Victim/Suspect reveals a shocking pattern nationwide: Young women tell the police they’ve been sexually assaulted, but instead of finding justice, they’re charged with the crime of making a false report, arrested, and even imprisoned by the system they believed would protect them.

Below are tips and red flags to look for when reporting a sexual assault. The information below is intended to be a quick resource (for more comprehensive resources, visit the Resources section of this site). Choose the format that works best for you and save in an easily accessible location, like your phone, purse, or glove compartment.

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Tips and Red Flags to Watch for When Reporting Sexual Assault


Police can lie about what evidence they have — or even that evidence exists — while interviewing you. Remember: Anything you say can be used against you.


Consider having another person with you when interacting with the police — either a lawyer, a victim’s advocate, or both


“I don’t remember” or “I don’t know” is a legitimate answer to any question asked by law enforcement. You can ask for a break or end the interview at any time.


Watch for signs that you are being treated as a suspect rather than a victim:

  • The investigator asks to download a copy of your cell phone.
  • The investigator presents a hypothetical to you “What if I told you I had X evidence?” “What do you think the suspect would tell me about what had occurred.”
  • You are being asked the same questions repeatedly.

You are not obligated to agree to participate in the investigation or prosecution process during the interview.

Note: None of the above is legal advice, and you should seek your own counsel, if you think you are becoming a suspect.