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After a crime is reported to police, there is a police investigation.
The police will:
- take a statement from you. This is different to reporting the crime.
- take statements from other witnesses
- collect evidence related to the crime.
There may be times when you think nothing is happening, but an investigation can take some time. The law says that you have a right to be kept up to date with how the investigation is going. Read more about getting information about the investigation.
During the police investigation, it’s also important to keep in touch with people who are there to support you.
Investigating Family Violence
Family violence is a crime. If you report family violence, it will be taken seriously by the police and courts.
Police will investigate what happened. They will collect evidence at the scene of the crime or when the report is made.
After the investigation, the police will decide if there is enough evidence to lay charges against the person.
While all of this is happening, the police will make sure you and your family are kept safe.
When family violence is reported, police always think about safety first.
. The police will make sure you are safe by:
- helping you and your family leave safely
- organising a safe place for you to stay if you need it
- staying at the house until you and your family are safe.
When working out the best way to keep you safe, the police think about:
- the level of fear experienced by you and your family
- the level and nature of the violence
- if the incident might get worse
- if children are there
- the presence of or access to firearms or other weapons
- if there has been threats of suicide or murder
- if the people involved need extra care, like for pregnancy or recent separation
- any history of family violence.
These things help police decide how to keep you and your family safe in the future.
The police may also decide to apply for an intervention order if your safety or property or is in danger.
In some cases, criminal charges may also be laid.
Even if the police do not charge the person, they will still do something.
Investigating Sexual Offences
When you report a sexual assault to police, your health and safety come first.
If you go to a police station to report a sexual assault, a police officer will:
- take you to a safe and private interview room
- ask you questions and gather as much information as possible.
Everything you tell police is confidential. They will give you information to help you decide if you want to make a formal report or press charges.
If you are reporting a recent sexual assault, a police officer will take you to a crisis care unit where you will be given the option of having a medical examination. A medical examination provides important evidence that can be used to help prove the case in court.
If you decide that you do not want a medical examination, the police officer can arrange services for you such as counselling and other support. This can also be arranged when you report a sexual assault that occurred some time ago.
Mandatory reporting for children
If a child has been harmed or might be harmed as a result of physical or sexual abuse, and the parents have not, or are unlikely to, protect them from harm, police must notify the Department of Human Services and the Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Unit of Victoria Police.