Sexual Assault/Abuse

What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault can be defined as any unwanted sexual activity that a person has not consented to or not been able to give consent to. It refers to a broad range of sexual behaviours that make the victim feel uncomfortable, frightened or threatened. Sexual assault includes any sexual activity carried out against the will of a person through the use of violence, coercion or intimidation.

This may include:

  • Someone exposing themselves to others
  • Unwanted sexual touch
  • Exposure to pornography
  • Sexual harassment
  • Exposure to masturbation or coerced to masturbate
  • Coerced or forced to perform any sexual acts on themselves or others.

What is sexual abuse?

Sexual abuse occurs when someone in a position of power and authority over another (adult or child) takes advantage of that person’s trust and respect to involve them in a sexual activity.

“If I have been sexually assaulted, or know someone who has what can I do?”

Call 000 if emergency care is needed. If emergency care is not needed, contact your GP or local Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC).

Allambee Counselling is the local SARC service for the Peel region. For specialised counselling services during business hours contact Allambee on 9535 8263 or email help@allambee.org.au.

If you require support after business hours please contact the Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC) 24 hour emergency line on 1800 199 888. The Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC) is the emergency sexual assault (rape crisis) services for Perth, Western Australia.

For more information about SARC, click here.

Additional information:
Caring for Yourself: A Guide to Recovery following Sexual Assault is available on the SARC website.

The impact of sexual assault

Someone who has been sexually assaulted may experience a whole range of reactions and feelings. Although these reactions are often very distressing, they are normal for someone who has experienced a traumatic event. Each individual may experience different reactions with either short term or long term consequences. Common feelings and reactions include:

  • Feeling shock, disbelief or denial
  • Feelings of shame, embarrassment or guilt
  • Feeling afraid, fearful of being alone
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Nightmares or flashbacks
  • Feelings of sadness, emptiness, or worthlessness
  • Feeling angry
  • Concentration difficulties or not able to think clearly
  • Anxiety or panic attacks
  • Loss of confidence
  • Physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach aches, nausea, fatigue, loss of appetite
  • Feeling alone or isolated or like no one else can understand
  • Being unable to stop thinking about the assault
  • Difficulty trusting people
  • Not wanting to be touched by anyone
  • Feeling differently about sex

Reporting the crime

Sexual assault is known to be an under reported crime. Following a sexual assault people experience a range of feelings and reactions and many people do not report sexual assaults due to emotions such as fear, shame and self-blame. Concerns about reprisals, medical and legal procedures, social attitudes and responses from family and friends may also prevent someone from seeking the help they need. Talking to a professional can help you work through the different feelings and reactions you are experiencing. You can also talk through what happens if you report the assault to the Police.

For more information about what to expect from the reporting process contact Allambee Counselling during office hours on 9535 8263 or after business hours contact SARC 24 hour service on 1800 199 888.

Additional information can be found at:
Have you been sexually assaulted or sexually abused? – Services A – Z – Women and Newborn Health Service

Getting Help

REMEMBER: The assault was NOT your fault! You may experience strong feelings after such a traumatic event and it may take time to heal. Friends and family can help support you through your recovery. Remember too that there is always somewhere you can go for help and support. Talking to a professional can help you find ways to cope with what has happened. If you or someone you care about has experienced a sexual assault, contact a GP or professional service for help.

Contact Allambee Counselling Inc during office hours for specialised counseling services on 9535 8263 or at help@allambee.org.au.

The Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC) is the emergency sexual assault (rape crisis) services for Perth, Western Australia. SARC 24 hour emergency 1800 199 888. For more information about SARC, click here.