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Please note that Living Well is an Australian service, and the below information is relevant to residents of Queensland, Australia. If you are located in another country, there are some links in the comments, otherwise please check out some of the other worldwide services online.

Sexual abuse prosecution

Are you considering prosecution?

If you have experienced childhood sexual abuse or sexual assault, then it is almost inevitable that at some point the question will arise as to whether you wish to make a formal complaint, in order to have the person who abused or assaulted you prosecuted. Below is some information about contacting police, making a formal complaint and the prosecution process in Queensland.

You may also be interested to know that, should you decide that you don’t wish to make a formal complaint at present, there are still things you can do to help others and prevent someone committing further offences.

Reporting to police: It’s your decision

You may feel pressure from family members or friends to report (or not report) child sexual abuse or sexual assault. You are the only person who can decide whether or not to report to the police. Most people have mixed feelings about it. It can be useful to discuss any concerns you have with a supportive person, a counsellor or someone who knows about making a complaint to police and the prosecution process.

Police and health workers recognise just how difficult it can be to make a formal complaint regarding childhood sexual abuse or sexual assault and are specifically trained to assist you. You may feel it is important to do your best to have the person/s who committed the offences held to account and stopped from doing it to anyone else. You should also be aware that Queensland Police Service has a special unit, Taskforce Argos, who specifically deal with sexual offences committed 10, 20, 30, 40 or even 50 years ago.

It’s never too late.

Childhood sexual abuse or sexual assault often involve taking away a person’s sense of control and choice, so it is important now that you feel in control and free to decide what action you wish to take. Provided below is some information regarding prosecution and court processes and the options available to you in making a formal complaint to police.

What to expect from the judicial system

Going to court in Queensland: Visit the Queensland Department of Justice and Attorney General Website for comprehensive information regarding what you can expect as a witness, how the court operates, your rights and responsibilities, how to make a victim impact statement, and victim compensation.

Going to court in Victoria: Victims of Crime is an interactive web resource to learn about keeping safe, the court process, your rights and entitlements, and who can help you along the way. It includes videos, surveys and games.

 

If you are unsure about making a complaint

If you are unsure about making a complaint right now but wish for important information about a sexual abuse or sexual assault to be passed on, you can make an informal complaint through alternative reporting options (ARO) in your state. “Alternative reporting options” is a term for making a report to police without making a complaint (or “pressing charges”) against the offender, which means you do not need to go to court. You can make your report anonymously and help to prevent further assaults, and bring those perpetrating sexual offences to account. Visit the QLD alternative reporting options website or learn more about AROs in Australia.

Making a complaint to the police

Formally reporting something to the police is called making a complaint. If you make a complaint you will be asked about the assault, and the police officer will type up what you say. The officer will need to know as many details as you can remember. If you find that telling the details becomes too distressing you may call an end to the interview if you wish. Police policy has been changed to minimise the number of times you have to tell the story to different police officers.

Making a statement

If you decide to make a complaint to the police, you will have to make a statement. You may ask to talk to either a man or woman police officer, and the police service will try to meet this request. As far as possible, the police must accommodate your wishes as to when and where the interview takes place. You are entitled to have a support person present at the interview.

The police must try to safeguard your privacy and anonymity as far as possible. In rural areas and close-knit communities, privacy and anonymity can be a problem. Tell the police about your concerns. You may want to ask that police officers from another town take the statement and investigate the offence. It’s up to the police whether they agree, but police policy does state that such situations must be dealt with ‘in a highly sensitive manner’.

What is a statement?

The statement itself is a typed record of events before, during and after the child sexual abuse or assault. It will also contain your description of the offender and any conversation that took place. The police will ask you to tell what happened in your own words, and ask you questions so that important details are not left out. You may be asked questions that you find embarrassing to answer. However police officers should never ask questions such as: ‘Did you enjoy it?’. If they do, it is your right to complain about it. Afterwards you will be asked to sign each page. Your statement will be used in court as the basis of the case against the suspect. It is very important that you read it carefully and correct any errors before you sign. There are a number of different ways to make a statement. In some areas, your statement may be taped or videotaped, as well as being written down. You do not have to agree to this.

Remembering details

Stress or shock can sometimes make people uncertain about exactly what happened. If this happens, let the police know. Many people find that they remember more details of an event after they have been written down. If you remember something that you did not tell the police, call them and let them know. The information may be useful. It is also common to remember details a little differently later on. If this happens, tell the police officer in charge, or the prosecutor, who will decide whether it is important. If they decide it is important they will ask you to make a further statement.

Getting a copy of your statement

Although you will not have to repeat your statement word for word in court, you will be expected to give an account that is similar to your statement. You have a right to a copy of your statement, and it is very important that you get one. If the police don’t give you one, ask for it.

Second thoughts

If you do not wish to proceed with further police action after charges have been laid, you will need to give police a brief statement to this effect. You should inform the police of your wishes as soon as possible.

The police should tell you that the case could still go ahead, and that you may be called as a witness. They should check that the suspect hasn’t put any pressure on you to withdraw the case.

Help in dealing with the police

There may be many barriers to communicating with the police, but there is assistance available to you:

  • If English is not your first language you have the right to an interpreter. The police will organise one for you for when you make your statement or they may use a telephone interpreting service to translate what you say.
  • If you are Deaf or hard of hearing the police will provide an interpreter for you.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community liaison officers are employed to foster mutual understanding between the police and Aboriginal communities. If you identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, the police may contact the liaison officer in your area to help explain your legal rights and talk to police and government agencies on your behalf.
  • There are gay and lesbian police liaison officers across the state who can help you with support and advice. Call the police switchboard and ask for the gay and lesbian liaison officer at your local police station. The role is additional to their other police duties, so you may need to persevere to contact them.

Have questions or concerns about sexual abuse prosecution in Australia? Let us know in the comments section below.

 

Useful links

If you would like to know more about the process of reporting to police in your state, or whom to get in contact with, we’ve collected some useful links here. This info will help you to get in touch with the relevant department of your state police service, or your government funded “Victims of Crime” service. Both are pledged to support you through this.

Queensland Police Service   Adult sexual assault program
  Reporting sexual assault to police
Victim Assist Queensland   Support for victims of crime
  Sexual abuse and assault
Support Services Sexual Assault Disclosure Scheme: National alternative reporting option supporting adult survivors in their disclosures to police
  Adult Survivors of Childhood Abuse Helpline: 1800 657 380

Other states

New South Wales

 
  NSW Police: Adult sexual assault
  NSW Victims Services: Sexual assault
Victoria  
  VIC Police: Sexual assault
  VIC Victims of Crime: Sexual assault
South Australia  
  SA Police
  SA Victim Support Service
Western Australia  
  WA Police: Sexual Assault
  WA Victims of Crime: Sexual Assault
Northern Territory  
  NT Police: Report sexual assault
  NT Victims of Crime
Australian Capital Territory      
  ACT Police
  ACT Victims of Crime
Tasmania  
  TAS Police
  TAS Victims Support Services

 
Acknowledgements: This page was developed with reference to NSW Rape Crisis Information Sheet – ‘Reporting to Police’.

 

105 comments

  1. Comment by Anonymous

    Anonymous Reply June 20, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    It’s impossible to find information like this anywhere, its ****ing invaluable thankyou

    • Comment by robbie

      robbie Reply November 1, 2015 at 1:18 pm

      this is crazy. the big guys always win. …………cops

    • Comment by Patricia

      Patricia Reply January 26, 2016 at 8:49 am

      I was abused when I was young in the care section. it’s taken me a long time to talk TO someone I trust.

      • Comment by rae

        rae Reply June 15, 2016 at 9:31 am

        Hi Patricia I also was abused at a young age for a number of yrs an have told ppl im wanting to charge this person but I’m scared

        • Comment by JB

          JB Reply March 22, 2017 at 1:15 pm

          Me too. Is anyone getting a cash settlement out of it? I could use the name of a good lawyer.

    • Comment by amelee

      amelee Reply August 5, 2016 at 1:10 am

      My daughter was molested by her grandfather when she was only 8 years old. I just found out what happened to her. She’s now 26, but she been carrying that on her chest for the past 18 years. One night she was drunk and she started telling me what happened with her grandpa, and how he always manipulated her not to say anything. Now she doesn’t want me to say anything. I have a new born granddaughter, and I don’t want anything to happen to her. What do I do!!!!!!! Help me!!!!!!

      • Comment by Kyrah

        Kyrah Reply January 12, 2017 at 10:28 am

        Hi Amelee, my name is Kyrah. I’m 16 and I was sexually abused for 10 years of my life. I’m in the process of pressing charges against my abuser, and honestly it is hard to do. but seriously, when you can write down your statement, instead of talking aloud, it makes it so much easier. I have made 2 statements and I never have to go back. anyone who is a victim of child abuse, or just simply abuse, it is so worth putting the person who caused you so much pain away.

