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Criminal & traffic law

Sexual harm

If you’ve experienced sexual harm

You can report sexual harm at any time. This could be if someone is threatening you with sexual harm, if they attempt the harm, immediately after it happens, or years later.

Sexual harm in person

Reporting immediately

If you want to report sexual harm to the police straight away, call 111. The police will suggest that you avoid doing anything that will destroy evidence of what happened – this includes things like showering, going to the toilet and washing the clothes you were wearing.

If you agree, the police will organise a medical examination with a specially trained doctor. They will collect any evidence and treat any health concerns or injuries. For more information on this medical examination, go to www.sexualviolence.victimsinfo.govt.nz and select “telling police”.

Reporting later

If you want to report something that happened in the past, call your nearest police station to make an appointment, or visit the station in person to speak to an officer. If you go in-person, you won’t have to make an appointment.

If your nearest police station isn’t open when you call, there will be a message telling you which other nearby stations are open.

The first step of making the report will be a private conversation with a police officer. You can bring a support person with you if you want to, or ask for the police to provide you with one. This will be someone from a dedicated sexual assault support service.

You don’t have to tell your whole story in this first conversation – the police officer’s role here is to figure out the best way forward in your situation. They will take brief notes of what has happened to help them decide who you should speak to next.

What happens next

After your initial conversation with the police, a specialist detective will be assigned to your case. They will carry out a formal interview and investigate the case. They should keep you informed throughout their investigation.

Once the police have all the evidence and have spoken to the relevant people, they’ll decide whether to make an arrest and press charges. For more information on the formal interview and investigation, go to www.sexualviolence.victimsinfo.govt.nz and select “telling police”.

Sexual harm online

Recording the posts or comments

If harmful images, videos, or comments about you have been shared online, you should take screenshots of the content before you report it. Take a note of the URL if there is one, and the time the message or post was sent. This way, you’ll have evidence of the harm after the post or message has been removed.

Reporting the posts or comments

You should first report the incident to the platform it is on – for example, Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram. You can report the profile or account of any person who has shared the content and report individual posts they have made.

You should also report the incident to NetSafe, which is the main organisation set up to deal with harmful digital communication complaints. Even though it’s been appointed by the government, it’s an independent organisation. NetSafe will help you get the online content removed if it hasn’t been already, and offer free advice about what to do next. For more information on reporting an incident to NetSafe, go to netsafe.org.nz, and click “Make a Report”.

NetSafe can contact the police on your behalf to investigate the incident, or you can contact the police directly yourself. The police are responsible for the formal investigation.

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Bullying, harassment and sexual harm

Where to go for more support

Community Law

Your local Community Law Centre can provide you with free initial legal advice.

Find your local Community Law Centre online: www.communitylaw.org.nz/our-law-centres

Victims Information

Victims Information is managed by the Ministry of Justice and provides links to a range of services available to help victims deal with the practical and emotional effects of the crime.

Website: www.victimsinfo.govt.nz
Phone: 0800 650 654

NZ Police

The police provide a list of phone counselling services and websites that can help victims of bullying and cyberbullying.

Website: www.police.govt.nz/about-site/other-sites/no-bully-website

Harassment and bullying in the workplace

The Worksafe New Zealand website has information and guidance about workplace bullying.

Website: www.worksafe.govt.nz/topic-and-industry/bullying-prevention-toolbox

Te Kāhui Tika Tangata/Human Rights Commission

The Human Rights Commission website provides information about human rights in Aotearoa and outlines how you can make a complaint to the Commission.

Website: tikatangata.org.nz or www.hrc.co.nz
Email: infoline@hrc.co.nz
Phone: 0800 496 877 (0800 4 YOUR RIGHTS)

Information on racial harassment: www.hrc.co.nz/files/6714/2354/5062/24-Nov-2009_16-20-38_RacialHarassment-web.pdf

To make a complaint online, download a complaint form or find out more about the complaints process: tikatangata.org.nz/resources-and-support/make-a-complaint

YouthLaw Aotearoa

YouthLaw provides free legal advice for young people throughout New Zealand. Their website provides great information for young people about the law around harassment and bullying.

Website: www.youthlaw.co.nz
Email: nzyouthlaw@gmail.com
Phone: 0800 UTHLAW (0800 884 529)



NetSafe provides free and confidential help if you’ve been bullied, abused or harassed online. NetSafe has been appointed by the government to be a free information service and complaints agency under the Harmful Digital Communications Act.

Website: www.netsafe.org.nz
Email: help@netsafe.org.nz
Phone: 0508 NETSAFE (0508 638 723)
Text: “Netsafe” to 4282

Ministry of Justice – applying for a Harmful Digital Communications Order

See the Ministry of Justice website for information about applying to a District Court judge for a “take down” order or other type of action when you’ve suffered serious emotional distress because of cyberbullying.

Website: www.justice.govt.nz/courts/civil/harmful-digital-communications/applying-for-a-harmful-digital-communications-order

NOTE: Before you apply to the court you must have complained to NetSafe.

Support for sexual harassment and assault

Wellington Rape Crisis

Wellington Rape Crisis provides free social work and counselling services to survivors, along with their friends, family, whānau and supporters.

Website: wellingtonrapecrisis.org.nz
Phone: 04 801 8973
Email: support@wellingtonrapecrisis.org.nz


HELP has been Auckland’s specialist provider of sexual abuse support services since 1982.

Website: www.helpauckland.org.nz
Email: gethelp@helpauckland.org.nz
Phone: 0800 623 1700
Instagram: www.instagram.com/helpauckland

Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Aotearoa

Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Aotearoa aims to enable all male survivors of sexual abuse to access a national network of a high quality support services.

Website: malesurvivor.nz

Contact your local support organisation: malesurvivor.nz/contact

Safe to Talk

Safe to Talk offers free confidential contact with a trained specialist at any time, day or night, seven days a week.

Website: safetotalk.nz
Email: support@safetotalk.nz
Phone: 0800 044 334
Text: 4334

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