New portal for NSW victims to report rape

Sexual assault victims in NSW will no longer need to print 14 pages to make an anonymous, online police report.

NSW Police's revamp of the Sexual Assault Reporting Option was welcomed by abuse survivor Harrison James but he wished it had come sooner.

"I didn't come forward for almost a decade," he said on Friday.

"If I had this online platform, I could have recorded and then come back to it later and it might have made those steps a little bit easier."

The reporting option, first launched in 2012, had required victim-survivors to print and complete a 14-page document and then email it to the State Crime Command's Sex Crimes Squad.

The redeveloped system will, from Friday, allow victims to make reports in their own time without prompting a criminal investigation.

The online form allows victims to upload images from dating websites and elsewhere and answer questions tailored to their experience, in English and 11 other languages.

Reports can be anonymous. They will only prompt an investigation if the victim decides on that course, or if they are under 18 due to mandatory reporting requirements.

"There's this opportunity to take back something that was taken from us," Mr James said.

"Today's the day where you are seen, you are heard and loved."

Police hope to see a large spike in reports following the launch of the new portal.

The current tool is used about 16 times a week, up from 15 a week in 2021.

Only 20 per cent of sexual assault crimes are reported to the police, according to Full Stop Australia.

"People aren't always aware of this, this kind of tool," Full Stop Australia spokesman Tara Hunter said.

"A whole range of choices and information in our community creates better access and better encouragement for people to come forward for support in whatever way they choose."

The revamp comes almost two years after former Sydney schoolgirl Chanel Contos launched a petition around consent education and started publishing thousands of anonymous stories shared by young women about the assault and abuse they suffered during their school years.

Police acknowledged at the time the paper reporting option could be difficult to complete as survivors are asked to remember in detail what happened to them.

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