Sexual abuse is a distressing and traumatic experience that can leave long-lasting damaging effects, like PTSD, anxiety, and depression. It is important to understand and keep in mind that sexual assault is never the fault of the victim. In the case of sexual abuse or sexual assault, a person has no control over the situation or what happens to their body, so taking a non-judgemental approach is vital.
To fight against sexual abuse, arm yourself with sexual abuse lawyers from Perth. The entire journey finding justice for your violation can be long, upsetting and confusing. With the help of a guide, you can compensate yourself appropriately and seek justice against the perpetrator. Sexual assault reports are always far lower than the actual number of assaults committed, because victims end up blaming themselves for what has happened, and do not report the assault. A lot of times victims are scared of the stigma they might have to face. If you do file a report, lawyers and attorneys will do everything in their power to help you.
Understanding sexual abuse
Sexual abuse is most often referred to as children being forced or coerced into engaging in sexual acts by an adult. But sexual abuse can also extend to adults, and that is where it is interchangeable with the term ‘sexual assault.’ Sexual abuse implies that it is over a period of time and sexual behavior is being used to emotionally or psychologically manipulate the victim or vice versa. Sexual assault normally refers to a single act of sexual violation. Sexual abuse and assault are always exclusively violence, it can never be considered a legitimate expression of a person’s love, affection or even sexuality.
Sexual abuse or assault is the behavior of a sexual nature that makes a person feel threatened, frightened or intimidated. It is behavior that is unwanted and has not been consented to where the perpetrator uses emotional, psychological or physical forms of coercion. It occurs far more frequently than people are aware of, and this is because the majority of sexual abuse victims do not report it to the police. Sexual assault can involve anything from sexual harassment to rape.
In Australia, every person above the age of 16 can give consent to sexual activity and must be able to consent to the sexual activity on their own terms. Free agreement is negated by factors such as age, intellectual ability, threats, fraud, and use of force or effects of drugs or alcohol. In many states, it is recognized that people who are significantly intoxicated cannot consent to sex.
Here is how you go about reporting a sexual assault case.
Reporting a sexual assault to the police
A lot of times people are usually unsure about how to report, in these cases, you can speak to the police informally either over the telephone or in person.
- The police will inform you about the options you have, but will not take action unless you explicitly want them to.
- You can make an informal report where the police write down what happened, and you sign a statement saying that you do not want the matter investigated any further.
- Your second option is to make a formal statement. This means a full report of the incident is recorded and signed by you if and when you are satisfied with the details of the report
- A report can take up to several hours to finish. The police will then investigate the incident. On the off chance, you change your mind, you have to inform the police immediately
- However, once the police have charged the perpetrator, you cannot withdraw your statement
During the investigation, the police might need to ask you to take them to the place where you were assaulted so they can gather evidence. This can bring back traumatic memories but you will need to pull through with it so they can sufficiently investigate all the evidence needed. They will also have to interview any witnesses to the assault.
The court process
In Western Australia, sexual assault and sexual abuse are classified as ‘crimes against the state’. What this means is that the police and the Director of Public Prosecutions decide whether they have enough evidence to prove ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ that the crime has been perpetrated. Making a formal statement to the police makes you become a witness to the crime.
It is up to the police or the Director of Public Prosecutions to decide whether they have enough evidence to ‘press charges’. It is important to remember that if the police do not press charges it does not mean that they do not believe you, but rather that there was not enough evidence for charges to be laid. Situations like these can leave people feeling disillusioned and denied justice, and it is important to talk to someone in these situations.
Trials normally take place in the District Court, unless the perpetrator is underage. It can take anywhere up to 2 years between the time of the initial report to the police and the trial. It is important to understand that even though it can be a confusing and frightening experience, you should report, regardless of whether or not there is enough evidence.
Getting a lawyer
This has to be the most important part of the legal proceedings. In some cases, there may not be enough evidence to charge the perpetrator, but with a good personal injury lawyer Perth, you can be assured that they will gather all the information and evidence they can find to make a case against the accused.
Do not be afraid to speak out or get help because even if you believe you can handle it on your own, getting a competent lawyer can put the odds in your favor. If you want to file a report, be sure to consult an attorney.