PREDATORS are targeting women on the Coast in staggering amounts, with at least one sexual assault being reported each week, police say.
Sunshine Coast District Criminal Investigation Branch officer-in-charge Daren Edwards said police have been alarmed about the number of sexual assaults on the Coast.
He said only about half of all sexual assaults are generally reported due to fear or embarrassment.
Yet, he said, police have received at least one report per week.
He said the perpetrator and victim are often known to each other.
“Some of them have been relationships which have split, and the male has gone back to house and assaulted the woman,” he said.
“This adds to the emotional and psychological impact.”
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The revelation comes just over a month after a woman in her 20s was allegedly drugged and then raped in Mooloolah Valley on May 4.
“The (alleged) victim attended the offence location for a birthday party and had some drinks then became violently ill and didn’t finish her drinks,” Sgt Edwards said.
Police said she was allegedly taken to a spare room where she was stripped and raped.
The man has been charged with rape, assault and administering a drug for a sexual act.
He is due to face Caloundra Magistrates Court on August 12.
SEXUAL ASSAULT SERVICES
1. 1800 RESPECT: 1800 737 732
2. Statewide Sexual Assault Helpline 1800 010 120
3. MensLine Australia: 1300 78 99 78
4. Lifeline: 13 11 14
5. Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800
6. Relationships Australia: 1300 364 277
Sgt Edwards said the Sunshine Coast community needed to be educated about appropriate behaviour, available support and how to report a sexual assault.
He said residents should also be aware of the dangers of internet-dating such as Tinder.
“People are meeting with people in motels, units and they really do not know that person other than from internet or phone contact,” he said. “This is extremely dangerous.”
Sgt Edwards said sexual assault also often happened when victims were drunk and unable to give consent.
“The offenders are disregarding this and victims often only become aware of the assault once it is occurring. This is sexual assault without consent,” he said.
“People, especially young men, need to be reminded that assaulting a female, and there is male on male sex assaults as well although not in numbers, without consent, and an intoxicated victim who is asleep or unconscious is not capable of give consent.”
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Sgt Edwards is encouraging anyone who has been sexually assaulted to join the Sexual Assault Victims Support Network and report the incident to police.
“We have an excellent facility in the purpose built forensic examination room within the Sunshine Coast University Hospital, which provides secure and private examination and waiting area,” he said.
“We have counselling services such as Laurel House who provide support from day one and up to and including assisting victims through a trial experience.
“We want to encourage reporting and respect a victims wishes not to proceed, and their maybe cultural reasons for non-reporting, however it is better to identify predators who take advantage of women particularly.”