        • Comment by Julian

          Julian Reply March 9, 2017 at 6:53 am

          I have a similar case with my daughter. She’s 19 years old and just now told me about her grandfather my dad and what he had done to her. My emotions are all up and down about this and we have not told anyone about it we’re just helping each other get through from day today. It’s hard for me to believe that my dad would do this to my daughter but my daughter has firmly told me if I don’t believe her then she’s done with me. Please tell us what we can do and we can get past this

          • Comment by C

            C Reply March 23, 2017 at 3:55 am

            Just believe her. It wasn’t her fault. No matter what, it wasn’t her fault.
            “The Courage To Heal” is a great resource for survivors and their family/spouses. I highly recommend.

            • Comment by Heart Broken

              Heart Broken October 1, 2017 at 3:44 pm

              I’m Going through the same horrible situation, in my case my father molested 2 of my 5 daughters and attempted with my youngest. Monday morning we have court plea agreement signing… the system is seriously f*****d up!!!!

        • Comment by Bonnie

          Bonnie Reply May 3, 2017 at 9:06 am

          Did the investigation take long

      • Comment by Kyrah

        Kyrah Reply January 12, 2017 at 10:32 am

        I forgot to add that I was also abused by my grandfather, from the ages of 4 through till 14. I know what it’s like for your daughter to not know how to tell someone. you’re afraid no one will believe you or that it’s so embarrassing, but it really isn’t. I can’t go through all of what happened, I only remember bits and pieces as I blocked all my memories from my childhood. I can remember from when I’m 12 but not much before that.

        • Comment by bernie

          bernie Reply January 17, 2017 at 10:15 am

          i was abused by my elder brother when i was 13
          the details of the experience are quite clear but the relative dates and time seem to get blurred we do block memories and they do fade..

          • Comment by Heart Broken

            Heart Broken Reply October 1, 2017 at 3:46 pm

            Was it hard for you to deal with it? My daughters went/are going through the same horrible situation.

      • Comment by Debbie

        Debbie Reply April 25, 2017 at 4:41 pm

        Amelee your story could of been written by me. My daughter was abused by my father. After a drunken night she told me. She was 18 at the time. She didn’t want to report it or even let her dad know what’s happened. Fast foward 9 years and after getting married having 2 daughters herself she has now reported it all to the police. Her husband cannot understand why it wasn’t reported 9 years ago. I’m on the verge of loosing my daughter and both my granddaughters. This is absolutely horrible. My advice to you is report it to the police I’m sure if she doesn’t want to she doesn’t have to press charges.
        Best of luck to you and I hope you don’t get pushed out like I have.

    • Comment by james

      james Reply December 20, 2016 at 4:13 pm

      What is one to do when I’ve stumbled upon a elderly man who told a long story about how he molested three different family’s kids. His ex wives kids. As he was speaking I recorded him. He’s 70. Very nice and sweet man or so I thought. Would I be opening old wounds for the adult victims now. Or is it justice. I had no choice. I have 3 son’s and it a single dad.
      I know where he lives. He lives alone. No kids around his life at all. So it mm really stuck on what’s the right thing to do.
      Please reply
      With some insight.

      • Comment by Jess [Living Well Staff]

        Jess [Living Well Staff] Reply January 11, 2017 at 10:35 am

        Hi James,
        It’s hard to say what your options are without knowing where you are based. We are based in QLD, Australia where if you were to take the information you have to the police, they would put it on file for the man. In many cases they would not necessarily press charges unless one of the victims came forward. If they did come forward (or have already), your information could then be used as evidence.
        However it does depend on a number of factors. With this in mind, my suggestion would be to call up your local police station, explain the situation, and ask for their advice. They will be best positioned to tell you what your options are and what the outcome is likely to be.
        I hope that helps. Take care of yourself.

      • Comment by John

        John Reply March 18, 2017 at 3:24 pm

        Talk to ppl first see what they want to do they may not want to relive that

        • Comment by Sissy

          Sissy Reply July 17, 2017 at 5:26 pm

          My brother molested me from age six to age 12. It only stopped because he got sent to a home for stealing etc. He was spoilt rotten the son my dad always wanted, and finally got, after three girls. When my dad realised after I and my three brothers were born he could no longer afford to buy him everything it was too late.

          I tried avoiding being alone with him, I would stay home or go to friend’s rather than be in the car. He would touch me etc. when I was 16 a friend’s friend offered me a lift home from a party one night… he turned down a back road and tried to rape me. I remembered my mum’s words, ‘your shoe is your best weapon.’ I managed to reached down and grab one and hit him you know where. I got out of the car and ran through the bushes to my girlfriend’s place. My dad was on night shift at the mill (my mum died when I was 13, and he was raising us), so my girlfriend’s mum said stay here, and we will ring him in the morning. When he came to collect me, my friend’s mum told him what happened. He was angry. He told me to get in the car; I said I wanted to go to the police. My dad said, ‘No. What will people think?’ He said, ‘you will forget this happened and never talk of it again.’

          I was devastated. It was like he didnt care. I left a year later to go live with my sister in Australia. From then on I never saw my dad or my brother, and my dad died three years later.

          I could have chosen to be a victim but I moved on with my life. I made sure my brother never came near me again, or near my kids. That’s how I dealt with it.

      • Comment by Tara

        Tara Reply March 21, 2017 at 3:16 am

        My experience of sexual abuse was so traumatizing. With that in mind…if the man is still breathing and can interact with anyone, in my eyes he is still possible of causing horrible trauma to someone’s life. It could be a grand child, great grand child, at church, who knows. The fact that he told it still makes me think he still has the mindset. I’m not sure if they ever get over the mindset. The man that molested me said the reason he did it was to prove he could get away with something. That makes no sense to me, and who knows if it’s true. If that is the mindset though, I don’t think it would’ve went away. Also my perpetrator was an Atlanta City police officer, SWAT team member, security guard for a famous man etc. The point is he was very well liked. That made telling… that much more fearful. However he never denied it so I was lucky “if one could say that”. My thoughts on your situation James is to definitely go to the police and ask if they have a sexual crimes detective. Then I would hand over that info (or a copy of it) to them and explain the situation. A sexual abuse or crime investigator is going to be more passionate or sensitive to that kind of information than a regular policeman. I think that might be a place to start, but I am not sure as every location and police precinct is different. Maybe calling the police precinct (I’m in the US so not sure if that is what it is called in your area) and asking if they have someone who is a sexual abuse investigator and talking with them over the phone. Hope that helps, and thank you for caring enough to even want to do the right thing. Those lives he changed forever may just be looking for information such as this. You never know. Saying a prayer for you and those lives he did this to!

      • Comment by Kim Thurgood

        Kim Thurgood Reply January 7, 2018 at 10:54 pm

        James. He was confessing. Are you a mandatory reporter. Imho. We all should be. I am trying to get some courage too.

    • Comment by Trina R Pardee

      Trina R Pardee Reply May 1, 2017 at 5:11 am

      Raped as a child up until I was 15 years old I am 46 now it was my father that did this I also became pregnant when I was 14 and my parents sent me away it has been Court recorder that this has happened he was never prosecuted because I was afraid for my other siblings and he is still doing the same thing that other children can I still prosecute in my live in New York state

  2. Comment by conejo

    conejo Reply June 20, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    I agree with the other commenter. It’s nearly impossible to find information on how filing such a police report may go. I live in America and want to file a report, but have been too scared to do it for many reasons. I’ve been trying for over a year to find information about how the process works just so it will take some of the fear out of it. Even though this information is for Canada, it still helped me. Thank you.

    • Comment by AdiM

      AdiM Reply September 8, 2014 at 10:43 am

      Its not for Canada. It’s Australian

      • Comment by rae

        rae Reply June 15, 2016 at 9:36 am

        Hi could anyone tell me another way I can file a complaint without going to the police, as I feel that 1. They won’t believe me or 2. may think I’m mad.. please help.

        • Comment by Jess [Living Well Staff]

          Jess [Living Well Staff] Reply June 16, 2016 at 3:33 pm

          Hi Rae,

          Thanks for getting in touch with us.

          You can report sexual abuse or sexual assault to the police without asking for an investigation or pressing charges against the abuser. Reporting the abuse does not necessarily mean action will be taken. The police will only investigate with your permission.

          If you do not want action to be taken by the police, reporting the abuse helps to record the crime, which might assist the police with other investigations.

