Sexual Assault FAQ's

Do I need a referral?

To speak with a counsellor you do not need a referral you can call the centre and ask to speak to a counsellor.

Does it matter how long its been?

You can speak with one of our qualified counsellors about childhood sexual abuse or a sexual assault when you are ready, it doesn’t matter how long ago the abuse occurred.

Contact the women’s centre

Will my information be confidential?

This is perhaps the most important aspect of counselling for many people. Although we make every effort to maintain privacy of information there are exceptions which are as follows.

  • You agree to information being shared. For example mitigating circumstances applications or liaison with other support teams that you are involved with.
  • The counsellor feels strongly that you are in danger of seriously harming yourself or others.
  • The counsellor is required by a court of law to share information.
  • Child Protection Issues or Acts of Terrorism are disclosed.

If confidentiality needs to be broken we will, as far as possible, discuss it with the client first. As part of our work we write brief case notes and attend regular counselling supervision.

Are the staff qualified?

The women’s centre employs a range of staff that provide counselling. Many staff providing counselling will have the title of 'counsellor', although this will usually be in specific area of counselling. Qualifications include tertiary level qualifications in social work, psychology, and the social sciences.

Do I have to report it to the police?

You do not have to report the crime to police. The Women’s Centre can provide you with the support you need to report the sexual assault to police if you choose to, or provide you with the information you need to decide about whether you would like to report to police.

What happens if I have a forensic examination?

At a hospital you can have a forensic examination which is a medical examination that can only be conducted by specially trained doctors and nurses. Its purpose is to collect any physical evidence that may be used as evidence against the accused if criminal charges are laid. You can request that a person of your choice - such as a friend or social worker to support you during the examination.

It is important that victims of sexual assault seek medical assistance to treat any physical or psychological injuries, regardless of whether the assault was recent or occurred some time ago.

The victim of a recent sexual assault should seek immediate medical assistance.

Medical care can involve dealing with the psychological impact of sexual assault, physical injuries, any concerns about pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections, and possible forensic examinations (to collect any physical evidence that may be used if criminal charges are laid). Please note that morning after pills are most effective taken within 72 hours of the assault.

Victims of sexual assault should ideally have a forensic medical examination within 72 hours of a sexual assault, but it can be done up to a week after

What are my rights?

The doctor must provide an explanation of the nature of the forensic examination prior to obtaining any consent for the examination. The forensic examination consists of obtaining a history as to the nature of the assault, physical examination and interpretation of injuries and the collection of forensic evidence. As the history taking is an integral part of the forensic

Victims compensation

A victim of crime is defined under the Victims of Crime Assistance Act 2009 as anyone who has been injured by an act of violence committed against them in Queensland (s27).

An injury can be physical or psychological.

A victim of crime is eligible to receive financial assistance from Victim Assist Queensland to help in the recovery from the act of violence.

An act of violence is a crime or a series of related crimes, committed by one or more people in Queensland (s25). An example of a related crime is two or more crimes that have been committed by the same person over a period of time.

The Act defines an injury as:

  • Bodily harm.
  • Mental illness or disorder.
  • Intellectual impairment.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Disease.
  • The impact of sexual offence; or
  • A combination of the above.

For further information see www.justice.qld.gov.au or contact the women’s centre

Can I stop coming to counselling at any time?

You can stop counselling at any time, but preferably having discussed it with your counsellor first.

How long might I need to go to counselling?

Counselling can take place over a few weeks or months – or sometimes only one session! It is all up to the client and counsellor. When they feel like things have been properly addressed, the counselling will end.

The client has the right to end counselling at any time. If they do not feel comfortable with the counsellor, they can end the counselling right from the start. Counsellors understand that sometimes people are not suited to one another, or to a style of counselling, and so they will not take it personally if there is a request to see someone else.

Do I need to live in Townsville to get help?

We are funded to provide Sexual assault support services to Women in Townsville and the North Queensland region. If you are outside this area, contact a support service in your area

Sexual Assault Support Services Queensland

http://www.noviolence.com.au/supportsa.html

Sexual Assault Support Services Australia

http://www.aifs.gov.au/acssa/crisis.html

Queensland Statewide Sexual Assault Helpline on 1800 010 120 (Free Call).

This is a free confidential service open 7.30am to 11.30pm, 7 days a week.

I am a male and I have been sexually assaulted. Can you help me?

Where appropriate, adult men will be provided with initial support, information and referral to services that meet their needs.

How much will it cost?

All services at the Women’s Centre are free including the counselling

Crisis numbers

24hr telephone support services available include:

DV Connect

1800 811 811

Homeless Persons
Information Centre

1800 474 753

Lifeline

131 114

Sexual Assault Helpline

1800 010 120 (until 11.30pm)

National Sexual Assault,
Domestic Family Violence
Counselling Service

1800 010 120 (1800 RESPECT)