Bob Wiese

Bob Wiese


    Launch of round-the-clock police sexual assault squad

    26/06/1996 12:00 AM



    The new police sexual assault squad will be on-call around the clock to assist victims of sexual attacks.


    Launching the new squad today, Police Minister Bob Wiese said that often the investigating police officer became an ally and a shoulder to cry on for victims of a sexual attack.


    "Police involved in this specialist squad are skilled, caring professionals who are committed to helping people who have been abused," Mr Wiese said.


    "Their roles go far beyond that of just investigating an incident and they often become confidants who assist victims to rebuild their lives by encouraging them and directing them to the various professional support agencies."


    Mr Wiese said the 18-member squad would help ensure that victims of sexual attacks received the best possible assistance and care during the traumatic period following an incident and that all possible police resources would be co-ordinated to quickly catch those people responsible.


    "Setting up the squad acknowledges the high priority that the police service has placed on not only solving, but deterring sex attacks from taking place in the first place," he said.


    "In the last 12 months, this has been evident with a 16 per cent drop in the number of attacks and a four per cent increase on an already extremely high clearance rate on reported offences."


    During July - March 1994-95 there were 2,329 reported sex offences. The police clearance rate was 93 per cent of those reported offences.


    This clearance rate was increased up to 97 per cent during July-March 1995-96 and the number of attacks dropped to 1,950.


    "People are less likely to commit a crime if they believe they will be caught and maintaining this high clearance rate is an important deterrent for this atrocious type of crime," Mr Wiese said.


    The Minister said Government crime prevention programs had recently focussed on educating the public about taking precautions on how to minimise the risk of an attack. One brochure entitled 'Safer Living - Preventing Sexual Assault' provided valuable information for women regarding safety in the home, car and in public.


    "Everyone has a role to play in trying to prevent a crime from happening in the first place and I would urge all women to take the time to read the information, because it could prevent another attack and another innocent victim," Mr Wiese said.


    Media contact: Mark Thompson 222 9595