          It might help to talk to a professional about your thoughts and feelings around this. If you are male we can help you through this at Living Well. If you are female, please take a look at our list of sexual assault services in Queensland, or Australia-wide if you are not in QLD.

          Best of luck, Rae.

  3. Comment by Suzanne

    Suzanne Reply June 23, 2015 at 3:55 am

    I was sexually abused by my step father at the age of 13 when I had lived in the Bronx. I am now 50 years of age. I was told that nothing can be done, even back in the day, I think because he was a new York City cop. he has destroyed my life, I been going through therapy for years, now I am also on SSD, can not hold a real job, I also have learning disability.

    It has been bothering me all my life because he is walking the face of the earth laughing and going on with his life like nothing ever happened. I never wanted money I just want him to go to prison for the rest of his life. I also take meds for my depression and anxiety. I hope maybe someone out there can maybe help me after all these years.
    can this sight help me being that I am a woman. thank you

    • Comment by Suzanne

      Suzanne Reply June 23, 2015 at 3:36 am

      can this sight help me being that I am a woman

      • Comment by Jess [Living Well Staff]

        Jess [Living Well Staff] Reply July 3, 2015 at 11:16 am

        Hi Suzanne,
        Thank you for reaching out for support. I know that is not easy to do. Your story is one of amazing strength.

        I’m hearing you have decided to take some action against your step-father. As you guessed, we are a site for men, and in addition we are based in Australia, so unfortunately we cannot help you directly.

        There are services that can, however. RAINN is the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. They have some information about what to expect when you press charges. They also provide a support line on 1.800.656.HOPE, and a list of phone numbers by US state.

        I wish you the best Suzanne. Please continue to take care of yourself.

      • Comment by lisa

        lisa Reply November 10, 2015 at 12:17 am

        Hi suzanne i can relate to your story on many different levels im too embarassed to write it all down here but i live in nyc feel free to contact me and id be glad to help you in any way possible
        Lisa

  4. Comment by Joe R

    Joe R Reply October 4, 2015 at 10:35 am

    Thank you for this site. I was reqgularly abused by my oldest brother between the ages of 7 and 13. The assualt went beyond inappropriate touch and included sodomy and rape. I said nothing because my parents were aware what was happening. I have survived. I am sober. I have never harmed a child.

    But I let my brother go free. He is in his sixties, has children, and taught school for three decades. I have failed to protect others because I was protecting myself. It is time to come forward and say “Enough.” The abuse took place in New York State. My brother lives in Canada as a naturalized citizen. Others have told my that the international boundaries will make the filing of a complaint difficult, more difficult than it already is. Can you point me towards any resources, in the United States or Canada which I might avail myself of as I move forward?

    I am well enough, under the circumstances. But I am not free. Any assistance you can give me is greatly appreciated.

    • Comment by Jess [Living Well Staff]

      Jess [Living Well Staff] Reply October 23, 2015 at 10:15 am

      Hi Joe,

      Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us and trusting us with your enquiry. It takes a great deal of courage to contact services and seek support. I hope you’ve found some of the resources on our website helpful.

      I just want to reflect that it does sound as though you are “living well” in many areas of your life Joe, and I want to commend you for that. Major aspects of moving on include being in touch with what is going on for you, engaging in self care, and living by your values and what you find personally meaningful. I’m guessing you are well on your way in many of those areas.

      However you mentioned there is a part of you that does not feel free… of the past, and of the responsibility you feel you have to bring your brother to account. Please know, Joe, that you are not, nor have you ever been in any way, accountable for your brother’s actions.

      I’m hearing you are now at a place where you feel strong and ready to take some action, and I know that it can take a lot of hard work to get to that stage – of which you can be proud. As you may have noticed, we are based in Australia, but I would like to direct you to our two close partner organisations.

      One is based in the USA and is called 1in6.org
      The other is based in Canada – it is http://www.1in6.ca

      Besides these two services, who specifically support men who have experienced sexual abuse or assault, RAINN have some legal and process information on reporting sexual abuse, as well as National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673)

      Joe I hope this assists you to link in with a support service. If you require any further information please let us know. Best of luck.

  5. Comment by Mick

    Mick Reply October 10, 2015 at 8:30 pm

    I just found this today thanks to good old Facebook I found the guy that molested me when I was 5 he is happily married in North Queensland I have held onto this for 30 years only telling my family 5 years ago as my life has never been what it should be as I have held onto that secret I was ashamed and worried about what my mum thought of me after years of depression tablets in and out of jobs I still struggle to find my place in society I have a son now and I don’t want him to hold onto any secrets as it has messed me up to this day worse thing is my brother got molested from the same guy but he passed away when he was 13 he took that to the grave with him it upsets me to this day I will have to look into this further as I want this guy to suffer the way I have for 30 years

    • Comment by Jess [Living Well Staff]

      Jess [Living Well Staff] Reply October 23, 2015 at 10:29 am

      Mick,
      Thank you for reaching out and sharing your story. It sounds like you have been dealing with this on your own for a long time. That takes remarkable strength, and I’m so pleased you have now reached a place where you feel able to reach out to us and take some further steps towards ‘living well’. I wonder if the rest of our website has been helpful to you, such as the parts on improving your wellbeing or managing difficulties.

      If we can be of any assistance, support or help to you, please do get in touch or give us a call on (07) 3028 4648. You do not need to go through this alone. Help is available.

  6. Comment by alex

    alex Reply October 16, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    I live in NSW, Australia. I need to know, can I charge him now if the abuse happened 10 years ago?

    • Comment by Jess [Living Well Staff]

      Jess [Living Well Staff] Reply October 29, 2015 at 1:30 pm

      Hi Alex,
      There is no limitation period for reporting sexual offences. This means you can report sexual assault or childhood sexual abuse even if it occurred many years ago. You can report straight to the police or to a sexual assault service. The police will decide if a prosecution is possible.
      I would suggest getting in touch with a support service to explore your options. You can give us a call to chat to a Living Well counsellor, or to get a referral to a local service.
      Please take care of yourself through this.

  7. Comment by Anonymous

    Anonymous Reply October 20, 2015 at 7:32 am

    I made a report eight years ago at fifteen againest my step father for sexual abuse nothing was done and it was brushed under the carpet despite a video from my younger sibling stating the same offenses can i got back and make another statement?

    • Comment by Jess [Living Well Staff]

      Jess [Living Well Staff] Reply October 23, 2015 at 10:49 am

      Hi there Anon,
      Thanks for reaching out to us. I’m hearing that you gathered the strength and courage to report your step-father years ago, and nothing happened. I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through all this!
      It looks like you are based in the UK. We are an Australian service so I’m just not sure as to how the legal system works over there. Please consider getting in touch with one of the following services, who may be able to provide you with more relevant information and support:
      The National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC)
      Help for Adult Victims Of Child Abuse (HAVOCA)
      or one of the other services listed on our page worldwide support services online.
      Best of luck!

  8. Comment by Valora

    Valora Reply October 22, 2015 at 10:33 pm

    I reported my uncle for sexual abuse 18 mths ago, this week he was arrested. I am all over the place at the moment, consumed with wanting information and feeling my rights and power have once again been taken from me. I wish i had found this site before. I am looking for information on the next step. I cant think of anything else and nobody understands how consuming this is right now. i have an amazing counselor and my parents are learning to support but out of hours i am alone, so alone.

  9. Comment by Love

    Love Reply October 29, 2015 at 6:48 am

    As a young nine year old little girl by my mom’s boyfriend. At thirteen he tried to sexually abuse me. I told my mother. She stayed with him. I’m now forty-two years old. I’ve learn to shut down and numb myself for my mother. I was afraid of this monster as a child. I speak up now but I get blamed for stressing out my mother. I’m suffering & hurting everyday of my life :'(
    I’ve tried to file, he says, “oh you’ve been saying that for years I’m still here!! Get over it, it happened years ago!” I live in California, can I still file.

    • Comment by Jess [Living Well Staff]

      Jess [Living Well Staff] Reply October 29, 2015 at 12:52 pm

      Hi Love,
      First, I’m so sorry you’ve experienced this painful situation for so many years. You clearly care about your mother deeply, which seems to have enabled you to stay so strong.

      I’m not sure if you read the comments previous to yours, but Living Well is based in Australia. I’m so sorry, but I can’t help you with information about pressing charges in California.

      I would advise getting in touch with RAINN, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network based in the U.S. They provide a support line on 1.800.656.HOPE, and a list of phone numbers by US state.

      I wish you the best. Please take care of yourself.

