Should I file a police report?

How do I report sexual assault?

You have several options for reporting sexual assault:

Call 911. If you are in immediate danger, dial 911. Help will come to you, wherever you are.

Contact local the local police department. Call the direct line of your local police station or visit the station in person. If you are on a college campus you may also be able to contact campus-based law enforcement.

Visit a medical center. If you are being treated for injuries resulting from sexual assault, tell a medical professional that you wish to report the crime. You can also choose to have a sexual assault forensic exam (SAFE).  In Denton County, there are 4 hospital emergency departments that have the facilities to provide SAFEs; Medical City Denton, Medical City Flower Mound, Baylor Carrolton, and Presbyterian Denton.

Advantages to reporting: 

  • If you report the crime and the offender is caught, you may have protected others from being victimized.  Also, your reporting may help strengthen another survivor’s report.
  • You will be eligible for Crime Victims’ Compensation provided by the state of Texas to assist in paying any related financial losses.

Disadvantages of reporting:

  • It may be difficult for you to repeat your story numerous times to law enforcement and the court.
  • Even if you choose to report the crime and choose to press charges, the police may or may not transfer the case to the District Attorney’s office and the DA may or may not pursue the case.
  • Most sexual assault cases do not go to trial and the offender may never be held accountable.

What are some common concerns about reporting?

If you have questions or concerns about reporting, you’re not alone. The list below may have answers to some common questions that are on your mind.

•    The perpetrator got scared away or stopped before finishing the assault.

Attempted rape is a serious crime and can be reported. Reports of attempted rape and other assault are taken seriously.

•    I know the person who hurt me.

About 2/3 of victims know the perpetrator. It can be unnerving to be violated by someone you know. Regardless of who the perpetrator is, sexual assault is against the law.

•    I’ve been intimate with the perpetrator in the past, or am currently in a relationship with the perpetrator.

Sexual assault can occur within a relationship. Giving someone consent in the past does not give them consent for any act in the future. If you did not consent, they acted against the law—and you can report it.

•    I have no physical injuries, and I’m worried there’s not enough proof.

Most sexual assaults do not result in external physical injuries. It's important to receive medical attention to check for internal injuries. You can also choose to have a sexual assault forensic exam to check for DNA evidence that may not be visible on the surface.

•    I’m worried law enforcement won’t believe me.

There has been great investment in police training on this topic. While there are occasional exceptions, most law enforcement officers are understanding and on your side. If you do encounter someone who isn't taking your case seriously, ask for their supervisor and let your local sexual assault service provider know.

•    I don’t want to get in trouble.

Sometimes minors are afraid of being disciplined, either by the law or by their parents, because they were doing something they shouldn’t have when the abuse occurred. For example, a teen might have been consuming alcohol, or a child might have been breaking a house rule. It’s important to remember that sexual assault is a crime—no matter the circumstances. Nothing you did caused this to happen.