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.