Each situation will be different but there are things you can do.
Try and stay calm and seek support as soon as possible.
Try to remember as much as possible about the incident. Write it down or type notes into your phone straight away. Important things to write down immediately are:
- Contact details for any witnesses
- Names or the ID or badge number for any police
- The details: where and when the incident ocurred.
You should go to a doctor as soon as possible. It is essential you ask the doctor to record not only your visible injuries, but also all pain, nerve damage, cartilage damage, tingling, numbness, soreness, aches, stress levels, sleep patterns and thoughts.
cohealth Community health services for Inner, Western and Northern Melbourne
iehealth Inner East Community Health Service in Ashburton, Hawthorn and Richmond.
Community Health Services directory for Victoria
Asylum Seeker Resource Centre – doctors for asylum seekers
If you contact a Community Legal Centre for assistance, they may be able to help you get a proper forensic assessment.
If you are in custody, you have the right to see a forensic medical officer, or go to hospital.
At the hospital or clinic:
- If it is not a life-threatening injury consider visiting a doctor or a clinic you trust.
- Record the names of all treating doctors/ healthcare professionals who see your wound(s)
- If appropriate – tell hospital staff how you were hurt.
- Wounds like broken ribs, concussion or torn ligaments don’t show up when photographed so ask the medical staff to write up all your injuries in detail.
- Ask for a copy of your notes, x-ray, scans (you might not be allowed them but ask anyway).
Keep all follow-up care or Doctor appointments!
You only have 31 days to request CCTV footage from public spaces such as train stations and police stations through Freedom of Information (FOI). This valuable evidence will be destroyed after 31 days have passed.
- Take photos as soon as possible – severe injuries may heal quickly depending on your physical health and nutritional status.
- Get a trusted friend to take a picture of your whole body before zooming in for detailed shots of the injured area
- Stand in front of an uncluttered, neutral coloured wall.
- Take images from an assortment of angles and think about who might be scrutinizing these photos at a latter date
- To get perspective take photos with a ruler or something of standard size (like a coin) next to the injury.
- Use the ‘Date & Time’ tagging function on a digital camera to show the injury changing over a period of time.
- Darker skin may not show up injuries so take photos in a well lit place, and be careful with a flash as this may bleach out, or reflect off the skin and make the bruising look lighter than it actually is.
- Keep a diary of the injury as it heals and how it effects your quality of life.
- Remember bruises will darken and grow over time.
- Store all your paperwork, images and evidence in a secure place.
- Keep all follow-up care or Doctor appointments!
Adapted from: Melbourne Street Medic Collective
You need to get support through as many ways as possible. Friends and family are important, it is also good to reach out to youth workers, advocacy agencies, legal centres, counsellors, community agencies, people in your community, teachers, fellow workers. Some people experience extreme fear and distress. Get support. Local youth workers and community supports can be extremely helpful in helping you through the process.
See: Links for Support
Make a complaint
In order for your complaint to be investigated and lead to discipline/prosecution, you may need to make a complaint.
You can make a complaint to Victoria Police or the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC).
If you complain to IBAC it is most likely your complaint will be forwarded to the Victoria Police. At present in Victoria, the vast majority of complaints are investigated or managed by police.
Speak to a solicitor about these options. They can help you through any investigation process.
The Police Accountability Project in conjunction with the Melbourne University Law School runs dedicated Police Complaints Advice Clinic
The clinic provides advice to people across Victoria in making complaints against Victoria Police and Protective Service Officers. Tel: 9376 4355 for an appointment.
Sample-letter-to-PSC (WORD document) A sample letter to submit a complaint about police to the Professional Standards Command (PSC) in Victoria.
FOI request letter – VicPolice (WORD document) A sample Freedom of Information Request letter to send to Victoria Police.
FOI request letter – PTV (WORD document) Freedom of Information Request letter to send to Public Transport Victoria
What are my legal options?
In Victoria there are four potential avenues to seek compensation:
2. Taking Civil Action against the police (ie taking them to court).
3. Making a complaint to the Victorian Equal Opportunity & Human Rights Commission(VEOHRC)* or Australian Human Rights Commission
Note: a complaint can only be made to VEOHRC about police conduct under the Equal Opportunity Act (Vic) or the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act (Vic)
4. Writing directly to the Victoria Police for compensation under their asset management guidelines in the Victoria Police Manual.
Under international law, where you allege the police have violated your rights you are entitled to: