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Issue No. 413 May 2017

Videos tackle sex assault myths

A new series of Police videos aims to encourage victims of sexual assault to come forward, while debunking myths surrounding the reporting process.

Detective Senior Sergeant Anthony Tebbutt and Michelle Carlile-Alkhouri at work on the videos.
Photo: Stephen Matthews, Ten One

The ten videos – produced by the Public Affairs team at PNHQ - take a step-by-step look at what happens when a victim reports a sexual assault to Police.

“It takes courage to come forward and tell us what has happened and we hope that this will help people by showing them what happens throughout the process,” says Detective Superintendent Tim Anderson, National Manager Criminal Investigation.

One video - Reporting Sexual Assault to Police – covers how to report; first interview; emotional support; medical check-up and formal interview. These five steps are also available as separate videos.

There are videos on Why People Don’t Report Sexual Assault and Sexual Consent, in which university students share their views; and two ‘quick facts’ videos on Sexual Violence and Sexual Consent, both featuring GP and forensic examiner Dr Cathy Stephenson.

“We know only around one in ten victims reports sexual assault,” says Tim. “That needs to change. A good place to start is by showing victims what’s actually involved in the reporting process.

“Knowing what to expect can debunk myths and alleviate fears. That’s our aim.”

The videos highlight the partnership between Police and support agencies, which helps ensure victims get the support they need.

They can be found on the Police YouTube channel and the ‘Victims of rape or sexual assault’ section at police.govt.nz. The website provides information and support agency contacts and features an online survey where victims are can give feedback on their reporting experience.

The videos were released in Rape Awareness Week (1-7 May), but it is hoped they will be a useful ongoing resource and reach those who can benefit most.

Video director Michelle Carlile-Alkhouri says it was a heartfelt project for all involved.

“A huge number of people - within and outside of Police - have contributed their time, knowledge and energy to create these resources, both for Police and for others working in the sexual assault sector.”

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