At least two years of emails sent to an email address set up for victims of sexual assault to reach Western Australian police have been permanently deleted, the force has confirmed.
Dr Rachael Burgin, chairperson of Rape and Sexual Assault Research and Advocacy, an outfit that has previous called for an independent inquiry into the ordeal, said confirmation that the emails had all been lost was “an appalling breach of public trust and safety”.
“It’s unacceptable that the moment they discovered the error they did not immediately alert the public in order to salvage reports from affected survivors,” Dr Burgin said.
“The police only ever publicly admitted fault after media exposure. That long delay in alerting the public means that evidence will have deteriorated. People’s memories also deteriorate and this could jeopardise future trials.”