Reporting on sexual assault

Media backgrounder – February 2012

Support services

Consider your readers

Contact details for sexual assault and counselling services should always be included when reporting on sexual assault.

The ACSSA website provides a comprehensive list of support service contact details.

Many of your readers might have experienced sexual violence given the incidence of sexual assault in the community:

  • One in five women have experienced sexual violence since the age of 15.
  • One in 20 men have experienced sexual violence since the age of 15.
  • One in four women have experienced sexual abuse as children.
  • One in six men have experienced sexual abuse as children.

It can be beneficial for victim/survivors to disclose, and receive support for, their experience of sexual assault. They have the right to be provided with a safe and supportive environment that allows them to do so:

  • Research indicates that up to 85% of sexual assaults go unreported to police.
  • Victim/survivors also face difficulties in disclosing sexual assault to friends and family members, especially when the offender is a friend or family member.

Including details for sexual assault services lets victim/survivors know that assistance is available if they choose to seek help.

Solution

Avoid presentinginformation on sexual violence in a way that is likely to upset or re-traumatise victims/survivors of sexual assault.

Solution

Provide contact details for support and counselling services when reporting on sexual assault.