No Time Limit for Reporting

There is no time limit for you to go to the police and report a sexual assault. You can report a sexual assault months or years after the incident, however the sooner you make the report the greater the chances the police will find and preserve evidence linking the accused to the crime.

If you decide not to report the sexual assault immediately, you may want to write down what you remember about the sexual assault in as much detail as possible. You will be able to refer to this information if you decide to make a report some time in the future.

If you think you may want to report to the police, but want to give yourself time to consider reporting and it is within 7 days of a sexual assault, you may wish to access the services of the Sexual Assault Response Team at the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre’s clinic or Victoria General Hospital. The Sexual Assault Response Team can provide forensic evidence collection that will be held for up to a year while you consider your reporting options. During this time, you would have the opportunity to meet with a specialized nurse and a support worker from our centre.

The Legal Process

Police Report

If you decide to make a police report, the information below may help to anticipate what will be required. A Victim Service Worker can also help with making this decision and support you through the process. Making a police statement often involves the police conducting an audio-visual statement at the police station, and may also require a written statement in your own words.

Deciding to involve the police is an important decision which should be considered carefully. It is an individual decision on whether to make a report. Our Victim Service Workers and counsellors will never pressure you into a decision. It is not your responsibility to keep the community safe from the person who hurt you. You are not responsible for the person who sexually assaulted you.

Here are some things to help you with this decision-making process:

  • Once you make a statement to the police, the investigation and direction of the case is in the hands of the police. Please note that in intimate partner relationships, the police may decide to continue with investigating even if you change your mind.
  • After the investigation, the police may forward a report to Crown Counsel (a lawyer representing the province or Crown). Based on the evidence, the Crown Counsel decides to proceed with the case or not.
  • If the case proceeds to court, you may be called as a witness to describe your experience of the sexual assault. Going to court is a very individual experience; some people are empowered to have their story heard, and to face their abuser in court, while others can find it to be a difficult experience. In any event, a Victim Service Worker from the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre to assist and support you during this process.

Information Only Report

If you decide that you do not want to be directly involved in the legal process, a survivor may provide the police with a statement about the crime but with the wish for it to not be investigated. The police will usually respect the wishes of the survivor and not investigate the crime. However, in some cases, such as public safety, current child protection, and in intimate partner relationships, the police can override the survivors’ wishes and investigate. A Victim Service Worker is able to talk further about this option if it is of interest to you.

Third Party Report

In some cases, survivors do have the option to make a third party report which is an anonymous report.  With a third party report, the survivor would sit down with a Victim Service Worker from the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre and fill out a form detailing the offense but not including their own name. The Victim Service Worker would then provide this form to police.  This kind of report is not investigated and will not become part of official police statistics, but it does inform the police that an assault has occurred and the details may be relevant to another investigation. You can decide if you would like to be contacted in the future if the police have other information about assaults that may have been perpetrated by the same person, or connected in some way. It is important to note, this report would not protect your safety as it is anonymous.

No Police Involvement

Not involving the police is a right that you have as a survivor. There are many reasons why not involving the police may be the right decision for you. Parents, partners and friends may not understand your decision due to their own feelings and thoughts. Remember, you know what is best for you at this time and only you can make this important decision. Often survivors may feel pressured to report to prevent the person who sexually assaulted them from hurting others- this is not your responsibility. Your responsibility is to make the best decision for yourself and your healing.


If the police investigate, they will turn their reports over to the Crown Counsel, a lawyer who represents the Crown at the trial. The Crown Counsel is not your lawyer. However, you are considered a key witness for the Crown at these proceedings. The Crown Counsel will schedule meetings to inform you of courtroom procedure and the questions you may be asked. You will likely feel better about the court process if you are supported and informed throughout it. In most areas, a Victim Service Worker is available to accompany you to meetings, to the trial, and to help prepare you for your role as witness.