Alternative Reporting Options


The Queensland Police Service introduced ‘Alternative Reporting Options’ (ARO) as early as 2009.


ARO “exists for survivors of a sexual assault” and provides an alternative to making a formal complaint to police. Through the ARO process, survivors can provide police with “the full circumstances of their assault with the option of remaining anonymous if they wish”.[1]


The QPS notes that in addition to being “an extremely useful healing strategy for the survivor”, the ARO process is an effective investigative strategy for law enforcement agencies and “could be used to solve reported offences of a similar nature”.[2]


Specifically, police can use information obtained through the ARO process to “assist other prosecutions against an offender” and “devise intelligence driven strategies designed to target an offender and reduce repeat offending”.[3]


What does ARO mean for defence?


Information obtained through the ARO process represents a category of evidence which could be sought to be used against a person suspected of or charged with an offence of a sexual nature.


Questions may arise as to the admissibility of that evidence where, for example, the information obtained is from an anonymous source and cannot be tested.


In any event, defence need to be live to the use of ARO in criminal matters involving allegations of sexual offending. ARO needs to be the subject of inquiry and disclosure.


For focussed advice on how ARO may impact your criminal matter, call our team on (07) 3034 0000.

[1] Queensland Police Service, Alternative Reporting Options, last updated 27 July 2023 and available at:

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.