  10. Comment by REMY

    REMY Reply December 4, 2015 at 11:27 am

    is it possible to prosecute parents who enable, or allow sexual abuse to occur if perpetrated by a friend of the family ?
    I am in QLD,

    • Comment by Jess [Living Well Staff]

      Jess [Living Well Staff] Reply December 11, 2015 at 10:40 am

      Hi Remy,
      Historical prosecutions are difficult. For the parents to be prosecuted they would have to be shown to have ‘actively’ engaged in the sexual abuse or ‘conspired’ to make it happen.
      The fact that someone was negligent or failed to act to protect a child (an act of omission) would typically not lead to a criminal prosecution for historical matters. It would in the present result in a Child Safety investigation or intervention and possible removal of a child.
      There are exceptions and it will be worth talking with police. I understand that this does not make the sense of injustice and betrayal any easier.
      Please get in touch if we can be of any further assistance. I wish you the best.

  11. Comment by Tormented

    Tormented Reply January 28, 2016 at 9:06 pm

    I was molested by my stepfather from the age of 6 – 15yrs of age. I even went to the high school counsellor. When I was 22 I made a report to the Parramatta police and was accussed by the office in charge, he said that I was a false accusation because my mum and stepfather were divorcing. The police said that there is no file with the school councellor concerning me and my ‘allegation’ and without my knowledge closed the file, when I had called up to enquire as to the progress of the investigation I was told that I had called them and said to stop investigation – which I never did. They refused to reopen saying that I had already said to close it.

    That was 20 years ago, I have ptsd, severe depression and anxiety. I live with what my molester did to me daily. I can’t even have a shower without putting something to cover the door handle even though there is no key hole. I can’t have my shower screen fully closed. Not to mention other things that stop me from living a ‘normal’ life.

    I want him charged, I want him to pay for the damage he has done to me.

    • Comment by Tormented

      Tormented Reply February 22, 2016 at 4:03 pm

      I would also like to know if there is a way to get my stepfather charged with what he has done to me.

      Can you suggest who I should see for help. Please

      Thanks

      • Comment by Jess [Living Well Staff]

        Jess [Living Well Staff] Reply February 24, 2016 at 2:43 pm

        Hi Tormented,

        First, thanks for getting in touch and sharing your story. I know it is hard to write about the experiences you describe, and also to have gone through such a struggle to try to seek justice. I’m hearing that despite the barriers you have faced you are not ready to give up, and I commend you on your strength through all this.

        It looks like you are in Australia, so I would like to invite you to give us a call on (07) 3028 4648. We have several specialist counsellors here at Living Well who can not only provide support (at whatever level you feel comfortable with), but can also give advice as to what steps you can take next to bring your abuser to account. Please know you’re not alone and needn’t go through this alone.

        Best of luck.

  12. Comment by Michael

    Michael Reply March 9, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    My uncle sexual assaulted me when I was only 18 years old

    • Comment by Jess [Living Well Staff]

      Jess [Living Well Staff] Reply March 11, 2016 at 11:58 am

      Hi Michael,
      Thanks for coming forward. I know that isn’t easy.
      It’s awesome that you’re seeking information. I’d like to invite you to check out our partners in the USA: https://1in6.org/. They’ll have more support and info relevant to you.
      Best of luck in your journey.

  13. Comment by carol

    carol Reply March 15, 2016 at 8:52 am

    Please advise me. I tried at 21 to prosecute my abuser from when I was 5 onwards but they said there was not enough evidence. Im bulimic wiv it and now also 40. Please help me I need closure and justice please

    • Comment by Jess [Living Well Staff]

      Jess [Living Well Staff] Reply March 21, 2016 at 12:03 pm

      Hi Carol,
      I want to commend you on taking steps to seek justice and closure. I know that can be a struggle, and it speaks volumes about your inner strength.

      Unfortunately we are unable to help, as not only are we a service for men, but we are also located in Australia.

      The Survivors Trust are based in the UK and may be able to help you.
      Best of luck to you.

  14. Comment by Aleisha hurley

    Aleisha hurley Reply March 17, 2016 at 9:03 am

    No one should ever live in silence.
    And everyone deserves justice.

  15. Comment by blinded mother

    blinded mother Reply March 18, 2016 at 6:27 pm

    My daughter is 25 and told me last evening on the phone that she was raped at 6 by one of her father’s friends. I had no idea this ever happened to her. I was away for 6 months and she was left in the care of her father. My whole world has been turned upside down. There were multiple rapes and my daughter is devastated and doesn’t want to see me because she’s worried about how I’ll view her. I explained to her that I was sorry for not being there and that she is not to blame. I explained that she was a child and was not responsible for his actions against her. She is so worried about how we will look at her when we come face to face. I’m devastated that I never had any inclination that this predator had violated my child and taken her innocence. I taught her bad touch and stranger danger. But I never taught her not to keep secrets from me. I’m so at a loss I have no idea of how to make this right for her. She’s not angry and doesn’t want me to blame myself but she’s hurt and traumatized. My heart is broken for her pain and isolation. I never thought this would have happened to my child. A deceived mother……..

    • Comment by Jess [Living Well Staff]

      Jess [Living Well Staff] Reply March 21, 2016 at 12:00 pm

      Hi Blinded Mother,
      I’m so sorry to hear you’re going through such a difficult time, and your daughter also. What a terrible shock. It sounds like your daughter is struggling with some really painful thoughts and feelings.

      It also sounds like you’ve said some very important and helpful things to her since you’ve learned of all this. Hopefully when she does manage to see you face to face she will be able to take your messages of love, acceptance, empathy and care to heart. She has taken a massive step in telling you this and I think that’s something you can be proud of.

      Please take care of yourself in this difficult time. I would recommend finding a counsellor to explore your own thoughts and feelings in a helpful space.
      All the best.

  16. Comment by broken

    broken Reply March 30, 2016 at 2:10 am

    Hi. I was abused for two years almost when I was in year eight and nine by my step grandfather. He is an ex police officer. I couldn’t go to the police because they would have believed him over me. I am concerned because I dont know if he has done this to anyone else, or maybe he looks at child porn.

    I ran away and told a few people who could stand up in court for me I hope, but is it worth me at least alerting the police? Can I have him looked at? I’m just afraid that, because he thinks he got away with it, he could be a predator to some poor innocent victims. He lives in a remote area so I am too afraid to prosecute in case he finds me, but I want police to be aware of him. I am 33 now.

    • Comment by Jess [Living Well Staff]

      Jess [Living Well Staff] Reply April 10, 2016 at 1:04 pm

      Hi Broken,
      Thanks for reaching out for some advice, and also sharing your experience here. I can absolutely understand your concerns.

      It may be worthwhile to alert police about what happened, even now. At the very least it sounds like it would be helpful for your own peace of mind. What I would suggest is to call police headquarters, or a nearby regional office, and explain your situation. They will be able to give you the best advice, and hopefully will also be able to talk you through any concerns you have.

      If you would like some support with this please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

  17. Comment by Jekaniah

    Jekaniah Reply April 8, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    Where on earth would I ever begin to put words-some 49 years later-on a web site about what happened to me. I was sexually assaulted, raped, molested by my own mother, by my own grandmother and great grandmother. Sometimes it was alone with each of them, other times it was ritualised with all of them at once. I was also sexually assaulted by my uncle and beaten till I had welts by my father. I was deprived of food, verbally assaulted and watched on in sheer terror as my father beat my mother and my other siblings. we all turned on each other. I was passive, compliant, became the rescuer of everyone else. I was bullied severely by many of the other boys at school where I was beaten regularly. Nobody stood up for me. My life was figuring out where I might escape in between beatings and abuse. My father admitted that he knew that his brother had molested one of my older brothers, My abusers slaughtered my pets and I discovered their mangled bodies. Five years ago my father told me outright that he was not sorry for anything and that I ought to be “grateful” that my mother ‘touched” me!!!! I survived a house fire that one of my siblings lit, and was struck by a bus several years ago which has left me with further injuries. I suffer Complex PTSD which I get treatment for and I utilise CoDependent’s Anonymous, Adult Children of Alcoholics, ARTS Anonymous (to explore my musical creativity). It has been a gruelling journey through self harm, sexual addiction, drugs, isolation and all of the ongoing consequences. Yet I have much hope, gradually developing a strong faith in a Higher Power and making huge changes and learning to take emotional responsibility for myself and allowing self care. I have even composed and recorded my first music album-a healing album and taught myself to compose music and play the piano with without learning music. I play by ear. Will I prosecute one day? Perhaps yes, perhaps no. It has taken me very many years to process my memories and come into true grief and I feel that it is better that I do not have anything to do with either of my abusers. Two have since died. still, I am left with such enormous scars. But I AM healing. I don’t see myself a s a victim any more. I have asserted myself into my true self and get stronger each day-although there are still many internal conflicts. You see, I decided to change the false beliefs about myself. I mean-to actually change them. Now…I love myself and see my true potential. Here’s to all of you beautiful survivors, both men and women! Cheers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Comment by Jess [Living Well Staff]

      Jess [Living Well Staff] Reply May 9, 2016 at 3:58 pm

      Thanks so much for this Jekaniah

      • Comment by Heart Broken

        Heart Broken Reply October 1, 2017 at 4:05 pm

        Wow… Your simply amazing!

