17-year-old rape victim urges others to trust police

REPORTING her rape to family and police was a difficult decision for a Sunshine Coast teenager.

The 17-year-old, who cannot be identified, has since urged other women who have been assaulted to put their trust in police as people who would believe their claims.

She bravely spoke out after detectives yesterday charged a 20-year-old New South Wales man with two counts of rape relating to an alleged incident at the her Palmwoods family home.

The man was known to her family.

"I'm a little bit more highly strung since it happened," the teen victim said.

"It's very stressful because you don't want to be like that and you can't help it."

The incident is alleged to have occurred on the night of February 20.

"I kept it quiet for two days but I couldn't help it, I had to tell someone."

She had worried whether or not people would believe her and whether anything would happen to her alleged attacker because he was older than her.

"I didn't think anyone would care, but that wasn't the case at all."

She initially told a friend, then very soon after that, her parents.

"Dad went straight to the police.

"It was overwhelming at first because there were a lot of people I had to talk to but when I sat down and really thought about it, people were caring and it wasn't just thrown under the rug."

The incident has also had a big effect on her family.

"My dad went very quiet.

"Everyone was a little bit shaken.

"My brothers and sisters are really angry."

She said she had since tried to be away from her home a lot.

"I think it is just because of the memory in my house that I struggle to be at home but I know I am safe at home."

Schoolwork has also been difficult and much of her time has been dedicated to counselling.

"I almost dropped out of school but I decided to stay in school because I can't let it control my life."

She was pleased a man had been charged over the incident.

"When it (the investigation) first started I didn't want to know, I just wanted everything to go back to normal."

She has since come to terms with the fact she would be a big part of the case.

Her message to others was that police would believe their stories.

"They are not just police; they are people you can talk to about anything.

"Don't think it is not a big deal because it is a big deal.

"The police are always behind you and your family is always behind you."

Nambour Criminal Investigation Branch officer Detective Senior Constable Richard Mann said some victims were reluctant to tell family, friends or police of their experiences.

He reassured victims their information would be taken seriously.

"The police service is diligent in taking complaints and investigating them thoroughly."


 Police say it is critical they receive complaints as early as possible.

 Ideally, officers would like to speak with victims before they shower, wash clothes or wash sheets.

 It can be the difference between officers finding or losing crucial evidence.

 If victims are unsure, they can speak with police and then determine whether or not they want to continue the complaint.

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