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Reporting the crime

In most cases, reporting a crime to the police is the first step in a victim's involvement in the criminal justice system.

How do I report a crime?

Contact the police

There are different ways to contact the NSW Police Force to report a crime:

  1. In an emergency, if you or someone else is in danger call Triple Zero 000 and ask for 'Police'.

  2. If you are not in danger and an urgent police response is not needed, phone the NSW Police Assistance Line (PAL) on 131 444.

  3. You may prefer to telephone or attend your local police station and speak to a police officer there. You can find the phone number and location of your local police station using the NSW Police Force website homepage: www.police.nsw.gov.au

Police/Victim card

When you report a crime to a police officer you will be given a Police/Victim Card to keep for future reference.

On the front of the card are the contact details for the police officer in charge of the investigation - the name of the police officer, police station, phone number and the reference number or COPS Event number for your matter.      

On the back of the card you will find some of the important rights for victims of crime and contact details for the Victims Access Line if you need support or referrals.

Who can report the crime?

Anyone who knows about a crime can report it to the police. This includes:

  • the victim of the crime.

  • a person who has seen the crime (sometimes called an eyewitness)

  • the person who has committed the crime

  • a person who knows about the crime can make an unofficial report even if they have no personal knowledge of, or involvement in, the crime

  • a friend or relative of the victim may escort the victim to a police station and assist to report a crime  

How quickly do I need to report a crime?

The police need to know about a crime as soon as possible so they can investigate before evidence is lost or destroyed.  Prompt reporting also helps the police to protect you and others in the community from future crimes that may be committed by the same person. 

Why report the crime to police?

Crimes should be reported to the police as there can be significant benefits to the health and wellbeing of you and your community.

It is your decision whether to report a crime to the police. If you are unsure if you want to report a crime to the police talk about it with someone from the Victims Access Line by phoning 1800 633 063 (8am to 6pm, Mon to Fri)

By reporting the crime:

  • you may be able to help police identify and arrest the person who has committed the crime.
  • the police may help you to receive medical treatment, counselling or other support you may need if you are injured or sexually assaulted.
  • you may help the police to arrest the offender and thus prevent possible future crimes, which reduces the likelihood of others from becoming victims of crime.
  • you help to ensure the offender is accountable for their crime and justice is delivered.
  • you help police know where crimes of this nature have happened and they can allocate appropriate resources to prevent future crime.

Giving a statement to the police

Making a report to police does not mean making a statement.

The police may ask you to make a detailed statement about what happened either when you report the crime or at a later date.

A statement is usually a typed record, in your own words of what happened. If you are a child, under 16 years of age, police may record your statement on an audiotape, videotape or DVD.

It is important to tell the truth when you make your statement. Your statement will be used as the basis of case against the accused if the matter goes to court. When you finish giving your statement you will be asked to read it carefully, sign it and you will generally be given a copy.

The accused person or their solicitor will get a copy of your statement if police decide there is enough evidence to charge the person who is accused of committing the crime.

You may be feeling distressed or in shock when you give your statement and may not remember everything that happened. Call the police officer in charge of your case if you remember anything else that happened or perhaps details that you later remember correctly. The police officer will decide if you need to go back to make a further statement.

Make sure you let the police officer know if your phone number or address changes. 

Specific needs when reporting a crime

Sometimes the victim of a crime may need, or request, additional assistance or support to help them provide their information about the crime.

See our Help and Support section for more information.

Reporting with an interpreter

You can choose to have a relative, friend, or support person with you when you report to the police.

The police can arrange for an interpreter if you need one - whether for a language other than English or for AUSLAN.

You can ask for an interpreter even if you speak some English but feel more comfortable speaking in your own language. If you need an interpreter the police will arrange for an interpreter free of charge.

See also
Specific needs > Non english speaking background

People with a disability

Please refer
Specific needs > Victims of crime who have a disability > Support when with the police - any disability

Specific needs > Victims of crime who have a disability > Support when with the police - intellectual or cognitive disability

Aboriginal people

Please refer
Specific needs > Aboriginal People > Support when reportng the crime

Specialist Police Officers

Many police local area commands have various Specialist Police Officers - Aboriginal Community Liaison Officers, Domestic Violence Liaison Officers, Multicultural Community Liaison Officers, Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officers, Youth Liaison Officers, School Liaison Officers. Some of these may be able to provide assistance to victims. More on Specialist Police Officers is available on the People in Policing page

See also
Help and Support

Reporting specific crime

Information on reporting specific crimes is available in the Specific crimes section. Please refer:

Help for victims of crime

Help and support contacts       

Report to Police           

image of contact details for police