Support for assault victims

By Steph McNicol

SUPPORT for people wanting to report sexual assault is now available in more than 20 languages and will be a helpful tool according to Seymour’s Detective Sergeant Brad March.

The resource has been made available online via Victoria Police’s website, in hope it will encourage people of all cultural backgrounds to better understand how to report incidents.

As Seymour’s sexual offences and child abuse investigation unit manager, Det Sgt March said the guide had always been a useful tool for police.

“One of the most difficult things when people come to report an offence is the process, because it’s the unknown. It’s a big step for people and it’s life changing,” he said.

“The booklet has been given to victims to take away some of the anxiety about what might happen and what might not happen, to make what they’re doing easier and explain what they might have to do.

“Being able to have that available in different languages and in non-English speaking communities allows us to give them information we previously couldn’t.”

The guide explains the process starting from reporting an offence through to recording a statement, collecting evidence and during the court journey.

The guide is available in English, easy English, and 20 other languages including: Arabic, Bosnian, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Croatian, Dari, Dinka, Farsi, Greek, Hindi, Indonesian, Polish, Punjabi, Russian, Malay, Spanish, Serbian, Somali, Turkish and Vietnamese.

Det Sgt March said reporting assault was a difficult decision and people were often overwhelmed with emotion.

“It’s hard for people to retain the information, but it’s important they know about the decision making and the process doesn’t get taken away from them,” he said.

“If people want to come forward, they can contact us directly here. We’re a small team and we treat everyone with respect and dignity and listen to them.

“We listen to what they have to say and we have resources for them if they’re not ready to talk to us and get our help.

“It’s such a big step and life changing, and it’s important we give them the power.”

Det Sgt March said victims were always put first and police were there to protect the community.

“Now people can report it without having to call the police and there’s a bridge that will be crossed which wasn’t there before,” he said.

To access the resources available, call Seymour police or visit the Victoria Police website.

If in immediate danger or distress, call police on triple zero or Lifeline on 13 11 14.