Launched on Tuesday, a new app – the Crime Stoppers-style Sexual Assault Report Anonymously (SARA) app – lets victims submit details of an attack anonymously, anywhere in Australia. It is hoped the app will encourage more women to report rape and other sex attacks.
Victoria’s leading organisation on sexual assault, The Centre Against Sexual Assault, commissioned the app after several women reported being attacked near where Jill Meagher disappeared in Brunswick last September.
The app is an alternative for people who do not want to go to the police. It allows victims to supply footage of an attack as well as the GPS coordinates where it occurred.
The Centre’s head, Carolyn Worth, says:
“Hopefully this will encourage people to report information anonymously that will go towards helping police track offenders and making an area safer.”
The app is available for iPhones, iPads and Android. Its reporting system will identify patterns of crime and track serial offending before data is handed over to local police.
Before entering a description of the attacker and a summary of what happened, the app asks users to categorise the incident as:
Using GPS technology to pinpoint the time and location of an attack, victims can submit a photo and audio or video footage up to 60 seconds. Counselling services are also available through the app.
Carolyn Worth said trials had been positive.
The Victoria Police Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Team welcomed the app and is working out the best way to analyse and respond to data collected.