The Rights of Survivors of Rape and Sexual Assault
What are the rights of someone who has been raped or sexually assaulted? The idea of ‘rights’ is itself a bit complex. When we talk about people who have been raped or sexually assaulted, we may be referring to
- their legal rights;
- their human rights;
- their rights as a victim of crime;
- their rights as a user of a health service.
Legal rights are written into laws, or in other legal documents (such as the Constitution of a country). The term ‘legal rights’ is also sometimes used to refer to the rights a person has within the legal system.
Human rights are rights that everyone is thought to have. They apply to humans simply because they are human, regardless of who they are or where they live. They might not be written into laws.
Rights of victims of crime are one form of human rights. An agreement about the rights of victims of crime was established by the United Nations, and the Australian and South Australian Governments have agreed to follow those rights. In South Australia the Victims of Crime Act came into legislation in 2001.
Rights of users of health services are a combination of legal rights and human rights. They are drawn from many different laws at both State and Federal levels.
Yarrow Place has developed a service pamphlet for people who have been raped or sexually assaulted, which includes the rights that we believe our clients have. Service users:
- will be listened to, believed and not blamed
- will be given information about their medical, legal and counselling options in a way that is understandable
- have their right to privacy and confidentiality respected. Any limitations to this will be discussed
- can receive services for recent or past rape or sexual assaults.
Yarrow Place clients also have the right to:
- Information about service costs, availability and waiting times
- Know the name, position, experience and qualification of the worker assisting them
- Comment on or complain about services from Yarrow Place
People who report a rape or sexual assault to the police have their rights outlined in the booklet “Information for Victims of Crime”. This booklet is available at all police stations and provides comprehensive information about victim rights to fair treatment in the justice system, including a simple introduction to the legal process and information on support services.
The Yarrow Place Service Pamphlet is available.
A printed copy of the pamphlet can also be requested by contacting Yarrow Place.
'Rights and Responsibilities of Health Service Consumers' is published by the South Australian Health Commission. It provides more detail about the rights of users of health services and the laws on which they are based.
The 'Victims of Crime' bookletis available from all police stations