Recent Sexual Assault

No one ever deserves to be raped – It is not your fault!

 

If you have been raped or sexually assaulted and want information on:

  • Your rights
  • Types of assistance and options available to you
  • Medical/police processes
  • Support with reporting to the police
  • Specialist and interpreter services
  • Safety plans and protection orders
  • Free and confidential counselling and follow up services

 

Please telephone:

  • The Queensland Statewide Sexual Assault Helpline 7am to 11.30pm, 7 days a week on:
    1800 010 120
  • The Brisbane Rape and Incest Survivors Support Centre, support line, Mon – Thu 9am – 1pm on:
    (07) 3391 0004

 

If you are in immediate danger, telephone the Police (dial 000)

  • Inform the police of any urgent safety concerns
  • The Police can help you with safety and protection needs

 

If you are thinking about your options for medical and legal action You have a range of options available to you when thinking about reporting to police or getting medical assistance. You can speak to a sexual assault counsellor about any of these options before you decide what to do. You can also access support, information and counselling from a sexual assault service or support service or be referred to private therapists.


Option 1. Report to police and access medical care

You can choose to report right away. The police will need to gather evidence of the assault, which will include a forensic medical examination (FME). They can support you to access medical care and have the FME. Police can help with protection/ safety needs. They can also support you to make a statement but you don’t have to do this right away if you’re not feeling up to it.
Where possible a full forensic exam is most effective within 72 hours of the assault or within one week.
If you want to report to the police, you can call 000 or contact your nearest Police Station. You can ask to speak to a female officer if one is available.


Option 2. Report to police, access medical care and request no further legal action

You can choose to report to police and access medical care and forensic medical examination, but withdraw your complaint at a later time if you feel unable to proceed.
Where possible a full forensic exam is most effective within 72 hours of the assault or within one week.
If you want to report to the police, you can call 000 or contact your nearest Police Station. You can ask to speak to a female officer if one is available.
Police can also help with protection/safety needs

 

Option 3. Access medical care and forensic exam if undecided about whether to report
In many areas, when you access medical care you can keep your options open by having a forensic medical examination and asking that the medical evidence is stored (for up to three months) while you decide if you want to proceed with a statement to the police.  Unfortunately though this choice is not always available so it is best to ask about what is possible when choosing how to proceed.
Where possible a full forensic exam is most effective within 72 hours of the assault or within one week.
You can contact the Statewide Sexual Assault Helpline on 1800 010 120 for referral to your nearest medical care facility where you can access a forensic medical examination.


Option 4. Access medical care and not report assault to police
You can choose not to report to police but still get a medical check done.
Medical care can involve dealing with the physical and psychological impact of the assault, as well as any concerns about pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections.
You can contact the Statewide Sexual Assault Helpline on 1800 010 120 for information on assistance in your area or go to a hospital emergency department.  There may also be a Sexual Health Clinic, Women’s Health Centre or True Clinic near you.
You can also see a general practitioner/ doctor if you don’t want a full forensic exam.


Option 5. No medical care or reporting

You can choose not to report to police or get a medical check done.
This option means you will not receive medical support or legal action.
If possible please seek support from a sexual assault worker on 1800 010 120 (7am-11.30pm) or BRISSC on 3391 0004 so that you can talk about any other support needs.

 

Forensic Medical Examinations

  • A Forensic Medical Examination is an examination which is focused on obtaining any physical evidence that police could use if they proceed with an investigation of a sexual assault.  The evidence looked for includes, semen, DNA, bruising, and other evidence that indicates the use of physical force. The examination is carried out by specially trained doctors.  The doctor will usually have a look at any area that may have been involved in the assault and will also include a process similar to a pap smear.
  • In order to preserve evidence it is important that you try not to change your clothes. You can take a change of clothes with you to your examination where you will be asked to remove your clothes over a drop sheet that can contain any evidence such as skin or hair particles. If you have already changed your clothes please bring them with you in a paper bag. Your clothes will be sent off for forensic examination and are unlikely to be returned to you in the same condition, if at all.
  • If possible, it is also important that you don’t bathe, shower, eat or drink anything before your examination, as it may interfere with important forensic evidence. If you have already done some of these things it is important to let the medical staff know.
  • You can ask for a female doctor if one is available.
  • You may also have a friend, relative, Sexual Assault worker or female nurse present to support you if a male doctor is examining you. It is protocol that when a medical examiner is of the opposite sex to a survivor they are examining, that a nurse/assistant of the same sex as the survivor is also present.
  • You can ask the examiner to stop if you need to and you can also ask the doctor to explain all the procedures to you.
  • You can request a female interpreter if this may prevent or lessen misunderstandings.

 

For more information please request a ‘Stepping through the process: for adult rape / sexual assault complainants entering the criminal justice system and their advocates’ from the Gold Coast Centre Against Sexual Violence by calling 07 5591 1164.

Supporting women survivors of sexual violence, rape, and incest.