  18. Comment by brit

    brit Reply April 8, 2016 at 9:16 pm

    Hi I understand this is a site for males but just want to know if what happens if the family member has passed away and you still feel like you need closer?

  19. Comment by Retro-Mama

    Retro-Mama Reply April 16, 2016 at 8:33 am

    Hi all.
    A year ago I discovered that my daughter was sexually assaulted by best friends partner. This has been reported to and is an ongoing investigation as he was interviewed, and chose to remain silent, which is his right.
    I have absolutely no doubt in the world that this guy is guilty, proving it will be more difficult.
    I no longer speak with my friend and I have no idea what her thoughts are on this matter.
    My question; am I allowed to tell our mutual friends about this because they all have kids. I don’t want to jeopardise the investigation but I feel that other kids need to be protected.
    Can anyone answer this for me?
    Thanks.

    • Comment by Retro-mama

      Retro-mama Reply May 26, 2016 at 6:23 am

      I’m so confused as to why nobody can answer this for me. Or chooses not to. It seems that even people on a help site are not interested? is this a help site or not? If it’s on the wrong page, please remove my question and I’ll take my heartbreak somewhere else. Everyone else has managed to get a response. :'(

      • Comment by Jess [Living Well Staff]

        Jess [Living Well Staff] Reply June 2, 2016 at 4:33 pm

        Hi Retro Mama,

        I apologise I didn’t get to you sooner. Unfortunately I am the only staff member responding to comments on this site, and this question was one outside of my area of expertise, so I was awaiting advice that I could be sure was appropriate.

        I can certainly understand your strong desire to protect any other children. This is something we all should do everything we can to prevent from ever happening again, and you, having been personally affected, would feel that strongly. For that reason I’d also like to commend you on your forethought – because as you suggested, certain well-intended actions can have impacts on ongoing investigations.

        As such, after talking with the QPS, we would like to encourage you to contact the investigating officer to seek guidance on this issue. Not only as to whether talking to other parents would be helpful or unhelpful to the case, but also to find out if the police or their liaisons are actually taking their own actions in the background. It may be that they are already taking steps of this kind.

        I hope that helps. Please feel free to get in touch if we can be of any further assistance.

  20. Comment by Kathy

    Kathy Reply May 9, 2016 at 2:13 am

    I was sexually molested as a child from my 3 older brothers. I want to prosecute them but I’m scared. I have a family member that does believe me and another one that was a witness to it. 2 of the older brothers won’t talk to me tell lies I feel they should be in prison for what they did to me they seem to think its my fault I’ve lived with this for so long not sure if I can live this lie anymore

    • Comment by Jess [Living Well Staff]

      Jess [Living Well Staff] Reply May 9, 2016 at 3:47 pm

      Hi Kathy,
      Thanks so much for reaching out for support and advice. I know how hard it can be and I think it takes a lot of bravery.

      I’m so sorry to hear you’re going through such a difficult time. Please know that you are not alone.

      I wonder if you would consider getting in touch with RAINN, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network based in the U.S. They can support you through this and also provide information on prosecuting in the US. They provide a support line on 1.800.656.HOPE, and a list of phone numbers by US state.

      Best of luck with this Kathy. Please take care of yourself in this difficult time. Consider accessing counselling or some other form of personal support or self care.

  21. Comment by Darren

    Darren Reply May 25, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    So do you just go to a police station and ask to make a statement or do you call first?
    I am in qld and the offence happened 30 years ago and is just broken me recently and I feel I can’t move on unless he is brought to justice.

    • Comment by Jess [Living Well Staff]

      Jess [Living Well Staff] Reply June 2, 2016 at 6:02 pm

      Thanks for the enquiry Darren.
      You can go straight to the police station, speak to an officer and make a statement. However, we would recommend giving the police station a call first. It might help to ask after the best time to speak with a detective in relation to making a statement of child sexual abuse that occurred 30 years ago.
      It is also sometimes useful to call the police headquarters or regional office to enquire as to the best way to proceed.
      Good luck. We hope this assists.

  22. Comment by Ali

    Ali Reply June 11, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    I am from Western Australia and was sexually abused by my two older brothers from the age of 7 through to 10 (they are 5 and 3 years older than myself). I was never able to bring myself to tell anyone until I was 28 because I was scared of what might happen. When I did disclose my parents immediately moved to protect my older brothers and did everything in their power to minimise what happened. My father also wrote several threatening letters to my counsellor and even turned up there to abuse them in person one day. At that point I cut off all contact with my parents and older brothers. The effect on my life has been huge and I don’t think its something I will ever forget.

    From time to time I think about reporting the abuse to the police because I hope then at least it might help me receive some validation that it actually happened to me. Do you know if you can still do this in WA? My younger brother (who never abused me) is not keen on me pursuing this however I feel it may be necessary in order to move on from what happened.

    • Comment by Jess [Living Well Staff]

      Jess [Living Well Staff] Reply June 16, 2016 at 3:26 pm

      Hi Ali,
      Thanks for reaching out and sharing your story.
      I’m so sorry your family have treated you this way and can totally understand your concerns about what might happen next.

      It is never too late to report your abuse. The option is and will always be there for you. If you’re not sure what it might be like, consider giving WA police a call on 131 444 to ask their advice – I know they have a taskforce devoted to historic child sexual abuse.

      It might be helpful to first consider talking to a professional who has had some experience in this area and who might be able to help you explore your options, expectations, hopes and fears. It can be upsetting having to give a statement to police, as this involves recalling the abuse in detail. Please take care of yourself if you do go ahead. If you are a male you can get in touch with us to support you directly with this.

      I hope that helps Ali. Best of luck.

  23. Comment by unknown

    unknown Reply July 9, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    There’s a child that I come to know has been molested by her step father. From understanding it went on for a couple of years. Her mom suspect something took her to have her checked out doctor had told her there was nothing to indicate she was being messed with. After that appointment the step father took things futher went on until the mother left him. The little girl never said anything because she had be threaten. The little girl later after a couple of years told a friend & it was told to her mom out of concern. The mother talked to her daughter & her daughter admitted what had hsppenef
    Her mother wanted to take it to the law just to report it let me known the step father did this & have something done about him. In reality it’s not his first time doing it to a child & gotten away with it. The daughter asked her mother not to report it she didn’t want to face him & go through all the nastiness of would come out of it. Can you image the way the mother was & is feeling wanting just for her baby girl. Wanting to report it & wanting something done to him for what he has done. Trying hard to hold on to her daughter’s wishes & at same time want him hurt. He time will come.

  24. Comment by Wendy

    Wendy Reply August 7, 2016 at 10:01 pm

    Hi…. my abuse happened over 45 yrs ago. My older brother. Its hard to write about it even now. I have struggled with it all my life. He was heavy and I was small maybe about 9 yrs old, he would have been 14. I would pass out. I remember being very scared of him as I didn’t know what he was doing but I knew it was wrong. I couldn’t tell mum or dad. Now at 57 Im suffering from horrible nightmares and wake up not being able to breathe. I’m terrified to go to sleep. I can’t hold down a relationship. I would like to know if I can prosecute him now. Would anyone take me seriously?

    • Comment by Jess [Living Well Staff]

      Jess [Living Well Staff] Reply January 11, 2017 at 12:34 pm

      Hi Wendy.. thanks for sharing your story with us, and for sending in your question. I’m hearing how much you are struggling to cope with what happened to you over 45 years ago. Please know that you aren’t alone, and you needn’t live with this on your own. Support is available, and justice is a possibility, even now. It is an option for you to report what happened to the police, and even to go through the court system. There is no time limit on doing so when it comes to childhood sexual abuse. It is an issue that is taken very seriously.

      I would like to suggest talking to a counsellor experienced in this area about your situation and how you’re coping with it. A good support worker should also be able to advise you on steps to take if you do decide to seek justice.

      Please take care of yourself, Wendy. Self care is one of the things that can help you get through all this.

  25. Comment by Mikka

    Mikka Reply September 13, 2016 at 8:54 am

    I was sexually abused for almost 2 years…3months ago i filed a report…im realy scared because the police havent contacted me…what if the man who hurt me gets away…and finds out ot was me…i really hope the dont close the case

  26. Comment by Melissa

    Melissa Reply September 14, 2016 at 10:37 pm

    Jess, I stumbled across this page and read through the comments. You are doing a great job!

