This article discusses sexual assault.
If you’re currently in distress, please head to 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732) for support.
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 when you are forced, coerced or tricked into doing something sexual that you don't want to. It covers a wide range of unwanted sexual behaviours that can involve strangers, people you know, partners or family. 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. They can also help you decide whether or not you want to report the offender to the police, or take some other kind of action.
What to do if you've been sexually assaulted
If you think you have been sexually assaulted, it’s not something you have to cope with on your own. Check out our article on what you can do if you think you have been sexually assaulted.
Here are some things you can do straight away:
- Make sure you are physically and psychologically safe. This could mean calling 000 immediately, or a helpline, like 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732), for emotional support.
- Talk to a trusted adult - like a parent or guardian - or a friend for help. If you are finding it hard to work up the courage to start the conversation, check out our article on talking to someone you trust for some tips.
- Visit a hospital, your GP clinic, or in some cases a sexual assault support service. If you have been sexually assaulted recently, a doctor could provide you with emergency contraception, or test for sexually transmitted diseases. They might also talk to you about having a rape kit, which is where they try to take samples of your perpetrator’s DNA from your clothes and body
You might also want to take action against your perpetrator, so they feel justice for they did to you. For more advice, read our article on how to take action against your perpetrator.
Remember: sexual assault is not your fault. The only person responsible for what happened is the perpetrator. There is also no ‘right’ way to respond to sexual assault. Every survivor’s recovery from sexual assault will look different. It’s important that, even if you seek help or guidance from other people, you choose what happens next.
Sexual assault support services
National sexual assault support
Provides confidential sexual assault and family and domestic violence counselling via phone and webchat.
Phone: 1800 737 732. Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Provides 24/7 telephone and face-to-face counselling for people impacted by institutional child sexual abuse. This means adults who were sexually assaulted as a child at an institution — like a school, church, club, or children’s home — or by someone who worked at one of those places — like a teacher, a religious figure, or a camp leader — for example. The counselling is offered to survivors, as well as other people impacted, like parents or professionals.
Phone: 1800 211 028. Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Telephone and online support, as well as information and referrals, for anyone in Australia who is or has experienced domestic or family violence, or those who support them.
Phone: 1800 943 539. Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Provides 24/7 telephone trauma counselling from counsellors who have completed specialist training to support anyone in Australia who is from the LGBTIQ+ community and has recently or in the past experienced sexual, domestic or family violence. The service also provides telephone support to family members, friends and supporters, or professionals who are impacted by violence targeted towards the LGBTIQ+ community.
Phone: 1800 497 212. Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
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.
Phone: 1300 657 380. Available 9 am to 5 pm AEST, seven days a week.
Bravehearts provides counselling and survivor support services for anyone who has been affected by child sexual assault. For more information, or to talk to Bravehearts about receiving free counselling, you can contact their confidential support service.
Phone: 1800 272 831. Available 8.30 am to 4.30 pm, Monday to Friday.
New South Wales
Provides 24/7 telephone and online trauma counselling for anyone in NSW whose life has been impacted by sexual violence, including survivors, as well as their friends, families and supporters. They also provide support to others who have been impacted by this violence, including professionals such as police or journalists.
Phone: 1800 424 017. Available 9 am to 5 pm AEST, seven days a week.
A 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 living in NSW, or who were abused in NSW and live interstate or overseas.
Phone: 1800 472 676. Available 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday.
CASA is the main organisation that helps manage 15 Centres Against Sexual Assault in Victoria and the after hours Victorian Sexual Assault Crisis Line. You can 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. Available 9 am to 5pm.
A free, statewide, after-hours telephone criss counselling service for people in Victoria who have experienced sexual assault/violence.
Phone: 1800 806 292. Available 5 pm to 9 am on weekdays, and all day on weekend and public holidays.
Provides phone-based support and counselling to any Queenslander who has, or thinks they may have, been sexually assaulted or abused.
Phone: 1800 010 120. Available from 7.30 am to 11.30 pm, seven days a week.
Womensline is a free and confidential telephone crisis helpline to support Queensland women who want to escape domestic violence. They can provide domestic violence survivors with emergency transport, emergency accommodation, crisis counselling, safety planning, and safe accommodation for pets.
Phone: 1800 811 811. Available 24 hours, seven days a week.
Mensline is a free and confidential telephone crisis counselling, referral and support service for men living in Queensland.
Phone: 1800 600 636. Available from 9 am to midnight, seven days a week.
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 Brisbane, as well as telephone counselling to men throughout Queensland.
Phone: (07) 3028 4648 counselling in South East Queensland, as well as national phone and web-based counselling.
A directory of local support services throughout Queensland from Queensland Health.
Provides services, including emergency services and emergency crisis counselling, to people over the age of 13 affected by sexual violence.
You can telephone SARC for emergency help any time of the day or night following a sexual assault.
Phone: (08) 6458 1828 or 1800 199 888 (free from landlines).
If you are in crisis emotionally, you can speak to a SARC counsellor over the telephone between 8.30am and 11pm, seven days a week.
After 4.30pm, your call will be answered by an after-hours service, and a counsellor will call you back if the situation is an emergency.
Australian Capital Territory
Face-to-face support services for survivors of sexual abuse, assault or harassment. There is also crisis phone support available.
Phone: (02) 6247 2525. Crisis phone support available from 7 am to 11 pm, seven days a week.
Text only: 0488 586 518
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.
Phone: (02) 6247 2525. Crisis phone support available from 7 am to 11 pm, seven days a week.
A list of free sexual assault support clinics in the Northern Territory provided within the territory’s public health system. This includes a centre in Darwin and Alice Springs, which both provide 24/7 phone support (see below).
A centre based in Casuarina that provides both phone and face-to-face support and counselling services.
Phone: (08) 8922 6472. Phone support is available 8 am to 4.30 pm Monday.
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 (from 8am to 4.21pm Monday to Friday)
After hours line: 0401 114 181
A not-for-profit providing counselling services for young people aged 12-25, and their families. Available for recent and past sexual abuse and assault. Counselling service fees depend on how much income you earn, and if you earn less than $25,000 a year, cost as little as $5 a session.
Phone: (08) 8202 5060 . Available 9 am to 5 pm on weekdays.
A public health agency responding to rape and sexual assault in South Australia for people aged 16 years and over at the time of the sexual assault. 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: 1800 817 421
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. They provide a 24/7 support hotline, as well as free counselling, training and education.
Phone: 1800 697 877. Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Translation services and help for people with disabilities
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.
For callers who are d/Deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech impairment.
TTY users/Voice Calls: Phone 133 677 and ask them to contact the number of the service you want to connect with.
Speak and Listen (speech-to-speech relay): Phone 1300 555 727 and ask them to contact the number of the service you want to connect with.
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