What is sexual violence?
Sexual violence is any unwanted sexual behaviour towards another person. It can happen in public, private or institutional settings and can be carried out by people known to the victim (including family members, partners or former partners) or by strangers.
Sexual violence can happen to anyone, regardless of their age or gender, and it can have lifelong impacts on people who experience it. It is important to recognise that many people take a long time—sometimes decades—to disclose sexual violence and many people will never make a formal report. Often victims and survivors of sexual violence won’t talk about their experiences because they fear not being believed.
What can you do?
If you have contact with a person who discloses that they have experienced sexual violence, it is important to respond in a way that makes them feel believed, supported, and that they have a say in what happens next.
Adults who have experienced sexual violence
If an adult tells you they have experienced sexual violence recently or in the past:
- listen without judgement and let them know that you believe them
- make sure they have a safe place to go to and have someone who can support them
- let them know about the Sexual Assault Helpline (1800 010 120 from 7.30am to 11.30pm, 7 days a week) and specialist support services in their area
- provide information on their options for making a police report
- let them know about the Sexual Assault Disclosure Scheme (for survivors of historical child sexual assault).
If the person has recently experienced sexual assault, you should also support them to access help for any medical needs or injuries by calling an ambulance on Triple Zero (000) or recommend they go to the emergency department at their local hospital.
Children who have experienced sexual violence
If you suspect a child is experiencing, or is at risk of, sexual abuse, contact:
- Child Safety Services on 13 QGOV (13 74 68)
- Child Safety After Hours Service Centre on 1800 177 135 (24 hours a day)
- your local police station about criminal matters related to child sexual abuse
- ChildWise National Child Abuse Prevention Helpline on 1800 991 099.
Visit the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women website to find out more about the Queensland Government’s sexual violence prevention policies, including the:
- Queensland Government’s Prevent. Support. Believe. Queensland’s Framework to address Sexual Violence
- current review of consent in rape and sexual assault
- current initiatives addressing sexual violence and youth sexual violence.