THE alleged sexual assault of a mother as she slept with her two-year-old son in a Wodonga home has been labelled “cowardly” by a North East social worker.
Police yesterday released an image of the man wanted over the attack which happened at an Aberdeen Drive house early in the morning of January 17.
The suspect, believed to be in his 20s, had entered the home with the woman’s flatmate, who he first met that night.
Wodonga Police Detective Sgt Peter Greaves said it wasn’t a random or premeditated attack, but a crime of opportunity.
“The flatmate met up with the person over the course of the night and at some stage he’s entered the victim’s bedroom,” he said.
Detective-Sgt Greaves said the brazen attack had left the woman traumatised.
Centre Against Sexual Assault social worker Jodie Cooper said the attack, which had taken place next to a child, was “disgusting”.
“It’s a cowardly attack to take advantage of a woman in such a vulnerable position,” she said.
“It can have a massive impact on their confidence and sense of self in the world.”
Ms Cooper said it was “horrifying” that the man could betray the occupants’ trust after he was invited into their home.
She said it was important not to blame the victims as he may have presented as trustworthy.
Ms Cooper said it was a rare event, with 80 per cent of sexual assaults in Victoria still committed by someone known to the victim.
She said the key to prevention was teaching boys from a young age to respect women equally.
Aberdeen Drive resident Lorraine Sandilands said she was shocked to hear the attack had occurred in her usually safe street.
“It’s not something that happens around here,” she said.
A neighbour, who didn’t wish to be named, called the incident “outrageous”.
“It’s not something you want to hear that’s happening around your house,” he said.
Detective-Sgt Greaves said police were calling for the public’s help to prevent the man striking again.
He said it was a warning for people to be careful who they let into their homes.
The man is described as Caucasian, medium built, between 170 and 175 centimetres tall, with an olive complexion, hazel eyes, moles on his face and black curly shoulder length hair.
He was unshaven wearing a dark grey T-shirt and grey stonewash jeans at the time.
Police believe he could have been in the Albury area in the weeks leading up to the event and someone may have seen him.
The man told the flatmate he was from Western Australia and said he intended to travel towards Melbourne and then South Australia.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report confidentially online, or phone Wodonga police.