Monday, 27 June 2011 3:38pm
Police investigate every report of sexual assault
The Advertiser newspaper today ran a front page article Justice Disabled" (27/6/2011) by Miles Kemp which claims "crimes are not even investigated because police believe cases involving severely disabled victims are too hard to prosecute". This is WRONG.
The Advertiser's Editorial also stated that the "severely disabled can be raped with little likelihood of a proper investigation". This implies a lack of resolve on the part of police as such the inference is offensive and inappropriate.
Police thoroughly investigate EVERY report of sexual assault, regardless of any intellectual or physical disabilities a victim may have.
We acknowledge the investigative process can be challenging when dealing with victims with intellectual and some physical disabilities, however our officers make every effort to obtain evidence.
This includes forensic medical examinations, physical examination of the scene and interviews with alleged victims and witnesses who may be able to corroborate evidence.
Investigators from our Family Violence Investigation Section along with specially trained members from our Sex Crime Investigation Branch take on these important and difficult tasks.
Police refute comments in the article that Miles Kemp attributes to Health and Community Services Complaints Commissioner, Leena Sudano, that police have failed to investigate five cases of alleged sexual assault against those with an intellectual disability.
Police have spoken with Ms Sudano and she cannot provide specific details of any sexual assault cases that police have failed to investigate.
You need to know that SA Police are committed to protecting society's most vulnerable groups, including children, the elderly and people with disabilities, from sexual assault. It is important however that carers for these groups fulfil their obligations and report allegations to police as soon as possible so we can do our job.
The prospect of an arrest and prosecution is higher when crimes are reported early. For example forensic medical examinations can generally obtain better evidence, such as DNA, immediately after an assault, rather than days later.
Examinations and interviews are carried out with the utmost care and consideration to the trauma that victims face following an assault of this nature. Victim Contact officers specially qualified in these matters are on hand to assist and care for those involved.
Claims by The Advertiser that the "system is not trying hard enough to bring the perpetrators to justice" is an insult to those police who specialise in this difficult area of investigation.