Police launch sexual violence awareness campaign

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The NSW Police Force has launched a five-week campaign to raise awareness into the issue of sexual violence.

The campaign ‘Sexual assault – it’s a crime’ was developed by the State Crime Command’s Sex Crime Squad to generate conversation about sexual violence and encourage victims to report incidents to police or provide information via the Sexual Assault Reporting Option (SARO).

A new sexual violence-related poster will be released each week from today (Friday, May 5) until Friday, June 2, with artwork also available for download on the NSW Police Force Facebook page.

In addition, specialist police will facilitate Q&A sessions on Facebook Live to provide an insight into various issues surrounding sexual violence throughout the campaign.

State Crime Command’s Serious Crime Director, Detective Chief Superintendent John Kerlatec, said sexual violence is one of the most under-reported crimes in NSW.

“Australian victimisation studies suggest that only 15 percent of sexual violence incidents are reported to police, which is extremely concerning,” Det Ch Supt Kerlatec said.

“Our campaign is aimed at raising awareness of what constitutes sexual violence, and by generating conversation, we hope to force the issue into the public arena.

“We believe that breaking the taboo surrounding sexual violence can help remove the shame or embarrassment for victims and ultimately make them feel comfortable to report it to police.”

Research indicates that one in four Australian women and one in 10 Australian men have experienced sexual violence of some kind during their life.

“Many people aren’t even aware that any form of unwanted sexual contact is sexual violence and it’s a crime,” Det Ch Supt Kerlatec said.

“The key word is unwanted – it can include touching through to sexual assault, as well as sexual acts conducted in a victim’s presence.

“There is no excuse for this type of behaviour and it’s time for the whole community to stand up and say it won’t be tolerated at any time.

“Our priority will always be the health and well-being of victims, but it’s only when we know it is occurring that we can help someone and put an end to the violence,” Det Ch Supt Kerlatec said.

Always call Triple Zero (000) to report sexual violence if you have fears for your own, or somebody else’s, immediate safety.

Information about sexual violence incidents may be provided by completing and submitting the SARO form: http://www.police.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0013/224014/SARO_Form_200213.pdf.

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