22.4 C
Byron Shire
April 24, 2024

Enhanced online sexual assault reporting

Latest News

New data reveals NSW social housing waitlist blowout

A fresh analysis by Homelessness NSW reveals where people are waiting the longest for social housing, sparking calls to double the supply of social homes and boost services funding.

Other News

Ignite your creativity at Mullum Laneways Festival

This year’s Mullum Laneways Festival, to be held on May 4 and 5, promises to be a feast for the senses, set to captivate visitors of all ages. On Sunday, May 5 everyone is encouraged to immerse themselves in the heart of the Festival, as Burringbar Street is transformed into a vibrant tapestry of music, dance, art, and more.This is a free event, funded by local sponsorship and a gala fundraising event on Saturday, May 4.

Heart and Song Gold Coast Chamber Orchestra with soprano, Gaynor Morgan

Join us for an enchanting afternoon as Byron Music Society proudly presents ‘Heart and Song.’ Prepare to be immersed in a program meticulously crafted by the Gold Coast Chamber Orchestra, showcasing a world premiere composition. Well-known soprano, Gaynor Morgan, will be premiering a setting of poems by Seamus Heaney and Robert Graves, skilfully arranged for soprano, harp, cello and string orchestra by prominent Northern Rivers musician Nicholas Routley.

What’s happening in the rainforest’s Understory?

Springing to life in the Lismore Rainforest Botanic Gardens this April school holidays, Understory is a magical, interactive theatre adventure created for children by Roundabout Theatre.

Gabriella Cohen in Bruns

Gabriella Cohen, Australia’s folk darling, is coming to Brunswick Picture House to perform a one-off intimate solo show on Saturday. Known for her magnetic performances, off-hand charm and pop sensibilities, Gabriella plays music that is all-at-once laid-back, tongue-in-cheek, and peppered with the sweet sounds of ‘60s girl groups.

Press release vs Save Wallum views

The Echo editor (page 1, 10 April) might need to consider the role of a journalist – particularly that...

It’s MardiGrass!

This year is Nimbins 32nd annual MardiGrass and you’d reckon by now ‘weed’ be left alone. The same helicopter raids, the disgusting, and completely unfair, saliva testing of drivers, and we’re still not allowed to grow our own plants. We can all access legal buds via a doctor, most of it imported from Canada, but we can’t grow our own. There’s something very wrong there.

The NSW Police Force has unveiled an enhanced online reporting option to allow victims of sexual assault to provide information without having to take part in a formal police interview.

While police always encourage victims of any crime to make a formal report, it is acknowledged that for a number of reasons, victims of sexual assault often do not wish to speak about their experiences nor speak with police and go through the legal process.

The NSW Police Force’s Sexual Assault Reporting Option (SARO) has been in existence since 2012, allowing victims to report a sexual assault without any obligation to participate in further lines of inquiry.

Enhanced option

The enhanced SARO is accessed through the online Community Portal and is available in 12 languages, making the reporting option more accessible to victims.

This replaces the old process of printing and completing a 14-page document and emailing the State Crime Command’s Sex Crimes Squad.

NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Police Paul Toole said the advancement in the online reporting system puts victims of sexual assault first when reporting and investigating these serious crimes.

‘While we want to stop would-be perpetrators before it’s too late, it’s absolutely critical we take a victim-focussed approach to supporting those involved through the reporting option.

Identifying ways to better support victims

‘Through the hard work of those involved in the Sexual Violence Project, NSW Police have been able to identify ways to better support victims through their journey and to also ensure we take all opportunities to reduce offending.

‘While the online portal does not commence a police investigation, it empowers victims of sexual assault to take the first step and record their sexual assault, whether or not they wish at a later date to have the matter investigated.

NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb said this is an important step forward to help victim-survivors of sexual violence retain control over their level of contact with police and what happens next.

For many victim-survivors, a police investigation and court process are the farthest thing from their mind and often they feel further traumatised through the process.’

Prosecution not always the desired outcome

‘We understand and recognise that a successful prosecution is not always the desired outcome or the only measure of success.

‘Victims can report via SARO anonymously without further contact from police, or they can elect to be identified and request that police follow up in certain circumstances.

‘We know that sexual violence continues to be under-reported, and we hope that by providing victims with alternative reporting options we will be better placed to understand sexual violence in the community, assist victims, and hold offenders accountable.’

State Crime Command’s Sex Crimes Squad Commander, Superintendent Jayne Doherty, said the NSW Police Force is continuing to review and improve its practices and procedures around sexual violence.

‘Our ongoing focus is to create a trauma-informed, victim-centric response to sexual violence – the enhanced SARO is another important resource for both survivors and investigators.

Reporting can be therapeutic

‘While trauma affects individuals in different ways, reporting can be therapeutic for those victims who wish to share their experience and do so online from their own home or a safe location. For some victims, this may be their first disclosure of the sexual assault.’

‘The number of SARO reports continues to steadily increase each year, with the monthly average increasing from 64 reports in 2021 to 70 in 2022.

‘This allows us to continue to gather information which can be used to develop future strategies that target repeat offenders and can determine modus operandi or links between cases.’

Full Stop Australia’s Director of Clinical and Client Services Tara Hunter said this is a great step forward in addressing the barriers experienced by victim-survivors when engaging with the justice system.

‘The enhanced SARO will provide choice and greater accessibility for victim-survivors of sexual violence.

Sexual violence under-reported

‘We know sexual violence in our community continues to be under-reported and we see the SARO as a tool for victim-survivors to make initial contact with police following an incident of sexual violence, where they are able record the details and return to making a more formal statement if and when they are ready.

‘Full Stop Australia supports these improvements to increase the reporting of sexual violence incidents in our community and look forward to continue working to better our justice and support systems for survivors of sexual, domestic and family violence.’

The Community Portal sexual assault page will include an online reporting form (SARO) that allows victims to:

  • report their sexual assault in English or 11 other languages,
  • report their sexual assault anonymously,
  • upload images such as screenshots of social media or dating app profiles,
  • respond to SARO questions that are tailored to their experience,
  • request follow-up contact from a police officer,
  • download their SARO report from the site and via email or text,
  • receive a SARO reference number on the site and via email or text, and
  • access the community portal via desktop and mobile devices.

The SARO questionnaire can be located on the NSW Police Force website: https://portal.police.nsw.gov.au/adultsexualassault/s/sexualassaultreportingoption


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

1 COMMENT

  1. I – and others – have waited a long time for this development.

    Thanks for reporting on it. Subsequently, I immediately used this new facility to get something off my chest.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Domestic violence service calls for urgent action to address crisis

Relationships Australia NSW is calling for urgent intervention from the NSW government to address men’s violence against women, following the horrific murder of Molly Ticehurst.

Menacing dog declaration revoked

After an emotional deputation from the owner of the dog involved, Ballina Shire Council has this morning revoked a menacing dog declaration for the kelpie Lilo, which was brought into effect following a bite in July 2022.

More Byron CBD height exceedance approved

Two multi-storey mixed-use developments with a combined value of $36.2 million have been approved for the centre of Byron Bay, despite both exceeding height limits for that part of the Shire.

eSafety commissioner granted legal injunction as X refuses to hide violent content

Australia’s Federal Court has granted the eSafety commissioner a two-day legal injunction to compel X, Elon Musk’s social media platform, to hide posts showing graphic content of the Wakeley church stabbing in Sydney.