If you’ve been sexually assaulted or abused and you decide you want the police to investigate what happened, you will need to make a statement . The police can’t start their investigation until you do, so the sooner you make your statement the easier it is for them to be successful with the case.
Who takes the statement?
A police person from the Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Unit or Sexual Crimes Squad will take your statement. You can say whether you would prefer to speak with a female or male police person.
Where will you make the statement?
Most statements are made at a police station but sometimes they are taken in other places for instance a hospital or a school.
If the assault was recent and you’ve been to a Crisis Care Unit
, the police at the Crisis Care Unit might make an appointment with you to make the statement later that day, or the next day.
In some circumstances, the police choose to video and audio record the statement to make it easier and quicker for the person who has been assaulted. This always happens with young children, or people who have cognitive impairment or intellectual disability.
Who can be with you?
If you are under 18, you must have an adult with you while you make your statement. This can be a parent, an adult you trust, or if you have cognitive impairment, an Independent Third Person .
Will it be comfortable at the police station?
You will make the statement in a special room, which has couches and comfy chairs. You can have something to drink, or bring some food if you think you might get hungry.
How long does it take to make a statement?
Making a statement to police can take a few hours. Depending on what happened and whether it happened once or many times, you may need to make several appointments to finish it. You can ask for breaks when you want.
Why does it take this time?
A statement is very detailed and the person taking it will need to ask you lots of questions to work out exactly what happened. This is for two reasons:
- So the police can be sure that what happened is a crime.
- So they have enough information to begin an investigation.
How is the statement done?
As you tell the police person what happened, they will sit at a computer and type what you say. They will ask you to tell them whether what they have typed is correct. It is important that you correct any mistakes the police person has made, as this is your statement. A statement is a legal document and signing it means that you agree that all the information is true and correct.
When the statement is finished, the police person will print it out. You will be asked to read it and make sure there are no mistakes. Then you will be asked to sign it. You can have a copy of it.
For a person under 18, a parent, guardian or independent third party attends the interview and will sign statements, but the police can decide to proceed without parents and guardians if there are reasons to do so.
After the statement has been taken, the police can start their investigation.