    • Comment by Jess [Living Well Staff]

      Jess [Living Well Staff] Reply September 21, 2016 at 10:00 am

      Thanks very much Melissa :) I have a lot of guidance and support from the other Living Well staff – they are an amazing team.

  27. Comment by Leilani

    Leilani Reply September 30, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    I’m in QLD, and have just found out that my 5year old son was raped by an 11 year old boy who in turn was apparently raped by a man, I don’t want to hurt this boy because he has been through all this but my son deserves justice for what happened to him, I’m at a loss I have to do something but I don’t know what, my son is autistic and so is the boy that hurt him, I’m struggling to find help for my boy and can’t comprehend what’s happened to him.

    • Comment by Jess [Living Well Staff]

      Jess [Living Well Staff] Reply January 11, 2017 at 12:48 pm

      Hi Leilani,
      Thanks for getting in touch, and for your patience while we got back to you. I know it’s been a while.

      I’m so sorry to hear that your son has been harmed. It sounds like a deeply troubling situation and I can understand the difficulty you’re having in knowing what steps to take and how to best seek justice for your son. Please make sure you, yourself are supported through this as well, and that you take the time to take care of yourself.

      Can I suggest getting in touch with Bravehearts, an Australian service providing support and advice around the sexual assault of children. Based on your story I think they are the ones best positioned to provide you some help with this.
      All the best.

  28. Comment by Nobody

    Nobody Reply November 5, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    How many years could the person who abused u get ?

  29. Comment by Michael

    Michael Reply November 13, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    My grandfather abused me until I was 7. Both of my parents knew and did nothing. As a result I’ve suffered from extreme anxiety and depression my entire life. My grandfather died some time ago so there’s not really much point in reporting it now.

    I would like to get some help to deal with my problems but I feel like it may be too late. My anxiety is that severe that I’ve spent most of my adult years completely isolating myself from everyone. My fear and mistrust of other people is so intense now that I doubt I’ll ever be able to open up and talk about this properly.

    • Comment by Jess [Living Well Staff]

      Jess [Living Well Staff] Reply November 18, 2016 at 10:09 am

      Hi Michael,
      Thanks very much for getting in touch and sharing your story. It sounds like this wouldn’t have been easy for you.

      I know it may sound cliche but please know that there is hope – it is never too late to recover. Help is available and we would like to be able to support you through this.

      You mentioned that at this stage it’s really difficult to trust people, which is completely understandable given your experiences. This, and the anxiety you’re experiencing, work together to make it seem almost impossible to open up to anyone and begin to work through your thoughts and feelings. Despite this you reached out, and expressed yourself so well here, (which was a huge step you can be proud of). Perhaps it felt a bit more manageable because it was written, and somewhat anonymous? If so, I wonder how you’d go with online text-based counselling, or talking on the phone?

      If this is something you might consider, please get in touch with us at livingwell@anglicaresq.org.au. Your request will come through to me.

      Otherwise I’d like to recommend some of the strategies listed in the mental health section of this website. These are things you can try on your own. Perhaps they might help to get you to a palce where you can feel a bit more comfortable and safe.

      Either way take care of yourself and keep in mind that you have done well to get here.
      Jess

  30. Comment by Cat

    Cat Reply December 2, 2016 at 6:01 am

    My abuse happend when i was 8/9 years old.it was a family friend.i have been speakin to a counsellor the past 16 weeks and she has been amazin.bt 3 weeks ago i tried to take my own life.it jus got to much i want to report him so much bt i jus need that little push r guidance. Tho i am so worried that no one will believe me and nothin will happen to him.this was 23years ago.

    • Comment by Brenton [Living Well Staff]

      Brenton [Living Well Staff] Reply March 8, 2017 at 11:00 am

      Hi Cat,
      Thanks for getting in touch with us here at Living Well, and your patience while we got back to you.

      Abuse is often thought to be committed mainly by strangers, but we know that this is not the case – unfortunately most abuse is perpetrated by a person familiar to us. Most police and court officials are aware of this now, which means seeking legal justice can be a much more helpful process than it used to be.

      I’m not sure where you are based, but here in Australia the law has recently changed in relation to how long a person can be charged for sexual abuse. Specifically there is no limitation. Those who choose to pursue legal recourse however, often find that it is a long drawn out process, and that it can impede moving on with other aspects of life. As such it is important to consider very carefully, with as much advice as possible from professionals, about the best option for your particular circumstances.

      There are many valid reasons for wanting to report a perpetrator: To protect others, to gain a sense of closure, to gain a sense of retribution and justice, just to name a few. These are all totally valid reasons and courses of action, but know that there are other things you can do at the same time. Finding a sense of meaning and purpose for your life, connecting with hobbies, friends and family are also good options. Again, speaking with a specialist counsellor may provide you with a broader perspective on what options you have available to you.

      It is worrying to see that you tried to take your own life so recently. You may find that you are feeling some very difficult emotions and have tried to end them, or to take that out on yourself. Or you may have felt that your experience of life since the sexual abuse has lead you to believe that nothing will ever change. In any case, these are important things to bring up with your counsellor. Know that others have overcome what they once thought to be insurmountable odds in finding personal meaning in their lives. We know that people who have experienced sexual abuse are much more likely to think of suicide than the rest of the population, and a large number may have even attempted. Try to minimise any drugs or alcohol use and try to reconnect with your counsellor. In this, know that there is hope to move forward, and that given time and effort you can find a way towards living a meaningful life.

      Take care Cat.

  31. Comment by carmelwhelan

    carmelwhelan Reply January 4, 2017 at 3:15 am

    hi I was groomed and rapes at 14 and now 57 years old .is there something I can do about it ..
    I have proff as I became pregnant and send away from my home to have the baby .. he is still alive and living in the village I was brought up in ..this happen in Ireland and my parents dident do anything because it would bring shame to the family

  32. Comment by Toni

    Toni Reply January 15, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    I was in a ‘relationship’ with a 19 year old when I was 14. I didn’t understand what was happening at the time, and he scared me into not saying anything, but now I realise he groomed and sexually abused me. I stayed with him till I was 18 myself, because I thought I couldn’t live without him despite him manipulating me physically and emotionally. None of my friends or family ever knew about the extent of the abuse. This was 7 years ago now and I’ve only very recently been able to think about what I experienced, I blocked most of it out of my memory, but even now I get panic attacks about it. I’ve been struggling with depression since I was 16 and feel this is a bit part of the reason. What can I do and is it too late?

    • Comment by Jess [Living Well Staff]

      Jess [Living Well Staff] Reply January 18, 2017 at 9:47 am

      Hi Toni,
      It looks like you are based in the UK. Unfortunately I’m unable to give any advice about how the legal system works over there. Can I suggest getting in touch with Victim Support UK, who can help you to decide whether you would like to report your abuser, and also provide you with support. Based on a quick read of their site I would think it is not too late, but I do recommend chatting to them to explore your options.

      Please take care of yourself Toni, as this does sound so difficult for you. Know that this was not your fault. This abuser purposely preyed upon a child and, as you said, manipulated you into staying.

      Our article Dealing with the effects of childhood sexual abuse may help to put things into perspective. While the information is aimed at men, the majority of it applies to all genders.

      We know that hope and recovery are possible. You’re not alone and you don’t need to go through this alone. Please consider accessing support or counselling in your local area (I wish I could suggest a service but unfortunately I’m not sure where you are located). When you are ready to, talking to a counsellor in one of the things that can help you to step back from your experience and begin to move forward.
      All the best.

      • Comment by Toni

        Toni Reply February 8, 2017 at 10:10 pm

        Dear Jess,

        Thank you for your reply. Though I currently live in the UK, this happened in Australia where I grew up, which is why I thought it apt to comment here. My abuser still lives in Australia and I regularly return to visit family, so in this context, can anything be done?

        • Comment by Jess [Living Well Staff]

          Jess [Living Well Staff] Reply March 3, 2017 at 12:02 pm

          Hi Toni,

          Thanks so much for coming back to clarify. Yes, there are options available to you. It is never too late to report sexual abuse or assault.

          If you are open to seeking justice I would suggest that, next time you visit your family, give your regional police office a call and ask for their advice. They will be able to outline your options and what the process might look like. They may suggest making a statement to a police office in the area local to where the abuse happened. In many cases, you can choose to press charges, or simply to file a report to be used as evidence if any other cases are in progress or come up in the future. However the police themselves will have the most accurate info on this, relevant to your experience and where it occurred.

          Wishing you the best of luck with this Toni.

