Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Australia: Chilean Tourist, 28, Sexually Assaulted in Melbourne Motel Room

An East St. Kilda man, 39, has been charged in the December 7, sexual assault of a Chilean tourist, 28,  in a Melbourne motel. He also faces aggravated burglary and criminal trespass charges.

The victim was sleeping in her guest room when the incident occurred.

Fortunately, the victim was collected and agile enough to be able to chase her assailant from the room and alert the staff as to what had happened to her.

COMMENT: Although the news account on this incident did not describe any details as to where the guest room was located or whether the assailant forcibly or surreptitiously opened the entry door, I would suggest the following for women traveling alone:

1. Engage in pre-departure, on-line research of  properties you plan to stay at, so that you can evaluate prevailing security features;

2. Avoid hotels and motels to which guest room access is from OUTSIDE of the building;

3. If traveling alone, regardless of gender, try to select a guest room that is in close proximity to the reception desk, in the event a problem arises;

4. Don't stay at a property that does not have an optical viewer, guest room deadbolt lock and secondary security devices;

5. Always subscribe to international medical treatment and evacuation coverage in the event you are injured; and

6. Worst-case, carry a door-stop made of rubber that you can cut-to-fit the interior side of the door, so as to prevent anyone from entering your room without your knowledge.

Strangely, the assailant was released on bail, pending a court appearance on January 31, even more reason for the victim to have moved to a more secure property.