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«SASS “I Think I’ve Been Sexually Assaulted..What Can I Do Now?” We hope you find this information useful. If you decide you do not need it any ...»

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“I Think I’ve Been Sexually


...What Can I Do Now?”

We hope you find this information useful.

If you decide you do not need it any more, you can return it to SASS and

then we can hand it on to another person to read.

You can make arrangements to drop it in to SASS at either Galileo House,

73 Federal Street, North Hobart or Melaleuca House, 95-97 Campbell

Street, Hobart or post it to PO BOX 217 North Hobart 7002.

We would appreciate any feedback regarding this booklet or other SASS publications or service delivery.

Suggested further reading:

Surviving the Legal System - Dr Caroline Taylor, published by Coulomb Communications, 2004 This booklet has been developed by the Sexual Assault Support Service Inc.

PO Box 217 North Hobart Tasmania 7002 Telephone (03) 6231 1811 Facsimile (03) 6231 5370 e-mail reception@sass.org.au 24/7 response and counselling line (03) 6231 1817 (after hours) Reprint 2012 Contents The Sexual Assault Support Service Inc..................... 6 What is SASS............................................... 6 SASS Services.......................................... 6 How can SASS help me?..................................... 8 What are my choices?....................................... 8 What are my rights?........................................ 9 Confidentiality at SASS:..................................... 10 Interpreters:.............................................. 10 What is sexual assault?................................. 10 Sexual assault can be:...................................... 10 Police Offences Act 1935:................................... 11 Criminal Code Act 1924:.................................... 11 About consent to a sexual act:............................... 12 Rape within partnerships and marriage:....................... 13 Effects of sexual assault................................ 13 Physical Effects:........................................... 13 Psychological effects and coping mechanisms:.................. 14 Externalising:............................................. 14 Soc

–  –  –

The Sexual Assault Support Service Inc

SASS believes that:

· Sexual abuse is an abuse of power and a betrayal of trust · No person ever deserves to be sexually violated · A person who sexually abuses another person is responsible for their behaviour What is SASS.

SASS is a community-based service for survivors of sexual assault and it is based on the belief that sexual assault can be a crime and is always an abuse of human rights.

SASS is committed to the provision of a high quality service that empowers survivors of sexual assault. This service is offered to people of all ages, religions, cultures, sexual orientation, abilities and from all walks of life. SASS also works towards the elimination of sexual violence and encourages respectful relationships.

SASS is government funded and provides free counselling and support services.

SASS Services 24/7 Rape Crisis Response SASS provides a 24 hour a day support and information service regarding available choices to victims of recent rape or sexual assault, their family

and support people including whether and how to:

• report the crime to Police

• have a Forensic Medical Examination (FME), medical checkup or access emergency contraception

• access ongoing counseling and support SASS then coordinates and facilitates the implementation of the person’s chosen course of action and offers ongoing support to the victim and their family and friends.

People can access this service directly on 6231 1817 (24/7) or be referred by other services including the RHH, Police, GP’s or other community services.

24/7 Response and Counselling Line SASS provides a 24/7 phone support and counselling service to people of all genders and ages who have been sexually abused at any time of their lives; the parents or carers of children who have been abused; the partners of people who have been abused, and professionals who are assisting people who have experienced sexual abuse.

This service can be used by people who have never before accessed a SASS service or by current or past clients. People can access this service directly on 6231 1817 (24/7) or be referred by other services.

Counselling and Case Management SASS provides face to face information, support, counselling, and referral services for anyone who has experienced sexual abuse or assault at any time during their life regardless of whether the perpetrator was a relative, friend, acquaintance or stranger.

People accessing the counselling and case management service will initially meet with an Intake Worker who will help identify your needs and the type of assistance that you want. You will be provided with information about the type of help available at SASS and other relevant services. You may also be provided with practical information about such things as anxiety reduction, improving your sleep, or helping your child if they are having difficulties.

If you are offered and choose to access counselling at SASS you will be referred to one of our qualified counsellors for ongoing counselling.

This service can be used by anyone who has experienced sexual abuse, their family or support people, and other professionals assisting people who have experienced such abuse. People can access this service directly on 6231 0044 or 6231 1811 during business hours or be referred by other services.

Other services include:

Individual and group programs and support for children who have been sexually abused or are displaying problem sexualised behaviour (0-12 years old) and their families/carers.

SASS provides assistance with police statements, victim impact statements, criminal injuries reports, forensic examinations, court support and telephone counselling.

Support for non-abusing caregivers and support people.

Community Education:

Community education and training plays an important role at SASS.

Education and training is offered to a diverse range of people including school students, teachers, parents and carers, police recruits, nursing staff, social workers, guidance officers, doctors etc.

How can SASS help me?

If you have experienced an assault the role of a worker from SASS is to act as your advocate, to support you and provide as much information as possible. We provide information about the process of reporting sexual assault, SASS’ role, your rights, options available to you and the implications of these options.

What are my choices?

