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Reporting to Police

Reporting to Police

You can always choose to talk to the police about a sexual assault or child sexual abuse.

If you are 18 years old or over, the decision to talk to the police or make a police report is up to you.  Some victims say that participating in the criminal process helped them. Reporting soon after the assault will best help the police gather information and evidence.  However, it is okay if you don’t talk to the police right away.

If you are under 18 years old, you can also make a police report. Some people may be required to tell the police if they believe you were sexually assaulted or abused. In Michigan, this can include teachers, coaches, counselors, doctors, nurses, faith leaders and others. If another person makes a report, you may be contacted by a police officer.

You can ask to have a support person with you when you talk to the police.  This support person could be a family member, friend, or advocate from a local sexual assault services program.  In many Michigan communities, police use child-friendly spaces called Child Advocacy Centers to interview potential victims of child sexual abuse that are under a certain age.

Call the Michigan Sexual Assault Hotline to talk about these options or connect with services in your community.

The Investigation Process

If you make a police report, an officer will be assigned to the case. The officer will talk to you and to other witnesses. The officer may also collect items or electronic evidence such as cell phones or social media information. After investigating, the officer should send a report to the prosecuting attorney’s office. The prosecutor will review the report and decide whether to file criminal charges. The prosecutor may also wish to talk to you. You can decide whether or not to participate in the investigation process.

Help During the Criminal Process

  • Local Sexual Assault Services Programs (link to https://www.michigan.gov/som/0,1607,7-192-29941_30586_240-2884--,00.html). Many Michigan communities have local sexual assault services programs that can provide free and confidential crisis support, advocacy and counseling. Many will also have advocates who can accompany a victim to make a police report or other appointments. Call the Michigan Sexual Assault Hotline to talk about these options or connect with confidential victim services in your community.
  • Child Advocacy Centers (link to https://www.michigan.gov/som/0,1607,7-192-29941_30586_240-2884--,00.html).  Many Michigan communities have child focused organizations that work with police, prosecutors and Children’s Protective Services to respond to child sexual abuse.  These organizations may provide services such as forensic interviews, medical evaluation, victim support, and advocacy and counseling.

Victim Advocates at the Prosecuting Attorney's Office. In Michigan, each prosecuting attorney’s office typically has a victim advocate. These victim advocates can provide information and support to you after you have talked to police. The prosecutor victim advocates also notify you when court action is happening in your case, as required by the Michigan’s Crime Victims’ Rights Act. Find a prosecution-based victim advocate through the local prosecuting attorney’s Office.

Frequently Asked Questions

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