  33. Comment by Karen

    Karen Reply January 29, 2017 at 8:42 am

    I was molested by my two older brothers for years. (One for a shorter period and he was the original perpetrator after being molested himself. He did this to the other brother as well as myself).
    The last times this occurred with the younger of the two, he was 17 and I was 14.
    I’m now 50 and have lived with this all of these years.
    My parents knew, after I informed them when I was 21. They chose to sweep it under the carpet because it was common and almost “normal”, in my mothers words. She was also a victim of childhood sexual abuse.
    My parents were both violent whilst we were growing up too.
    This has coloured every aspect of my life. I lived a very erratic lifestyle, addicted to drugs, sex worker. You name it, I abused myself with it.
    I live with anger every day of my life and I need to escape but it once again has descended on me like a black cloud.
    I need help.

    • Comment by Jess [Living Well Staff]

      Jess [Living Well Staff] Reply March 3, 2017 at 11:49 am

      Thanks so much Karen for reaching out to us, and your patience while I got back to you.

      I’m so sorry you’ve been through this, and have had to live with it all your life. This kind of thing is, as I’m sure you know, not normal, and it’s not acceptable. It sounds though like violence and sexual abuse were normalised in your family to the point where your parents were unable to provide you with the help and support you needed.

      The fact that you have been doing research, and have posted here, shows strength – and that you are taking steps to move through this. Reaching out for help is the biggest step of all.

      Please take a look at our list of sexual assault services in Australia to find a service near you. Help and support are available, and you needn’t go through this alone any more.

    • Comment by Spud Morris

      Spud Morris Reply February 12, 2018 at 3:14 pm

      I’m spud. I experienced sexual abuse, sexual assault, sexual molestation, sexual violence – I was forced to become a sexual toy every day for the next 9 years of my life, from 4yrs old to 13yrs old. dad’s brother moved into the shed, so for a decade he preyed on me knowing that my mum and dad would be at work every day. he was a very sick bastard. it only stopped because I ran away from home. when I became a man I found his address and knocked on the door. I couldn’t get in so I just left. the next day I was notified by phone that he hung himself.

      today I am 44 yrs old. I spent a few years in jail, got bad drug habits, alcohol abuse, no real job, no answer to why he preyed on me. no revenge, no life.
      this is first time I told my story. Thanks for listening.

  34. Comment by Ally

    Ally Reply February 6, 2017 at 7:55 pm

    I recently found a picture of me on a porn site. I used to color my hair brown like pictured. I was passed out in the picture. Wearing lingerie I’ve never seen before with someones penis in me. I had to have been the age of 16 or 17. I’m not sure how to feel or what to do. I used to drink a lot in high school.

  35. Comment by Ally

    Ally Reply February 6, 2017 at 7:56 pm

    I am 24 years old now.

    • Comment by Jess [Living Well Staff]

      Jess [Living Well Staff] Reply March 3, 2017 at 11:31 am

      Hi Ally,
      I’m so sorry this has happened to you. I know how very confronting, upsetting and stressful such a discovery can be. Please know that this isn’t your fault. I know you didn’t mention feeling that way, but I thought I’d highlight that fact, because many women do feel guilt, shame and self recrimination when they find out they’ve been violated in this way. Drinking alcohol or not makes no difference.

      You can report this to your local police station. I’d advise giving them a call first and asking the best way to go about it.
      Different police officers have different levels of training around this kind of thing, so if you don’t get a good response the first time, please know that you can try again with someone else. This is sexual assault and distribution of child pornography. It is illegal activity and it is something that should and can be followed up on.

      Take care of yourself Ally.

  36. Comment by Anonymous

    Anonymous Reply February 10, 2017 at 6:33 am

    I’ve been with my partner for 10 years. she told me early in the relationship about being sexually abused as a 12 year old by 4 of fathers friends, and how she had dealt with it by going to counselling. troubled lifestyle. we grew through together as our relationship progressed. But recently I found out that her father was 1 of the 4 men, and that he continued to sexually abuse her till she was 18, which was about 7 years before I meet her. he used to drug her, threaten her with weapons, and he had also done the same to her step sister, though she was 5 years older and got away by being fostered out.

    I asked my partner why she had not pursued / press charges, and she had told me he had gotten in trouble for the step sister in the early 90’s, before the abuse started on her, but had gotten away with it somehow. so she thinks nothing can be done anymore. Her father only lives 1 hour away. I’ve never met him, nor do I want to, but I know there’s a chance of us crossing paths. We live in QLD by the way. I’m unsure what to do as a partner, because I want to see justice, but don’t know if she is too scared to go through with it or just wants leave it in the past.
    it’s the first thing on my mind when I wake up and the last thing on my mind when I go to sleep.

    • Comment by Jess [Living Well Staff]

      Jess [Living Well Staff] Reply March 3, 2017 at 11:19 am

      Hi Anonymous,
      Thanks for reaching out. This sounds like a really messy and painful situation for you both. I’m hearing you would really like your partner to be able to get some closure, but she thinks it’s probably pretty hopeless. It also sounds like you’re not sure whether justice is something she wants to pursue for herself, even if she was sure it was a viable option.

      If it is something she is willing to explore, it may help to know that there is no statute of limitations on childhood sexual abuse. It’s not too late for her to report her father, or her other abusers. It may help to call the local police station and ask their advice – they will be able to give specific information on what options there are and what is likely to result. It is then up to your partner as to how far this goes.

      Take a look at our list of sexual assault support services in Queensland. These services can generally provide advice around this, as well as support (if this is wanted).

      And please take care of yourself through this, Anon. It sounds like it’s preying on your mind quite a bit and causing you significant stress. Engaging in ongoing self care can help you to cope with these difficult thoughts and feelings. Support and counselling for yourself is also an option.

      All the best to you both.

  37. Comment by Karen

    Karen Reply March 3, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    I’ve just been recently told that there should of been a trust fund set up for me as a victim of crime, now this happened almost 30 years ago I’m 42 now my father was sentenced to jail for Sexual abuse of myself. Does anyone in Aus know how I find out any information about this trust and possibly why I never had knowledge of it??

    • Comment by Gary [Living Well Staff]

      Gary [Living Well Staff] Reply March 10, 2017 at 2:10 pm

      Hi Karen,
      Thanks for contacting us at Living Well. I am not aware of a process where ‘Trust Funds’ are set up for victims of crime, especially when the offence was committed some 30 years ago. I would encourage you to go back to the person who told you that this should have happened and try to obtain more information from them.

      Having said that you may be able to access financial support or compensation as a victim of crime, and of course you are still able to lodge a civil claim against your father or his estate. You can learn more about this by contacting the Justice Department or Victims of Crime service in the state where you live, or where the offence occurred. They will be able to provide you with appropriate advice without paying for a solicitor.

      I do hope this assists. If you have not already done so, I would also encourage you to talk with a local sexual assault service to ensure you have access to appropriate additional counselling support, if required. Take care.

  38. Comment by Anonymous

    Anonymous Reply March 16, 2017 at 2:04 am

    (This was all years and years ago. I’m just seeing what I should have done in Aus opinion)

    My girlfriend is really young. We’re the same age. And we have a job. This guy at our job seems really nice all the time and he’s very friendly. He has a girlfriend and 3 kids. Recently, we went out with him one night, but we were chaperoned by my girlfriends parents. He has both of our numbers and is saying nothing bad to me, but recently, he’s been telling her to “send pics” and “go to the bathroom and do it”

    I really don’t know what to do.. it makes my head hurt just from worrying too much. She wants to keep going so that her best friend can meet him to see how he acts towards everyone else besides her. Her friend knows what he’s doing to my girlfriend. And she STILL wants to meet this a**hole.

    They say they want to keep going as well so we can get More proof from him and then go to the police. But I feel like we might go to juvenile or a mental hospital because this is all crazy. He makes her feel bad for him and tells her “I’m going to kill myself if you don’t send pictures” and she did. She sent him four different pictures of herself because she didn’t want to be the reason that somebody died. Especially when he has a most likely loving girlfriend and 3 children.

    Honestly though, wouldn’t this be enough proof? He probably STILL has the pictures. And once you do something like take a picture or text, you can never take it back even if you delete it?

