Support for sexual assault
This page has information about accessing formal support for people who have experienced sexual assault. On this page we discuss experiences of sexual assault, this is a trigger warning.
If you have been sexually assaulted during a party and play session know that it is never your fault. You were not sexually assaulted because you took drugs or too many drugs. You were not sexually assaulted because you attended a space where other people were having sex. You were not sexually assaulted because in the past you have consented to certain kinds of sex. You were sexually assaulted because of a decision that another person made to assault you.
Why get support?
Sexual assault can have impacts on your physical and mental health. These impacts can happen in both the short and long term. For this reason, we encourage anyone who has experienced sexual assault to get support.
It is recommended that you seek medical help if you:
- Were hurt or injured
- Were unconscious or don’t remember parts of the assault
- Need an emergency contraception pill or PEP
- Think you may make a report to the police
The best time to seek medical support is as soon as possible after an assault, however it is still helpful to see a health professional if time has passed.
What type of support is there?
Every person who experiences sexual assault may need a different form of support. It is okay to be unsure of what you need. Some people will want to see a medical professional. This might include visiting a sexual assault service. Others will want to report what has happened to the police and try to seek an outcome through the justice system. No matter what you want to do, it’s valuable to have people around you who you trust.
It can be daunting or scary to see a health professional after an experience of sexual assault, especially if it feels like it could be another bad experience. If you have a trusted GP, seeing them can make a big difference.
Getting help and support from NSW Sexual Assault Clinics
If you have experienced sexual assault or think that you may have, there are specialist services that can provide support. Staff at these services understand the impacts of violence. Support is still available to you years after an assault. Many people don’t seek support for decades after an assault happens. NSW Health Sexual Assault Services provide free services including:
- crisis counselling,
- information and support,
- medical care
- forensic examination,
- ongoing counselling,
- group work
- court preparation
We might not get help because we feel that we will automatically have to report the assault to the police. For some of us, this is not something that we want to do. You do not need to have reported the sexual assault to the police to receive help from a NSW Sexual Assault Service.
We know that people assaulted while using drugs are more likely to avoid getting help. This can be because there are fears that we won’t be believed. Sexual assault services are used to working with people who were using drugs or alcohol at the time of their assault.
Some of us may also have fears about telling a support service if we were engaging in group sex while assaulted. We might fear judgement or think that they won’t understand. Most sexual assault services have heard it all before and will likely not be shocked nor care.
You might also be reluctant to report an experience of sexual assault if the person who assaulted you is known to you, or if you have concerns about the process and concerns for your own privacy.
You do not have to report sexual assault to police when you access a sexual assault service. All your information will be kept private and confidential.
We might not get help because we are afraid that a provider will not understand or respect our sexuality or gender. When you access a service, you have a right to request a worker who is inclusive. There is a long list of services that can help people in our communities on the Say It Out Loud website. Some of these services are listed below.
Other servicers that can support
- NSW Rape Crisis line: https://www.rape-dvservices.org.au/ take calls from people of all genders 24/7.
- People can receive counselling and other support through Victims Services.
- 1800 Respect, 24 hours a day 7 days a week, support people impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence and abuse. Phone service: 1800 737 732
- Qlife, 3pm to Midnight, 7 days a week, A national private an anonymous phone and online counselling service staffed by LGBTQIA+ community members, with training in crisis management and support for a whole range of sexuality, gender, and totally unrelated issues. Phone service: 1800 184 527
To develop this page, we worked with the ACON team responsible for Say it Out Loud and who lead ACON’s work addressing sexual, domestic and family violence in LGBTQ+ communities. The TransHub page on sexual assault and coercion has more detailed information on the process of seeking support around sexual assault. We would encourage you to read this page if you are considering accessing a sexual assault service
Also in this section…
- Party and Play Peer Chat
- Party and Play Self-Reflection Resources
- Party and Play Drug Info
- Mixing Drugs and Safety
- Preparing for Party and Play
- Knowing your limits
- Injecting, shafting, smoking or snorting
- Sexual Health
- Hep C Prevention Testing & Treatment
- GHB Overdose
- Crystal Overdose
- Party and Play Emergencies
- Caring for each other
- Calling an ambulance
- Hook ups and safety
- Ensuring consent
- Responding to sexual assault