I Am Under 18

If you are under the age of 18 and have been sexually assaulted or have experienced family violence, getting help and talking to someone might seem like a scary and nerve wracking task. SECASA provides counselling for all young people, and best of all its completely free and voluntary.

If you’d like to get some more information on our service, please call us on this 24/7 hotline: 1800 806 292

You might have some questions about how to support yourself or a friend who has been assaulted.

What counts as sexual assault?

Sexual violence includes any behaviour of a sexual nature which:

  • is unwanted
  • occurs without the victim’s consent
  • makes the victim feel uncomfortable or afraid

This behaviour can take various forms including:

  • Putting a penis, object or other body part (e.g. finger) in the victim’s vagina or anus, or putting a penis in the victim’s mouth without consent
  • Contact between the mouth and genitals without consent
    Touching, fondling or kissing or being forced to touch the abuser
  • Being pressured or forced to look at, or pose for, pornographic photos/videos.
  • Exhibitionism (i.e. making the victim watch while the abuser performs sexual acts)
  • Unwanted sexual talking, innuendo or harassment

A person cannot consent to a sexual act if they:

  • Were forced or threatened to engage in a sexual act
  • Were asleep or unconscious
  • Highly intoxicated or affected by the influence of another drug, that they were incapable of agreeing to a sexual act
  • Did not understand the sexual nature of the act
  • Were mistaken about the sexual nature of the act
  • Were mistaken about the identity of the person performing it.
  • Believed mistakenly that the act was being performed for medical or hygienic purposes.
I’ve been sexually assaulted — what do I do?

this may be yours or someone else’s home, a hospital or police station

a school counsellor, a parent, a teacher or a sports coach

write down all details of the incident that you remember this includes: time and date, location, physical characteristics of the person who caused harm, and any identifiable information you may know of that person. This may be important if you choose to formally report the incident to the Police.

Will my parents find out?

As a person under 18, most things that are discussed in a counselling session will be confidential. However confidentiality may not be possible for some things when you report sexual assault or abuse. We will always encourage you to talk about your experience with an adult that you feel safe with, being supported by others in this difficult time can be very helpful and important.

Who may need to be told?

The law says that some professionals have to make a report to DHHS Child Protection or relevant health services if they believe a person under 18 is at risk of harm to themselves or another person. This is called Mandatory Reporting. This law applies to medical doctors, nurses, teachers, school principals and the police.

All adults in Victoria are obligated to report suspicions or proven instances of childhood sexual abuse.

When one of these people makes a report, other professionals are brought in to help and make sure you are safe. They will know about what happened to you. Sometimes your parents may need to be told about what is going on.

If you are under the care of DHHS Child Protection, they will be told because they are your legal guardian .

Do I have to tell the police?

It is up to you whether you make a statement to the police about a sexual assault. It is also your choice whether or not you have a forensic medical examination.

Sometimes people who care about you really want you to report to police, or really push for you to have a medical examination. You are the one who has to go through the process, so it is important that you are the one who decides these things.

SECASA provides 24/7 crisis counselling and can provide you with information about your options, including reporting to the police.

  • Reporting Options

  • Forensic Examination Process

  • Medical and Legal Rights

What is a forensic medical examination?

If you decide to report the assault to police, you may be asked if you agree to evidence being collected during a medical examination to help police with their case. This is called a forensic medical examination. Depending on your age, your parents may need to give consent.

Specially trained doctors carry out forensic medical examinations. They are called a Forensic Medical Officer. These doctors work in the Victorian Forensic Paediatric Medical Services and look after young people under 18 years of age.

Useful Contacts

Maybe you don’t feel ready to talk about your sexual assault just yet, but you’d like to chat to someone about how you’ve been feeling. There is plenty of general online mental health support for young people available:


Kids Helpline – Free, confidential counselling service available any time of the day or night by phone or webchat.

1800 55 1800

Beyond Blue – Call or chat online with a trained mental health professional any time of the day or night.

 1300 22 4636

headspace – Online and telephone support service that helps young people who don’t feel ready to attend a headspace centre or who prefer to talk about their problems via online chat, email or on the phone.

1800 650 890

Online forums

Beyond Blue
The Beyond Blue forums are a supportive place to connect with people who are going through similar experiences to you. You can read other people’s stories, ask for advice or share your own experience.

Reach Out –
ReachOut Forums is a supportive, safe and anonymous space where people care about what’s happening for you, because they’ve been there too.


Reach OutUse ReachOut.com to figure things out and make life better. The website offers information and other resources designed specifically for young people.

Kids HelplineThe website has information and services to support young people through any problems – big or small.

headspaceThe website has information and services to support a young person going through a tough time.
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