Queensland's Police and Emergency Services Minister has urged all teen victims of sexual assault to come forward after this week's The Courier-Mail story highlighted the harrowing stories of sexual assault of teenage girls by their male counterparts.

Many young victims reported feeling guilty, scared or even unsure if they had been abused, prompting Minister Mark Ryan to reiterate the importance of reaching out for help.

"Any of these allegations are distressing," Minister Ryan said.

Police Minister Mark Ryan has urged any victims to come forward and reach out for support. Picture: Tertius Pickard
Police Minister Mark Ryan has urged any victims to come forward and reach out for support. Picture: Tertius Pickard

"I reinforce those messages to people to reach out for support and help, but also understand that the Queensland Police Service has specialist officers. They're well trained, they have good support services to support anyone who comes forward.

"People need to respect each other, and at the heart of it, if they did they wouldn't be committing these crimes against fellow students or other Queenslanders, so that's very important."

Queensland school students, some as young as 12, this week shared their own heartbreaking stories of sexual assault, rape and online sexual abuse as near 30,000 people signed a petition calling for sexual consent education to be introduced at all schools in the country, from a young age.

In one story, a girl recalled how she was raped in Year 9 by a Year 10 student from a nearby school.

She spoke about the tragic moments that followed, where she was accused of "asking for it", and being "too drunk".

While in another instance, a 17-year-old Brisbane girl talked of the moment a 17-year-old boy at her high school graduation party "grabbed and pinned (her) down (before she) was raped and left bleeding between (her) legs, robbed of (her) virginity."

The confronting stories come as kids advocacy group, Act for Kids, reports a growing demographic of children are exhibiting sexually harmful behaviours towards other kids across Queensland.

The organisation was last year forced to open two new sexual assault centres for young people - in Gladstone and Rockhampton - in response to growing numbers of sexually assaulted children and children exhibiting sexually reactive behaviour.

"That's young people presenting with sexually harmful behaviours, which is often in front of other young children," Executive Director Stephen Beckett said.

"We know a lot of that is coming from the fact their sex education comes from what they are watching online, including pornography websites."

Young children are requiring support due to their inappropriate sexual behaviours, say lead child safety experts.
Young children are requiring support due to their inappropriate sexual behaviours, say lead child safety experts.

Boys as young as eight are accessing support services because of their inappropriate sexual behaviours.

In one instance, a young teenager choked a girl during his first sexual experience because he had learnt it from porn.

"She freaked out, he freaked out and he was quite confused because he just thought that was what happened (in sex) because of the type of content that he was watching," Mr Beckett said. 

The sexual assault and rape of young people was "terribly challenging and confronting" and "a heinous thing" said Minister Ryan.

He believes Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll would be willing to work with schools to offer support to those who needed it.

"(She) would be very happy to work with the schools around what we can do to help support people that need the support, but also to reinforce the messages of respectful behaviour, respecting each other and doing the right thing."

Importantly, he said to all victims of sexual abuse: "Know that whenever you're ready to come forward, you will be supported."

"You don't have to come forward with a formal complaint, there are other options for people to make reports, they can be anonymous - I know that's important for some people. They can make complaints online or in person.

"Whatever approach people want to take, please know that the Queensland Police Service will support you and obviously do everything they can to hold the perpetrator to account."

A statement issued by the Queensland Police Service encouraged all victims of sexual violence to notify authorities, while acknowledging the process of reporting a sexual assault can be a confronting and difficult experience.

"As well as being able to make a formal complaint, in Queensland adult victims can access the alternative reporting option (ARO) online, which allows someone to provide information about a sexual assault, anonymously if preferred, that could assist police in solving reported offences of a similar nature.

"This option removes the need for adult victims of sexual assault to attend police stations to file a report should they not wish to do so.

"The QPS would like to reinforce to anyone who has experienced sexual violence - know that police will listen, we will investigate, while respecting your wishes, privacy, health and safety needs, regardless of when the offence occurred."

If you would like to report a non-urgent matter involving sexual assault or rape, you can do so by phoning Policelink on 131444, or visiting online at police.qld.gov.au

 

Always phone triple 0 in an emergency.


Originally published as Police Minister's message to teen rape victims