The number of Sexual assault victims increased by 8% across Australia (2017).
Royal Commission in child sexual abuse
On 12 November 2012, Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced a nationwide Royal Commission into the sexual abuse of children in institutions. The Prime Minister has stated that she hopes the Terms of Reference will be developed and the appointment of a Royal Commissioner or Commissioners will be announced by the end of the year.
More information is available from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. If you would like your details passed onto the Royal Commission, leave your email or postal address by phone on 1800 099 340 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have been affected or would like information, referrals and support about sexual abuse please contact the relevant helpline on the left-hand side of this page.
“The Association exists to advance the interests of people victimised by crime and encourage the development of support services throughout Australia, whilst striving towards a crime free society.”
- Encourage and assist development of consistent, high quality, equitable and accessible support services for people victimised by crime throughout Australia.
- Promote fair and equal recognition of the rights and interests of people victimised by crime.
- Promote legislative and other reforms throughout the criminal justice system that reflect the rights and interests of people victimised by crime.
- Promote initiatives by individuals, communities and other agencies to improve responses to people victimised by crime.
- Consult with and foster co-operation between victim support services throughout Australia.
- Promote education and awareness; undertake, facilitate and encourage debate and research of issues that impact upon people victimised by crime.
- Act as the peak body for member crime victim services in Australia.
- Encourage and promote consistent and high quality standards in the delivery of services to crime victims throughout Australia.
- Provide opportunities for the exchange of experience, information and resources between victim service organisations in Australia.
- Make representations on behalf of victim support services to government regarding legislative policy and services involving victims of crime.
- Provide information and advice to individuals and groups planning to organise support services for victims of crime throughout Australia where such services do not exist.
- Publish and distribute reports, leaflets and other literature relating to the support services required by victims of crime at a national and international level.
Help For Victims of Crime
Many people have experience of crime in one way or another. They may have experienced a crime directly. It may have been a property crime like burglary or theft of a motor vehicle. It may have been a personal crime such as assault or armed robbery. Or they may be close to someone who has experienced something like this. The community as a whole could be said to be victimised by crime as it impacts on our environment, our quality of life, and involves both direct and indirect cost.
This website aims to give you simple but comprehensive information about crime, its impact and sources of support and advice.
Advice for Family and Friends
Often family and friends are called in suddenly to support someone who is a victim of crime or has witnessed a crime. Under these circumstances, it is often difficult to know what to do and, indeed, what not to do. There are also people who may have to be given extra consideration because of their special needs. The list given here is necessarily brief but will give you some ideas about how you go about giving support. Many of the agencies listed in the Client Contacts list will support you too and can give referral advice. You don’t have to carry the whole burden.
- Try to be calm and competent. You are there to support and help. This is most important where there has been violence and the victim is very distraught. But do not assume that external calm means the victim is not upset. Reassure him/her that they are not to blame for what happened. Don’t judge.
- Be patient, listen carefully and allow emotional responses to happen. The most important thing you need to do is just be there. Listen and sit with the victim while the emotional outpouring is happening. There may be a lot of grief, anger or other emotion expressed. Don’t take this personally.
- Help the victim to feel safe. Reassure him/her, if possible, that there is no further danger. Where there is still a need for protection, ensure that police are aware of this and that the victim is in a safe place.
- Be willing to spend as much time as needed with the victim. Your support may be needed over quite long periods of time. Be clear about what you can offer but make sure you ask him/her what they need, and that they do not feel they are imposing on anyone. But ensure they have private time too.
- However distraught the person is, it is still their life and they are in charge and therefore need to be consulted on any decisions that are being made. Try not to ‘take over’. However, you may have to act as the ‘go-between’ with police, medical staff and others. Keep the victim involved.
- Ask if you can help with the children in any way. They’ll need comfort too.
- Help with practical tasks eg, cleaning, cooking, etc. – but be careful as these things can actually keep the person sane and anchored to daily life.
- Don’t tell them they are “lucky it wasn’t worse” or “you’ll get over it”. Traumatised people are not consoled by such statements and, for some crimes, there is an ever present memory. Instead let them know you are sorry the event occurred and you want to understand and assist them. Remember that anniversaries of birthdays, weddings, or of the crime itself can be very difficult indeed.
- Ask the victim if he/she would like you to act as a ‘go between’ with the media. They should respect the victim’s privacy if he/she does not wish to talk, and go away when asked.
Remember too that if the case does proceed to court this can be a long process. The victim will continue to need your support through this process and especially afterwards.
The Impact of Crime
Regardless of whether you have experienced the theft or damage of your property, suffered a violent attack, had someone close to you hurt or killed, or witnessed some other crime or incident, the impact can produce a variety of emotions and reactions in you and those close to you, including any children.
Dealing not only with the immediate effects of the crime (eg., replacing stolen articles, fixing damaged property, arranging and receiving medical treatment or making funeral arrangements), but with your own emotions and thoughts can leave you feeling confused and exhausted. For some, it may seem as though the incident produces very little impact. Don’t be surprised though if the impact of the crime takes quite some time to surface.
Crime affects people in many ways and what you experience will be different to those of other victims of crime, and can even vary from day to day. The impact will also vary and fluctuate over time. You may feel that on certain days you are coping, and on other days you will feel you are unable to deal with even normal daily activities. You may find that a memory or an event will trigger off emotions felt during or immediately after the crime. However, the discomfort felt by these memories will diminish over time.
Victims of crime have also found that they have had problems with making decisions, problem solving, disturbing dreams, and concentrating. You could also have difficulty in expressing yourself clearly and feeling that no one can understand what you are going through.
These lists in no way indicate the likelihood of you not recovering from the impact of the crime, but they can give you reassurance that these emotions and reactions, although unique to you, have been experienced by others in similar situations.
The incident which occurred to you may fade as a memory. Very many people continue with their daily lives and, even after a life changing experience, many find new hope again. For some this journey is very long. Go easy on yourself.