• Face-to-face support to talk through options in more detail

• Immediate medical attention/information without examination (e.g.

for emergency contraception)

• Medical examination (often for reassurance)

• Forensic medical examination when you are not sure if you want to report the assault

• Forensic medical examination and reporting to the police

• Making an ‘information’ report to the police

• Making a Formal Complaint to the police

• ongoing support and counselling from SASS

• Any combination of the above

• Do nothing

• Change your mind What are my rights?

• To be provided with information, support and advocacy to maximise your options when making decisions about legal, medical and support services

• To have an interpreter with you if needed

• To be treated in a sympathetic and supportive manner, with due regard to your personal health, rights, dignity and safety

• To be accompanied by a support person of your choice

• To have your confidentiality and privacy safeguarded.

• To make your own choices about having or refusing any form of care or treatment

• To give informed consent for any procedure

• To withdraw consent for any procedure at any time without duress, even after previously giving informed consent.

We believe at SASS that if you have survived a sexual assault you are a strong, resourceful person who has the right to be treated with respect.

Sexual assault is an overwhelming and frightening experience and can lead to a variety of problems and conflicting feelings. Talking about your feelings can help you to understand them.

There are some good reasons for telling someone about the assault. It

can help you to:

• Get support to regain control over your own life

• Break down the secrecy around sexual assault

• Believe that it was not your fault

• Stop the assault recurring You can use SASS even if you decide not to report the assault to the police.

“Can I really do it or can I really not do it?”

Confidentiality at SASS:

Any contact will be kept strictly private and confidential unless:

• We have your permission to do otherwise

• There is a risk to your safety or the safety of others (It should be noted that SASS is mandated to report to the Department of Health and Human Services when a person under the age of 18 has been abused or is at risk of abuse.)


If English is not your first language and you are worried that you will have difficulty following any part of what may occur as a result of the sexual assault, an interpreter can be made available to you. The interpreter can be with you during the medical process, statement taking, counselling, and court hearing. The police, the hospital, SASS or the Public Prosecutions Office can arrange an interpreter. This service is free.

What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault can be:

• Someone touching, fondling or kissing you when you don’t want them to

• Being made to look at pornographic films, magazines or photos or being forced to pose while someone takes pictures of you or films you

• Someone forcing you to perform sexual acts

• Someone masturbating you or forcing you to masturbate them or being forced to take part in oral sex

• A person raping you or trying to rape you when they put or try to put a penis or any other object into your vagina, anus or mouth.

‘I was sick of getting hurt all the time.

It was the only way out. I was hoping for protection.’ The following laws make sexual assault an offence

Police Offences Act 1935:

Indecent Exposure Assault with Indecent Intent

Criminal Code Act 1924:

Rape: Any person who has anal, vaginal or oral sexual intercourse with another person without that person’s consent is guilty of a crime.

Aggravated sexual assault: A person who unlawfully and indecently assaults another person by penetration of the vagina, genitalia or anus of that other person by – (a) Any part of the human body other than the penis; or (b) An inanimate object

- is guilty of a crime.

Indecent assault: Any person who unlawfully and indecently assaults another person is guilty of a crime.

Sexual intercourse with young person: Any person who has unlawful sexual intercourse with another person who is under the age of 17 years is guilty of a crime if that person is more than 5 years older than the person with whom they had sexual intercourse.

Maintaining sexual relationship with young person: A person who maintains a sexual relationship with a young person who is under the age of 17 years, and to whom he or she is not married is guilty of a crime; if, during a particular period when the young person was under the age of 17 years – the accused committed an unlawful sexual act in relation to the young person on at least 3 occasions.

It is not necessary to prove the dates on which any of the unlawful sexual acts were committed.

Permitting unlawful sexual intercourse with a young person on premises Indecent act with a young person Incest Permitting incest Sexual intercourse with a person with a mental impairment.

About consent to a sexual act:

The law says that you could not have freely agreed (consented) if:

• You were asleep or unconscious, or had been drinking or taking drugs and you were not aware of what was going on,

• Your attacker had used or threatened to use force against you or someone else,

• You thought that what was happening was for medical reasons; for example, if a doctor gave you an internal examination which had nothing to do with your illness,

• The person held you against your will - by taking you away, keeping you somewhere, or locking you in a room,

• You were afraid of the person and what they might have done to you or someone else.

• The person held a position of authority in relationship to you.

• The person presented themselves as someone else.

(see the Criminal Code; Sexual Offences Act 1987, Section 2: A (2)) ‘I didn’t want to see this happen to anyone else.

I couldn’t live with it if I did nothing.

He was dangerous.’

Rape within partnerships and marriage:

Sexual assault is any unwanted sexual behaviour. This is still true if the person imposing the sexual behaviour is a stranger, a friend or acquaintance, a partner, or a husband/wife.

In all states of Australia, sexual assault or rape within marriage is a crime.

It is estimated that one of the most common forms of rape is a husband assaulting his wife.

You might think:

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