Policing just outcomes: improving the police response to adults reporting sexual assault

Assault and battery Australia Victoria

This report identifies failures in Victoria Police's handling of sexual assault cases, and recommends reforms.

Executive summary

The prevalence of sexual assault and its consequent harm to both individual victims and society as a whole has now been widely researched, documented and recognised in Western jurisdictions for generations. In particular, policing of this gendered5 crime has been the subject of many research endeavours and police organisations have increasingly opened their doors to academics and other researchers in pursuit of evidence-based knowledge that will assist them to enhance their training, investigations and Brief preparations in this respect. Victoria Police has been among the foresighted police organisations in this regard over the past several years.

This report is the result of one major research endeavour concerning reports of sexual assault made by adults and the related police response, investigation and management involving Edith Cowan University in partnership with Victoria Police. This study was designed in terms of three strands, each of which incorporated a number of interrelated research programs. Strand one focused on victims/survivors and it proceeded through the use of an online survey and interviews of adult victims/survivors as well as focus groups and interviews of police officers in the State of Victoria and rape crisis counsellors from Centres Against Sexual Assault located across Victoria. Strand two focused on police decision-making processes and police networking in relation to complaints of sexual assault by adults. It proceeded through close reading of Victoria Police operational case files, individual interviews and focus groups involving police, and a focus group of Office of Public Prosecutions personnel. Strand three focused on the management of the police response and the recruitment, training and development of police for the specialist role of sexual assault policing. It proceeded through the use of strand two methods, as well as observation of Victoria Police training courses, police trainee feedback sheets and online survey, and interview of trainers in relation to the specialist sexual assault policing role.

Authored by S. Caroline Taylor AM, Professor David Bradley, Dr. Shane D Muldoon and Dr. Caroline Norma.

Publication Details
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