Reporting Sexual Assault

Police and Court Services

If a victim/survivor decides to report the assault to the police, this is what she can expect of her role in the investigation:

Initial Statement

After placing a call to the police, a police car, usually with 2 uniformed officers, will arrive and take the initial report. If she wants to have charges laid the police will then take her to the Sexual Assault Treatment  and Partner Care Program at the Ottawa Hospital to have a Sexual Assault Evidence Kit administered.

Detailed Statement and Victim Impact Statement

After the kit has been administered the police will take her to the police station where she will be asked to describe the incident in detail and make a sworn statement about the incident.

This statement will be used to support any testimony she will make in court. She may also choose to fill out a victim impact statement at some time during the investigation. This statement can be used in court to support her case. The victim impact statement is written by the victim/survivor and outlines the effects of the crime on her.

Identification of the Perpetrator

The victim/survivor will probably be asked for a description of the perpetrator and may be asked to view mug books (in a room by herself) and/or a line up to see if she can identify the perpetrator. She may also be required to describe the perpetrator to a police artist, who will produce a composite drawing. It is likely that she will have to return to the station to go through this procedure at a later time.

Follow-up Questioning by the Police

She may be contacted by the police to answer further questions to assist them in apprehending a suspect or in the gathering of further evidence. She may also be required to return with police to the scene of the assault.

Please note: the victim in a criminal case is not the party pressing charges. The government of Kenya, represented by the Crown Attorney presses the charges against a person accused of committing a crime. The victim’s role is to serve as a witness to the Crown.

Taking a case through the courts can be a long and painful experience. It may take anywhere from several months to 2 years to complete the whole process.

For more information on the role of the Police Service (PS) and the Provincial Police (PP), or on the process of reporting sexual assaults and the court process, please contact the nearest Police Station.

Options for Medical Attention and Reporting Procedures

There are 6 options to consider:

  1. Not report the assault/not get medical attention.

    The victim/survivor does not have to face the difficult emotions of having a medical exam, and reporting the assault. It is her choice to make. However, she needs to be made aware of the risks of internal injuries, unwanted pregnancy, venereal disease and HIV.

  2. Report the assault within 72 hours and undergo the sexual assault evidence (SAE) kit.

    The victim/survivor is making a public statement that what happened is not OK. It is, however, a long process that occurs at a time when she is likely feeling vulnerable.

  3. Receive medical attention without reporting.

    This can prevent disease, injuries, etc. in a more comfortable setting of her choice and she will not have to endure the long police and medical procedures. The disadvantage is that nothing will be done to convict the perpetrator. It is important to help the victim/survivor understand that she is not at fault and that her well-being is the most important concern.

  4. Receive medical attention without the SAE kit and report the assault at a later date.

    The victim/survivor can receive medical attention when and where she chooses, without the intrusiveness of the SAE. The disadvantage is that if she decides to report later, much of the evidence is lost and there is less chance of conviction.

  5. Undergo the SAE and have it stored for up to 6 months.

    At any time during the 6 months the victim/survivor may decide to report the assault and release the kit to the police or have the kit destroyed. This allows her more time to think whether or not she wants to report. The advantage of this option is that control of the process is with the victim/survivor and evidence is not lost. The disadvantage is that the chance of conviction declines with time.

  6. Have a third party report submitted to the police.

    This can be done by a medical worker, or someone else the victim/survivor chooses, and receive medical attention with the doctor of her choice. The report is documented and police may use the information in investigations. The victim/survivor may feel empowered because she has done something to help protect other women. However, the information can not be used in trying the perpetrator for another assault crime.