Sexual assault

— Skylight Trust

​Information about rape and sexual assault, and how to get help

What is sexual assault?

'Sexual assault' is a general term, which includes rape, but also other offences such as indecent assault. Sexual assault is a crime. Forcing you to have sex when you don't want to, or forcing you into having sex by making you think you will be harmed if you don't, is a serious criminal offence.

Sexual assault is never justified. It is never the fault of the victim. If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted either recently or in the past, then you have a right to report it to the Police.

How sexual assault might affect you

Everyone reacts to sexual assault differently. It can have a range of immediate, short-term and long-term effects on physical and emotional well-being. 

Effects can include:

  • shock and denial - e.g. "Has this really happened to me?", "Why me?"; an inability to accept that it has really occurred
  • fear - Of the offender, of getting close to other people, of being alone, or of having to deal with the medical, legal or social consequences of the crime, and of being rejected because of the experience
  • silence - Being unable to talk about the assault, to describe what it means or feels like; afraid of being judged
  • anxiety - Being unable to relax or feel safe
  • depression - Feeling sad and as if things are hopeless
  • guilt and blame - A feeling of "Why did I go there/allow it/not fight back?"
  • low self-esteem - Feeling unworthy, not confident or deserving, feeling ashamed and dirty
  • isolation - Wanting to be alone, closed off from family and friends
  • nightmares and flashbacks - Images and memories of the assault intruding on daily life and sleep
  • mood swings - Going from anger and rage to tears and despair
  • loss of confidence - In work, in study, in social and intimate relationships
  • loss of trust - Within social or family, whānau relationships
  • being afraid or uncomfortable about sexual relationships.

Where to get help

For emergency situations that require immediate and urgent assistance call 111.

Phone Rape Crisis 0800 88 33 00 to find an agency to support you in your region. The New Zealand Police also have advice for victims of rape or sexual assault.

Free Support Phone Lines (New Zealand)

  • Youthline - support for young people facing crisis - phone 0800 37 66 33 or Free TXT 234 or email [email protected]
  • Whatsup - a counselling phone line for 5 - 18 yrs, available 12noon - midnight, 7 days a week, with trained counsellors taking the calls. Phone 0800 WHATSUP or 0800 942 8787
  • Kidsline - info and telephone counselling for children age 9 to 13 years old. 0800 kidsline - 0800 54 37 54
  • Lifeline '0800 LifeLine' - 0800 543 354

For more information about rape in New Zealand, visit the Rape Prevention Education website for legal definitions and statistics.

Resources Available at Skylight

Skylight is here to help you through difficult times. We can assist you in a variety of ways with information appropriate for your situation. You are welcome to visit us and receive free information and a support pack from our resource centre and borrow books from the specialist library. We also facilitate Professional Development training and offer Counselling support services for children, young people, family/whānau and individuals who are experiencing tough times.

Request a Pack Library

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