Finding support after you’ve been sexually assaulted can feel confusing and overwhelming. We’ve put together this guide to help you understand what sexual assault is, and what sort of help is available if you’ve been sexually assaulted.
This can help if:
- you want to know what sexual assault is
- you’ve experienced sexual assault and want support
- you’re not sure what sexual assault support services are available.
What is sexual assault?
Sexual assault is any unwanted sexual behaviour that makes a person feel uncomfortable, threatened or scared. The term covers crimes such as rape, child sexual abuse, indecent assault and inappropriate touching. If you aren’t sure if what you have experienced is sexual assault, there are professionals available who can help you process what’s happened and decide whether or not to report the offender to the police.
Why do people sexually assault others?
Sexual assault isn’t always about offenders getting pleasure from sex. It can also be about them enjoying asserting power and control over someone. Some offenders have been abused themselves, but this isn’t always the case. Sexual assault is a serious crime and is never the fault of the survivor.
What to do if you've been sexually assaulted
If you’ve been sexually assaulted, it’s not something you have to cope with on your own. Here are some things you can do straight away.
Ensure that you're safe
If you’re still in danger, or you’re worried about your safety, contact emergency services on 000 immediately and try to get to somewhere safe.
Talk to someone
Find someone you feel you can talk to about it, such as a friend, family member, counsellors or youth worker. If you’re having difficulty working up the courage to start the conversation, check out our article on talking to someone you trust for some tips.
Get confidential help
You might find it easier to get confidential, professional help before you talk to someone you know. If that’s the case, check out our directory below for a list of services available in your area.
Get medical help
If you’ve been sexually assaulted, medical support is essential. Try to get to a hospital or health centre where they can give you appropriate medical care. Many rape crisis centres provide medical assistance in addition to counselling services. Check out our directory below for more information.
If someone has assaulted you, you may not feel confident about what to do next. Trust your instincts. Remember that it’s never okay for someone to assault you for any reason.
Know your rights
The laws relating to sexual assault vary from state to state. To find out about your rights, check out the Youth Law Australia website.
Sexual assault support services
National sexual assault support
Provides confidential sexual assault and family and domestic violence counselling via phone and webchat. Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Phone: 1800 737 732
Provides phone and email-based support for adult survivors of childhood trauma and abuse, as well as for their supporters and the professionals who work with them. Available 9 am to 5 pm, seven days a week.
Phone: 1300 657 380
The Bravehearts information and support line can be accessed by anyone wanting information or support relating to child sexual assault. Available 8.30 am to 4.30 pm, Monday to Friday.
Phone: 1800 272 831
The Living Well app is specifically designed to assist men who have been sexually abused in childhood. They also provide face-to-face counselling in South East Queensland, as well as national phone and web-based counselling.
New South Wales
24/7 telephone and online trauma counselling for anyone in NSW whose life has been impacted by sexual violence.
Phone: 1800 424 017
Directory of support services in New South Wales from the state government’s Prevention and Response to Violence Abuse and Neglect service.
Group support for male survivors of childhood sexual abuse and their supporters.
Australian Capital Territory
Face-to-face support services for survivors of sexual abuse, assault or harassment. There is also crisis phone support available from 7 am to 11 pm, seven days a week.
Phone: (02) 6247 2525
The Canberra Rape Crisis Centre’s specialised service for men over the age of 16 who have experienced sexual abuse, assault or harassment. Both face-to-face and phone counselling are available, with crisis phone support available from 7 am to 11 pm, seven days a week.
Phone: (02) 6247 2525
Domestic Violence Crisis Line
Phone-based support for anyone in the Northern Territory. Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Phone: 1800 019 116
A centre based in Casuarina that provides both phone and face-to-face support and counselling services. Phone support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Phone: (08) 8922 6472
A centre based in Alice Springs that provides both phone and face-to-face support and counselling services. Phone support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Phone: (08) 8952 6075
Provides phone-based support and counselling to any Queenslander who has, or thinks they may have, been sexually assaulted or abused. The service is available from 7.30 am to 11.30 pm, seven days a week.
Phone: 1800 010 120
Mensline is a free and confidential telephone crisis counselling, referral and support service for men living in Queensland. Support is available from 9 am to midnight, seven days a week.
Phone: 1800 600 636
A directory of local support services throughout Queensland from Queensland Health.
Government-funded counselling services for young people aged 12-25, and their families. Available for recent and past sexual abuse and assault.
Phone: 1800 615 677 from 9 am to 5 pm on weekdays.
The lead public health agency responding to adult rape and sexual assault in South Australia. Yarrow Place provides many services, including a 24/7 crisis response service, professional counselling, and support groups.
Note: Yarrow Place only offers services for people over 16 years, for recent sexual assault.
Phone: (08) 8226 8777 from 9 am to 5 pm on weekdays, (08) 8226 8787 for a 24/7 hotline for survivors of a recent sexual assault, or 1800 817 421 toll-free.
A not-for-profit organisation that provides support to people affected by crime and family/domestic abuse. Their services include face-to-face and phone-based counselling.
Phone: 1800 182 368
SASS is a free and confidential support service for southern Tasmanian people of all ages who have been affected by any form of sexual violence. They also provide Redress Scheme Support Services across Tasmania.
24 hour crisis support: 1800 697 877
All other enquiries: (03) 6231 0044
Provides face-to-face counselling to adults and children affected by sexual assault in the North and North West of Tasmania. Their office hours are 8.30 am to 5 pm for Launceston, and 9 am to 5 pm for Burnie/Devonport.
Phone: (03) 6334 2740 (Launceston), (03) 6431 9711 (Burnie and Devonport)
A free, statewide, after-hours service for people in Victoria who have experienced sexual violence. The crisis line operates from 5 pm on weeknights to 9 am the next day, and during the same hours on weekends and public holidays.
Phone: 1800 806 292
The peak body for the 15 Centres Against Sexual Assault in Victoria and the Victorian Sexual Assault Crisis Line. Use this map to find your nearest centre, or call their toll-free number to be connected with your nearest centre or for after-hours support.
Phone: 1800 806 292
Provides face-to-face, phone and web-based support services for women in Victoria.
Phone: (03) 9664 9300
Provides services to people over the age of 13 affected by sexual violence, including emergency services and counselling. You can phone them 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you have been assaulted in the past two weeks, phone between 8.30 am and 11 pm any day of the week to speak to a crisis counsellor or to request a counselling appointment.
Phone: (08) 6458 1828
Translation services and help for people with disabilities
Translating and Interpreting Service
For callers who require a translating or interpreting service.
Phone 13 14 50 and ask them to contact the phone number of the service you want to get in touch with.
National Relay Service
For callers who are d/Deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech impairment.
TTY/Voice Calls: Phone 133 677 and ask them to contact the number of the service you want to connect with.
Speak and Listen: Phone 1300 555 727 and ask them to contact the number of the service you want to connect with.
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