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
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”.
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.