By Nikki Papatsoumas
A series of YouTube videos have been created in an effort to encourage victims of rape or sexual assault to step forward.
The release of the videos by the New Zealand Police coincided with Rape Awareness Week which took place earlier this month.
Police hope the videos, which take a step-by-step look at what happens when a person reports a sexual assault, will help victims to come forward.
“It takes courage to come forward, to tell us what has happened,” says Detective Superintendent Tim Anderson.
“We know that sexual assault is grossly underreported for a variety of reasons, including not knowing what happens after you report an assault or fear of the process.
Anderson says these videos show what’s actually involved in the reporting process.
There are ten videos in total, six covering the reporting process and four that focus on consent, myths about sexual violence and some of the reasons why people don’t report sexual assaults to police.
“Knowing what to expect can debunk myths and alleviate fears and that’s our aim,” he says.
“We hope by releasing these videos we will help people by showing them what happens throughout the process.”
The videos also highlight the vital working partnership police has with support agencies in the area of reporting sexual assault. This collaboration helps ensure victims get the emotional or medical support that they may need following a sexual assault.
“Reporting sexual assault isn’t easy,” he says. “We want victims to know that they will be treated with respect and that we will do everything we can to support them throughout the process.”
Anderson says police hope they will be a useful ongoing resource and reach those who can benefit most from the information they provide.
“There is always more work to be done and improvements to be made in how we do things. These videos are another step in the right direction.”
- The videos can be accessed via the Police YouTube channel and the Sexual Assault section of the police website.