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Reducing the risk of sexual assault

Sexual assault overseas

Sexual assault is a traumatic experience for anyone, particularly when travelling overseas and away from home. It can also be a distressing experience for families and friends. This information provides advice on reducing your risk of being sexually assaulted.

If you, or a friend or family member have been sexually assaulted overseas, please see our sexual assault page.

Sexual assault can happen anywhere to anyone. Sexual assault is an act of violence which violates a person's sense of safety and control and can leave them feeling powerless and dishonoured.

Perpetrators of sexual assault may use drugs, threats, power, force and manipulation to attempt to control another person's body, senses and emotions.

Assaults can happen to both men and women when travelling overseas, and in most cases, the perpetrator is a stranger.

Things you can do to reduce your risk of being sexually assaulted overseas

  • Be aware of your surroundings and if you feel uncomfortable, leave.
  • Avoid walking alone or through poorly lit areas at night.
  • Do not leave your drink unattended in public spaces.
  • Do not drink to excess or take drugs that might make you disoriented.
  • If any doors or windows to your accommodation are broken, do not enter. Instead contact the police.
  • Avoid going into back rooms of shops where you cannot see the street.
  • Be cautious of unsolicited invitations from strangers.
  • In some countries, conservative standards of dress and behaviour can apply. Do your research before you travel and dress accordingly.
  • If attacked, scream to draw attention.