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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

ACT Policing launches online sexual assault reporting

ACT Policing has launched an online portal for reporting instances of historical sexual assault.

The portal will allow victims to fill out an online form to report instances of sexual assault that happened in the ACT more than six months ago, which will be sent directly to and recorded by ACT Policing.

ACT Policing’s Deputy Chief Police Officer, Michael Chew, said it can often take a victim a long time to “work up the courage” to report the matter, and the online portal would provide victims with space to tell their story without the pressure of a face-to-face or phone interaction with police.  

“This information, this opportunity, allows them to record that information and we’ll seek their views going forward.”

He said the victim can decide whether they would like the matter investigated.

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

“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.”

Victims who decide to pursue their cases further would still be required to give a formal statement to police.

Commander Chew said while the online portal was designed to make the reporting process easier for victims, it wouldn’t take away from ACT Policing encouraging people to report sexual assault at the time it happens.

Sexual assault can still be reported in person at a police station, by contacting police for patrol attendance or via referrals.

Commander Chew said the online system came out of recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, “where avenues should have been made available … to victims to report matters in a variety of forms”.

He said ACT Policing could look to broaden the use of online reporting tools to encompass other matters in future.

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, visit 1800RESPECT.org.au or call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732. In an emergency, call 000.

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