Reporting a crime

You may wonder whether you should report the crime to the police.

Ideally a report should be made as soon as reasonably practicable after the crime occurs. This enables the police to investigate the crime before valuable evidence is lost or destroyed. Early reporting also enables police to protect you and others who may be in danger. The report will also help to identify any pattern of crime in the area, which can help in crime prevention.

Reporting a crime protects your present and future rights, as well as those of the general community. Timely reporting and cooperating in the police investigation process are important factors if you are likely to pursue a claim for victims compensation.

Police always encourage victims of crime to report their matter.  It is however, your decision whether or not to report a crime. 

Some common concerns people have about reporting to police include:

    • feeling embarrassed
    • fear of not being believed
    • thinking what happened was not a serious crime
    • fear of revenge from the offender or others
    • not wanting to get the offender into trouble
    • loss of privacy
    • fear of becoming involved in a lengthy and ardouous legal process. 

If these are some of the reasons why you are hesitating to report to police, it may help to speak to someone to get more information and find out if these concerns can be addressed. Steps can be taken to protect witnesses and it is only if crimes are reported that action can be taken to stop the offender.

The police can sometimes help with these issues.  Police may arrange for a Police Victim Contact Officer to provide you with assistance and information regarding the reporting and investigation of crimes. Police officers specially trained in the fields of family violence and sexual assault are also available on request to assist you.

Services such as Victim Support Service, Yarrow Place Rape and Sexual Assault Service, Child Protection Services and the Legal Services Commission can also assist.

 Recording the effects of crime

You may later be asked about the injuries and losses that you have experienced as a result of the crime.  You may therefore find it helpful to begin recording details about your injuries, losses or feelings, or ask someone to help you do this (please see Where can I get help?.  You may have photographs that could be useful. This might also be your first step in preparing a Victim impact statement.  If your case goes to court and the accused is found guilty, your Victim impact statement is a way of telling the court what you experienced as a result of the crime.