  39. Comment by Daniel

    Daniel Reply May 7, 2017 at 8:29 pm

    Ok let me start this by saying that I have not told anyone about this except my girlfriend . However I just don’t know what to do, i don’t want to keep it inside so I thought I might as well share it with you guys
    It was only a few days ago that I got a vivid memory of my old school. I was at work listening to the radio on triple j when a news story came on , “Arch bishop someone has just been charged for 3 counts of indecent assault on little boys ” It was like hearing those words triggered memories that were lost for so long, Memories that I know are real because I remember the actual person that fondled me. So It was when I remembered that after hearing those words when I just stood completely motionless staring into blank space . Was I over reacting? Had this actually happened to me ? Is it going to change me ? Well all those thoughts start flowing into my head I mean I’m 20 years old a 2nd year plasterer with a beautiful girlfriend and plans for the future . Am i missing something here ? But then it all clicked. Holy shit I was actually touched as a kid , feelings of anger guilt shock sadness all came rushing in I honestly have never felt so weird I all my 20 years I felt ashamed of my body and I also was very angry at the person since I remembered what he looked like and also sad that someone would do that to me . But why had it taken so long for me to piece this together ? Well because when I was younger I thought he was just being a bully only to realise a bit later on that he definitely had different motives to just bullying .

    It all started when I was about 12 years old a keen soccer player who liked playing the piano and just being a kid , I was a nice kid with a solid group of friends , but there was always one person that would make me very afraid . In my friend group one of my mates had an older brother in year 12 at the time ( he was 17 18 ) and was much bigger taller and stronger then us , he would seem to not have many friends his own age and cling around his younger brother . This guy was a good soccer player so we did actually like the guy , But I remember very vividly one day when I was walking alone towards a gazebo around the sides where we had lunch and he was there. He gave me a crooked smile and then grabbed me and pulled me close to him , me yelling at the time didn’t stop anything as he wouldn’t let me go, then he would slip his hands under my shirt and twist my nipples , but I could feel his torso pushing against my arse . He would squeeze me so tight I didn’t know what to do screaming didn’t work and this guy was way bigger then me at the time . I remember just thinking please stop please stop as I can hear and feel his breathe down my neck . Luckily he would always let me go after a bit of time or if a teacher came close ,but I would be left shaken and scared of this person. I always tried to avoid this one person but he would do this same thing even with my friends around , they thought I was just talking crap to him and he was just being a bully , but remembering what he did as an adult I can tell you he was getting some sort of sexual gratification from doing that to me . Like fuck this guy how dare he do that to me but he did. And kept doing it most of the year untill he finally completed school and I never saw the guy again .

    So yea that’s pretty much it a guy much older then me at the time liked feeling my nipples and humping my arse, I never really thought of it growing up because I moved on and forgot about him because he left . But I do remember being pretty timid after all that , It was hard for me to trust new friends. But after all these years has this traumatic event even changed my life ? I would like to think no but that’s when I realised when I was around 17 and finishing school I had anxiety and borderline depression . I also have connected the dots as to why I was so ashamed of my “man boobs” when I was young . Most likely because of those events that happened to me , is why I’m so obsessed with my body image today. I’m just so glad my Girlfriend came into my life when she did because she helped me through my anxiety and depression. I haven’t even told my parents nor have I told a counselor . It does effect me recently whenever I hear the world molester it now reminds me obviously because now it’s a fresh memory. I also have done some Facebook stalking and I think I found the guy, and guess what he is gay, so that makes sense as to why he targeted me as a boy . I just want to make sure that he isn’t posing a threat to any minors because if he got sexual gratification from me when I was a kid , what’s to say he still isn’t attracted to little boys . What should I do , should I report him , should I tell my parents , should I I see a counselor ? It pains me because the past 2 months ever since I remembered this shit has been on my mind almost every second day .

    • Comment by Brenton [Living Well Staff]

      Brenton [Living Well Staff] Reply June 7, 2017 at 3:13 pm

      Hi Daniel,

      Thanks for sharing your experience. In this case I am aware of two sources of distress. The memories themselves, and the questions that have arisen from recontacting the memories. I would say it is completely natural to have these questions, and important that you have an opportunity to discuss them with someone. Often, with a traumatic experience, the way people cope to survive (such as dissociating, avoiding, or using alcohol and other drugs) are applied to all or many areas of life, and so can prevent progress. It sounds like you have good insight into some of the impacts that the sexual abuse may have had on you. I would also say it sounds like you have made significant progress in overcoming some of negative impacts.

      I think it would be helpful to discuss your concerns with a professional counsellor, preferably from a service like ours that deals with sexual abuse and its effects. Often when people become aware of shocking news such as what happened to you, it can take two weeks before things show any semblance of normalcy again. During this time it would be completely normal to have weird dreams or nightmares, difficulty sleeping, reduced concentration, fluctuating moods, etc. I would recommend being kind to yourself during this time; don’t make any big decisions or push yourself too hard.

      As for your concerns about whether he might offend again, you have a couple of options. You could make a formal complaint at a police station. You could ask your friends if anything weird ever happened to them. Alternatively there is another avenue called Alternative reporting options where you can make an ‘informal’ or anonymous complaint. This can put a flag out on certain people, and if enough flags occur the police may be more likely to investigate.

      I hope this is helpful, and don’t hesitate to make contact if you have any more questions or need further support.

  40. Comment by Anna

    Anna Reply May 18, 2017 at 9:24 am

    My name is Anna, and I was sexually abused about 16 years ago, it was my uncle that did it. and he used to live in Arizona and he just recently moved to my home town with my grandparents. I just recently told my parents. I never told them because he was so far away and I never thought that I would see his face ever again. And now that I’ve seen his face it brought all the nightmares back. He’s been charged before, I just want to know is it to late to bring this to the police since it happened so long ago ?

  41. Comment by Annoymus

    Annoymus Reply September 18, 2017 at 9:27 am

    I was raped when I was younger. I haven’t ever said anything to anyone but I was with my boyfriend and something triggered me to say something about it and now he thinks I need to report it but i am not sure how or anything I’m so scared.

    • Comment by Jess [Living Well Staff]

      Jess [Living Well Staff] Reply September 27, 2017 at 3:24 pm

      Hi Anonymous,

      You’re not alone. The thought of reporting abuse or assault can be utterly terrifying to someone who has been through such an experience. It’s not unusual for other people to not quite ‘get’ what is so scary about the thought of going to authorities. That doesn’t mean it’s not scary. It is. So we don’t recommend reporting unless it’s something you know you want to do.

      The choice is yours. If you’re not ready, that is fine. Your own sense of safety and stability is most important.

      Talking to a support service may help you to make a decision, or to feel more comfortable with a decision you’ve already made. Workers at these services are very used to supporting people through thoughts like this, and they’re there to help you. Take a look at this list to see if there is an option near to you.

      Take care of yourself Anon. Best of luck to you.

  42. Comment by Clo

    Clo Reply September 20, 2017 at 12:09 am

    I reported an assault to a police investigator and Its been nearly four months and I haven’t heard anything.
    They said the investigation might take longer because the assaulter lives in W.A.

  43. Comment by Judy

    Judy Reply January 12, 2018 at 10:02 am

    I now live in .Las Vegas NV.
    I was 16, when i went to live with my cousin, and her husband . , what I remember is my cousin was going to Los Angeles California to visit a relative my cousin husband took her to the airport he then returned home I was in my room sleeping . He returns come into my room fully naked. He climbs in gets on top of me is penis penetrating my vagina I was so afraid I just lay there I didn’t know what to do or to think I think I was in shock not Gregory this couldn’t be happening to me when he finished got up put my clothes on run around to my cousin sister’s house when I walked into her home .she took one at my face and her words were to me I knew it I knew it I knew it.I then started telling her what he had just done to me..
    My story. At 16
    I still have night mares
    I still can’t get it together after all these years..
    And they are living a wonderful live go figure. .
    My story at 56..

  44. Comment by Leigh

    Leigh Reply March 11, 2018 at 9:12 am

    Hi. I now live in London. I am 49 years of age. I was sexually abused by my uncle from about the ages of 7 – 14 and then harassed by him until I was about 21. I never told anyone until I was about 18. I told a family friend, who was a minister. He told me not to say anything as it could break up the family. I decided to keep silent. I wanted to tell my parents but was so scared that it would destroy my family. When my mother found out she pleaded with me not to tell my father as she felt that he would blame her and would probably go and kill my abuser. I decided that too many people had been hurt already and so I would keep the secret. I feel so angry that I put my family first and did not seek justice. The hardest thing I had to do was go to my cousin’s wedding and come face to face with my abuser. My mother refused to go to the wedding as she couldn’t face seeing my abuser. I still went as I loved my cousin and he had done nothing wrong. It was very hard to go to that wedding. My abuser is now dead and I feel powerless. Can I make a statement to the police about the abuse or is it a waste of time as the abuser can not be prosecuted? My abuser was respected by the police and there is a photo of him receiving a Neighbourhood Watch award from them. I found this disgusting and was angry at my abuser’s hypocrisy. There is more to my story, but I cannot write anymore. Thank you for listening.

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