Being a victim of sexual assault is amongst one of the hardest things that anyone can experience in life. You may experience an unpleasant combination of various feelings, such as fear, guilt, shame, disgust, and grief, and unfortunately, many societies still make it harder for victims to navigate through such hard times. Even with the growing movements that support sexual offense victims, the stigma surrounding this specific topic is inescapable. Not only does this make it hard for any victim to speak up, but it also further encourages sexual offenders to carry out this behavior again in the future. Deciding whether you want to report a sexual offense incident to the police can be a very hard decision to make. This is why we are here to help you gain more clarity by telling you the things that you need to know before reporting a sexual offense incident.
Reporting the Incident
There are three general ways to report a sexual assault incident. You can call a Police Non-Emergency line where a dispatch officer will receive your call. They will then send police officers who may take you to the hospital and get started on the report and investigations. You will also be able to report sexual assault if you go to the hospital right away. Explain your situation to the triage nurse and ask to see a SART nurse. You can also report a sexual assault at the police station where you may need to write a witness statement.
If you are reporting a child assault case, you need to keep in mind the sensitivity of the situation. As shocking as it may sound, most child sexual offenders are family members. This is why there are certain steps that you should take when reporting child sexual assault to the Police to make sure that the child is safe. This crime can leave the child with a lifetime worth of trauma, which is why they must receive immediate psychological help. A thorough medical check-up must also be conducted to ensure that they aren’t left with severe injuries.
After you report a sexual offense to the police, officers will work to collect all sorts of evidence, evaluate it, and then process the information. A sexual offense report is a very serious one; offenders, if found guilty, can be entitled to great punishment by the law. This is why officers must closely evaluate whether the evidence suggests that the offender is guilty of the crime, regardless of whether they believe you or feel for you. The crown prosecutor must also agree that there’s a valid possibility of conviction before the charges are laid out.
If the incident is reported within 7 days then the police will ask if you would agree to get a SART exam. A Sexual Assault Report Team nurse at any local hospital is responsible for conducting this exam. This team consists of registered and trained female nurses who are experienced and knowledgeable about caring for those who fell victims of sexual assault. Forensic evidence will be collected, along with injury documentation, if you decide to get this exam done. The information will be used by the police in their investigations and court procedures.
The chances are that you feel very overwhelmed by the situation to the point where your mind can totally skip over very important details. However, to help the police gather better evidence, there are a few things that you should consider. If you are reporting a physical sexual assault within 3 days or an incident where you have been touched skin to skin or have been subject to oral to skin contact, the police may be able to collect evidence. A trained police officer will collect forensic touch evidence at the police station. To make sure that all evidence is documented, you should avoid showering or bathing after the incident, until evidence has been collected. As hard as it may sound, you shouldn’t change or throw away the clothes that you were wearing, wash your hands, comb your hair, consume alcohol or drugs, or tamper with the area where the incident occurred. Although there isn’t a certain time frame in which you should report a sexual offense, the sooner you report it, the easier it will be to prove the offender guilty.
Sexual Assault is one of the most terrifying yet common occurring incidents in today’s world. The number of incidents that we learn about every day, on a global level, is disheartening. Sadly, not all victims receive the support that they need to recover from such a horrific situation. This is why we collected information on what they can expect by reporting a sexual offense to the police.