government and non Government Sexual Assault Services to maximise the resources available when Conducting a criminal investigation.
The reporting of historical complaints must and will be taken seriously by the police, due to the personal nature of offending.
Additionally, and very importantly, these reports can be used by police to obtain valuable information about children currently at risk of harm.
We at FACAA and the NSW Police cannot stress enough the importance of coming forward and providing the police with as much information as you have, even if you would prefer your information was heard anonymously.
You can call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 and say what you want them to hear and then hang up. You would be shocked how many child rape rings have been busted wide open by a Crime Stoppers report.
This information was provided by the NSW Police, however we have been assured that all state police forces take child sexual assaults as seriously as NSW does and the procedures are roughly the same across the board.
Even if you don’t think it’s significant, reporting information you have about child abusers to police is of vital importance.
It will assist in protecting their future potential victims.
As survivors we at FACAA know that seeking justice can be stressful and challenging, it can be re-traumatising to open wounds that have scarred over, but it can also be very empowering.
Even if at the end of the day you don’t get the result you had hoped for from the courts, you have taken back your power. You have spoken out about what your abuser did and you have given information that may protect any potential future victims of your offender.
We hope this guide has helped you navigate the process of seeking justice for historical child sex offences. Should you have any further questions feel free to ask and if we can’t answer them we will email our contacts in the NSW Police force. (A)
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