RLC in the Media: Alleged sexual assault guidelines and policing discussed on Blackchat Koori Radio.
RLC is calling on the NSW Police to release internal operating procedures on steps to apply when beginning an investigation into an alleged sexual assault.
Lola Forester reports for Blackchat.
RLC police accountably solicitor Samantha Lee says the release of guidelines that assist police to come to a decision where there is “insufficient admissible evidence” to prosecute a sexual assault allegation is particularly critical.
Speaking to Blackchat on Koori Radio, Samantha Lee explained that greater transparency of policing practices is needed to improve trust in policing, especially among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
"We know from past research around policing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, particularly women, that policing is not the same across the board." Samantha Lee said.
"Obviously we're hearing the worst-case scenarios because our practice is about police accountability, but some of these cases are horrific and cause a lot of distress."
Lee says police need to inform the public about what actually happens once a woman reports an alleged sexual assault to police.
"What are they required to do? What are the timeframes? When will they questions the alleged perpetrator? What are the next steps?
"At the moment, there is a lot of inconsistency in regards to the investigation process, and there's a lot of – from what we hear from our matters – some horrific scenarios where women are actually discouraged by police from actually going ahead with their allegation, and some terrible judgments made by the actual police officer.
"So I really think the Police Commissioner needs to look at the whole process, what is in place, but also to [send] a clear message to the Police Force that everyone needs to be treated equally and with dignity and respect."