This post deals with sexual assault and might be triggering for some readers.
NSW Police and consent activist Chanel Contos have teamed up to launch Operation Vest, a new avenue for the thousands of women who have shared their sexual assault stories to make an informal report to the police.
Last Tuesday, Detective Superintendent Stacey Maloney, the head of the New South Wales Sex Crimes Unit, and Chanel announced the operation, where sexual assault victims can report their experiences on a digital form called SARO, without launching a criminal investigation.
"SARO gives victims options outside of a court proceeding, empowering them to have their account recorded and potentially supporting other victims," Chanel told Mamamia.
Watch: Sexual assault survivor and advocate Grace Tame on the importance of survivors' stories. Post continues after video.
While Operation Vest doesn't launch a criminal investigation into the reported assault, it does create a database for police to keep track of repeat offenders. It also creates a way for the victim's stories to be heard, outside of a courtroom.
"Operation Vest aims to normalise reporting sexual assault and provide mass police intelligence at once to get a comprehensive database going of repeat offenders in NSW," Chanel explained.
"It is meant to empower the victims and provide a sense of closure."
Operation Vest comes after 5000 sexual assault victims came forward and shared their anonymous testimonies with Chanel. The harrowing stories, submitted by former students from girls' schools including Sydney's Kambala, Ascham and SCEGGS, detailed alleged sexual assault and rape by students at all-boys schools.