Online Form to Cut Rape Report Trauma; More Info Will Allow Police to Track Serial Rapists

Article excerpt

Byline: Ava Benny-Morrison Reporter

A NEW service that allows victims of sexual assault to report their ordeal without having to undergo an emotionally strenuous face-to-face police interview may help fight the stigma surrounding the horrific crime, a local counsellor believes.

NSW Police yesterday launched the Sexual Assault Reporting Option (SARO), a scheme that allows reporting by anonymously filling out an online questionnaire that is forwarded to police.

The confidential information is only accessed by the NSW Police Sex Crimes Squad and can be used to determine links between cases and possibly lead to arrests.

While police encourage all victims of crime to make a formal report, they acknowledge their reluctance.

Richmond Sexual Assault Service counsellor Sharon Brodie said a police investigation could be traumatising.

aBeing a victim of sexual assault is a traumatising experience and to go through a police investigation, which requires them to recount the crime, is a re-triggering and traumatising experience in itself,a she said. …